Do you remember those days when you wanted the weekend to be longer? One moment, you are happy it’s Friday and you kiss the office goodbye and the next thing it’s Monday and you can’t wait for the week to be over, whew!
What about the meetings scheduled on your calendar, the weddings you planned to attend, parties with friends and the 101 other places you needed to show up?
Since the novel coronavirus struck the world at large, there has been a fundamental shift in our lives, our work and even the way we relate with each other. To prevent the spread of the virus, we have had to practice social distancing, take personal hygiene more seriously and avoid gatherings of any form.
That means bars, gyms, offices, places of worship and even some hospitals have been shut down, and with it, our in-person meetings, conferences, weddings, parties have been automatically canceled alongside the expectations that for many, has been in the works for a long time.
It’s a whirlwind of emotions as things have taken a 360 degree turn over the past ? days since the first Coronavirus case was first detected in our country, Nigeria.
While social distancing is one of the best ways to fight the viral disease, at its core, it is against human nature. Man is a social being. He comes from a family, he has friends, neighbors, colleagues. He wants to see and relate with them on a daily basis. Deny him that right, and you place a huge strain on his mental health.
The bad news and negativity that we see, hear and for some experience is not helping matters. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, but we want you to focus on the positive news.
Vaccines are being trialed while a record number of people are recovering.
Here are some of the best tips that we have practiced over the past 6 weeks that has helped us adjust well to this current reality:
Connect: You need to connect and maintain relationships with people you love and trust this period. Technology has made connecting easier. Video calls, phone calls or social media can help you connect with friends and loved ones.
Diet: Do not binge on junks during this period. It’s okay to have a cheat day or two but consistently feeding on junk food can dampen your mood and do you more harm than good. To boost your mental health, focus on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables along with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Dark green leafy vegetables in particular are brain protective. Nuts, seeds and legumes, such as beans and lentils, are also excellent brain foods.
Exercise: Your physical health is linked to your emotional and mental health. It is easy to neglect physical fitness at times like these. Do not forget to exercise. You can do it inside your home. If you don’t know how to go about it, there are resources online that you can work with.
Support: Use this time to help and support others as much as possible. Research has shown that serving others, even via small acts of kindness, has strong and immediate mental health benefits. And feeling a sense of purpose has also been shown to help people recover from negative events and build resilience. There are lots of causes helping people fight the pandemic, you can donate your time or money to those causes.
Sleep: Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough. You may also supplement with mid-day napping.
Declutter: Now that you are working from home, isn’t this just the best time to declutter your physical and mental space?
To declutter your physical space, take out the trash,clean your surroundings, mow the lawn, reach into the nook and crannies to clean and disinfect properly.
To declutter your mental space, arrange your work desk, clear out old files and folder from your computer, arrange your work tools both hardware and software, observe a quiet time, meditate, take some time to check if you are not carrying around mental baggage.
This kind of total decluttering can be uplifting, inspiring and totally rejuvenating.
Breathe: Sometimes, it is good to shut out everything while you breathe and meditate. Shut out the news, social media, TV and everything else that makes you anxious. Clear your mind and let it dwell on the good stuff.
Pray: If you are religious, it will be a good thing to spend time in prayer. According to a study by Centra State Hospital, New Jersey, “the psychological benefits of prayer may help reduce stress and anxiety, promote a more positive outlook, and strengthen the will to live.”
Don’t forget that your mental health is as important as your physical health and deserves the same level of attention from you if not more.
Stay healthy. Stay safe.