How to safeguard your mental health in today’s climate: A comprehensive guide
Posted on June 24 2020
Scared, agitated, perplexed, and frustrated-This is how you tend to feel when you're living in a world that’s been hit with a pandemic and magnified issues of social injustice.
Just when we started to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the many challenges that came with it, the whole world came crashing down with news of systemic racism-based killing, police brutality and subsequent protests.
With continuous negativity surrounding us, our mental health is inevitably suffering big time. Moms all around the world are worried about themselves and their loved ones. But worry not! We've got your back. We're all in this together, and we'll all get out of this together!
There's light at the end of the tunnel, but you've got to make it through the tunnel to see it!
Here is a comprehensive guide on how you can ensure you and your family’s mental well-being is protected during the current chaos of today.
Ways to protect mental health during the ongoing situation:
1. Breathe, relax and reflect!
The first step towards solving every sort of problem is to accept it. Accept that it's a difficult time not only for you but for everyone. Understand that feeling anxious is completely normal.
What's not normal is overthinking how you feel and dwelling on current circumstances. Resting in the chaos only creates a loop of negativity.
Remember: “Change is a rule of life. Nothing stays forever.” Therefore, this too, shall pass.
Breathe. Disconnect yourself from all the troubling thoughts and relax, even if it's for a little while. These times especially demand us to be patient, and that's only possible if we don't let our emotions get the best of us.
Pro tip: Make meditation a part of your routine; it'll help you tackle your emotions by silencing your mind.
2. Rationalize your approach
While anxiety and stress can be very overwhelming in the present circumstances, it serves a significantly useful purpose. Yes, you read that right! It's your anxiety that makes you take appropriate measures for your safety and not put your health at risk.
But this anxiety fails to do any good if you don't have a rational approach towards your problems. Having such an approach means doing what you can do and leaving the rest.
You must realize that there are certain things you can do to protect yourself from the virus, such as properly following the CDC’s guidelines and employing safety measures, and you can't do anything beyond that. Simple as that.
As far as all the social issues we are plagued with, you can only advocate for what’s right, align yourself with friends and family that understand your plight and are willing to be allies for change, allow yourself grace and protect your peace at all costs!
3. Take the golden opportunity
For many of us that are still treading lightly with socializing and allowing our kids around others, this extended family time is the time to do some of the things that we’ve put on the back burner for so long. If you’ve been thinking of learning a new skill, indulging in your favorite hobbies, investing time in personal grooming, or simply taking a break from your hectic routines, NOW IS THE TIME.
Sometimes, all it takes to turn things around in our favor is to shift our perspectives. Instead of wasting this time worrying and grieving about things you have no control over, take this time as an opportunity to revitalize your interests.
Read that book you've always wanted to, take out those canvases that you'd bought earlier to paint but couldn't, try those DIY skincare masks that caught your attention while browsing through YouTube or simply learn some new dance moves.
All of these things are great alternatives for all the negative that we are constantly seeing in our newsfeeds. It helps for all of us that are feeling mentally drained to just disconnect and focus our attention on other things for a little while.
On a side note: It's completely ok even if you just rest these days. You don't necessarily have to be productive to feel good. Chill!
4. Strengthen your relationships
My parents always taught me that there is tremendous wealth in relationships! It’s so much easier to deal with the trials and stresses of life when you have strong relationships with individuals that grow you, encourage you, motivate you and pray for you! Many of us have those relationships with our partners and friends, while striving to build those relationships between our children.
When we are lacking the mental capacity to truly function and be healthy, its these relationships that serve as anchors to hold us steadfast. These are the relationships that remind us that despite what “outside” may look like, our “little world” is what truly matters.
Consider indulging in interesting family-centered activities that will help you distract yourself as well as strengthen your relationship with your kids and spouse. Some of the things you can do with your family are:
- Play indoor games
- Have interactive storytelling sessions with kids
- Make art (paint a wall together, maybe)
- Cook your favorite food
Don't forget to make a lot of memories to look back at and smile, because why not?
5. Find effective alternatives
One of the things that people are missing the most during this time is socializing with friends and having physical interaction. But it's not impossible. We're privileged to be a part of this technology-oriented era, where everything is literally a click away from us.
While there's no doubt that in-person meetings with your loved ones are more emotionally connecting and intimate, online video chats can also manage to give you those needed vibes.
Don't let the bond that you share with your friends to get lost. Connect with them online, every once in a while, to feel good.
6. Concentrate on your health
We're experiencing the true practical representation of the famous phrase “survival of the fittest.” Many of us turn to eating, amongst other things, to cope with sadness. Therefore, eating healthy should be one of our biggest priorities.
One thing that can't be emphasized enough is the effect of our physical health on our mental health.
“You are what you eat."
You can only feel good if you eat well. Our mind consumes the nutrients we intake through our food to keep it functioning properly. It's essential in these times to take care of your diet, stay hydrated, and get proper sleep. These factors ultimately affect our mental health.
7. Limit your exposure to media and news
Constantly checking your social media and/or excessive television watching will only amplify your anxiety.
News of increased coronavirus cases, death rates and other social atrocities happening in the world will leave you feeling overwhelmed. Limit your exposure to the screens to a couple of checks per day.
8. Empathize and be kind
These are trying times for everyone in one form or another. You need to be kind to yourself, as well as others, to get through the current situation.
Talk about your feelings with someone who understands you. Let your thoughts out. A little kindness and empathy can go a long way.
The bottom line:
We're all trudging through the emotional distress “doing life” is inflicting on us. It's about time we learn how to protect our mental health to ensure we have a great quality of life.
Until next time Kuties!