No one should be under a mental lockdown after this pandemic lockdown is over! The negative impact on the mental health of many people during this coronavirus pandemic is very real. So many people are struggling to cope as their lives have been thrown out of sync! Many mental health experts have said that the effect of this pandemic and the associated lockdown is having devastating effect on the mental health of many people. Some have even gone as far as saying that there will be a tsunami of mental health challenges around the world after we have overcome the coronavirus pandemic. The anxiety is real and every individual should take pragmatic and positive steps to reduce the negative effect on their mental health.
Here are a few things that could help you in maintaining good mental health.
- Embrace good news. Words are very powerful, what we listen to affects us a lot. We need to be sincere with ourselves, the negative news we listen to might be affecting us more than we are prepared to accept! In as much as it is understandable that some people might have limited choice about the news they are exposed to because of their job or career; it is very crucial to watch how you process the news. Don’t stay with negative news for too long, and you don’t have to listen to the same news over and over again. We all need to guard our minds jealously. Do not give yourself to negative statistics especially if it adversely affects you and raises your fear. I have discovered that there is so much good and positive news around during this lockdown. If you get yourself into a cycle of negative thoughts, it will adversely affect your mental health. Embrace positive thoughts by making deliberate effort to influence the things that you allow into your mind.
- Embrace Positivity. Many of us tend to have a very pessimistic view of things happening around us. Being optimistic is a choice you have to make. We can choose to see the positives about this pandemic and worldwide lockdown. Let your sight be coloured with a positive spectacle! For instance, some one might be complaining about home schooling while somebody else is enjoying the fact that they can be a part of their child’s education. This lockdown has given us a great opportunity as we stay home to enjoy the presence of those we live with. Even if you live alone, you can find ways to make the best out of your experience. Do not make yourself a dumping ground for pessimistic and negative outlooks.
- Embrace Meditation and mindfulness. Learning to focus your mind and energy on the right things that builds faith and encouragement is very vital. Being conscious of the thoughts and ideas you process is very useful in determining which thoughts and ideas you should delete from your thoughts. It is not difficult, as you start practicing, you will find this easier to do with time. Meditate on the right stuff – things that brings you strength and gladness. Remember, your life and your thoughts are your responsibility. This could be a good time for many of us to incubate new ideas and improve our lives through mindfulness and positive meditation.
- Embrace recreation. I know with many countries under lockdown, recreation might be the last thing on your mind, it shouldn’t be so. Playing and keeping active helps to make you happier, stronger and mentally sound. You can even help your immunity against the virus. Playing and keeping active helps to divert attention away from negative and overwhelming fearful thoughts. I have been enjoying our garden with my family a lot more during this lockdown. Our garden seems more beautiful to me, as I have been doing more work in the garden. Nature appears so beautiful, if we can relax and enjoy all the blessings around us. I even recorded some videos about bees feeding on flowers, birds singing in the garden and flowers falling from the cherry blossom tree in our garden. Choose to enjoy yourself – it is good for you. There are things you have no power over, enjoy the happiness you can still make happen for yourself during the lockdown.
- Embrace self-development. This is the time to learn new things and develop yourself. Many of us have more time on our hands than usual. Even if you are working from home, you are saving a lot of traveling time. Make the most of this opportunity, idleness promotes unnecessary thoughts. There are so many things you have been wanting to do, this is the time to do them. You might choose to learn a new language or research new topics and ideas. Keeping yourself mentally active and challenged is very necessary if you want to have control over your mental health.
- Embrace available support systems. Seeking assistance is never a sign of weakness. I respect and salute people who have the confidence to speak out and ask for help when things are not going the way they feel strong enough to handle. Many of us would do well to avail ourselves of the benefits of talking and reaching out to others at this time. A friend might say something that will give you the inner strength you need at this time.Do not hesitate to find out what assistance is available to support you. Many organisations as well as the government have a few things in place to support you during this pandemic. It is important that you avail yourself of any help available instead of allowing things to overwhelm you.
- Embrace good works. As simple as this might sound – reaching out to help and support others is always very rewarding. Many of us have the ability to make somebody else happy. At this difficult time many people will do with a little help from family, friends and neighbours; let us to look away from ourselves and provide support for those in need. I have been so impressed by so many people who have chosen to be a blessing to the people around them. During this lockdown, I have seen so many people doing great things to support others. If we decide to look beyond ourselves and help somebody else, it will amaze us what we can make happen for ourselves and for others. You don’t need to have a lot of money to do this – use your phone and your internet; even if you have nothing to use or give – say a prayer for people. Your positive contribution into another person’s life is also a positive boost for your own mental health.
Let us not allow this pandemic inflict pain on us, and mental distress that will linger on, even after the lockdown. It is of paramount importance that you take control of your own mental health and begin to do one or two practical things that will help you in keeping healthy, mentally.
Stay home, stay safe and ENJOY yourself.
Lekan Wellington Adegunwa