Treat your mind well

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It is time to end the stigma that surrounds mental health and seek medical help, says Arouba Kabir

Seldom would mankind imagine that in this fast paced, technologically advanced world, a minute invisible thing like a virus could absolutely stop life to a Point Blank. Similar is the comparison with our focus on physical health being massive which has to be complemented with our mental health which is so fragile.

However, slowly things are getting back to a new normal state, but after such a stringent lockdown many of us are dealing with a lot of emotional setbacks as the sudden and drastic alteration in the daily routine has affected everyone’s mental health irrespective of their age, profession or gender.

Mental health issues have always been stigmatised in our society. With the Government taking unprecedented measures to focus on preventing the spread of this deadly virus, the situation has just amplified. Anxiety, depressive symptoms, symptoms of Internet addiction, pornography addiction, experiences of hostility, overthinking, changes in food and sleep habits, social empathy and relationship quality are most of the cases these days.

Some of us during this lockdown are wrestling with familial conflict while others are stressing over how coronavirus disruptions have affected their careers, businesses, academic performance, or daily wages.

Various studies being conducted are indicating that this sudden loss of employment, along with financial stress or even distress, could enhance the psychological impact on the working community, shown by symptoms of increased aggressiveness and post-traumatic stress. This situation could also revive memories of old traumas in some people.

Here are a few tips to help all of us dealing with mental health issues during these testing times:

Mental health awareness at schools & offices

Schools and offices are places where one visits almost every day and spends a great time of the day there, Thus it becomes an important point where mental health talks can be initiated and sensitisation spread. The main goal should be to provide a safe environment so that eventually students/employees feel less pressure and more confident.

Staying connected

Indians, by virtue of our social structure, have a variety of personal and social resources that help cope with such crises. Family is one such vital resource, and being in close touch with relatives, in real life or virtually via social media or the Internet, alleviates stress considerably.

Resilience

Resilience refers to an individual’s positive adaptation to the experiences of adversity. Healthy coping strategies help even high-risk individuals to stay positive. Simply view the lockdown as a good time to ruminate on your individual and social identity, and take steps to improve your relationships with your own self and people around you.

Offline time is as important as online time

Turning to social media handles such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook can make you get lost in a world of make-belief and lead to unhealthy comparisons. It’s important to engage yourself in offline activities like gardening, writing, cooking and painting. anything that takes you some time off and makes you embrace the life you have and the person you are.

Physical exercise and diet

Getting enough exercise, staying hydrated, and eating whole grains, protein-packed fibre and green leafy vegetables are the need of the hour to maintain a good immunity system.

Avoid ordering home delivery or emotional binge eating when you feel down as that can lead to increased load on the systems of the body. Physical exercises is a must as it will keep your endorphins in check which helps you stay in the right frame of mind, and help improve overall health.

Meditate

Meditation helps you stay calm and grounded. It helps you connect with your higher self, and balance your emotional health. Spending some time visualising/imagining a better tomorrow, and the future will help you to positively reinforce yourself and get through these troubled times.

Reach out to a professional

It’s very important to end the stigma and reach out to a therapist. They are trained to help you through trying times and difficult situations in life. During these lockdown situations, online therapy has also become a viable option.

In the end, we all need to learn to take care of your mental health as it’s our mind that controls our body and everything associated with it.

The author is a mental health counsellor

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