In a society that looks at mental health as something that is foreign or as a form of weakness, I guess it’s not strange to see mental health issues on the rise especially with forced isolation that is occasioned by Coronavirus pandemic. Mental health issues have been here for as long as we all can remember; many go through it but just never talk about it. If you talk about it, you are weak and God forbid if you are a man; the ridicule and snide remarks would probably push you to your death.
Is mental health wellness foreign and is it a form of weakness? The answer to that questions depends on who you ask, really; some are probably well read and understand issues around mental wellness and some just had to experience it to understand it and others well, that is the group that still believes it is foreign.
But times are changing, and people are being more open about mental health issues, talking about it more and creating spaces to share experience and somehow cope. Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and the ever present need for social distancing has seen most of these spaces close down. So how do you deal with mental health when you are forced into isolation with almost zero social contact?
Your mind is your strongest muscle and your worst enemy. Be kind to your mind. Here are some pointers that may help reduce stress and promote well-being;
Connect with others
Believe it not talking helps; find someone you trust. Keep in regular contact with people close to you. Try as much as you can and talk to them about how you are feeling and share your fears.
Pause. Breathe. Reflect.
Take some slow breaths: in through your nose, then slowly breathe out. Slow breathing helps lower stress, it signals your brain to relax your body. Pay close attention to how you are feeling and what you are thinking, without judgment. Instead of responding or reacting to those thoughts or feelings, note them, and then let them go.
Stick to a routine
Routines are good! They give you something to look forward to everyday; here is an example
- Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day
- Eat healthy meals at the time every day
- Work out regularly. 3-4 minutes of light physical movement, will help
- Create time for work and time to put your legs up and relax
- Create time to do things you enjoy
Coronavirus pushed all of us to a corner, forcing us to change our way of life, everyone is feeling the pressure; it could be bills, family drama, loss of source of income the list is endless. Everyone is dealing with all this differently; so don’t be hard on yourself.
We are not saying the above coping mechanisms are everything you need when dealing with mental health, but it should help. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you think you need it. Get out and get it. And on the list of things you probably shouldn’t do, is to use alcohol and drugs as a way of coping with anxiety, boredom, fear or social isolation.
If your are wondering; you are not weak, this is not a disease that only affects women and this is not something that came with the boat.