Tag Archives: self help

Lockdown and Mental Health

In March 2020, when the WHO declared the pneumonia-like virus as a pandemic, it overwhelmed countries all around the world. Educational institutions, workplaces, malls and airports were shut down, and we were all forced into a mandatory lockdown. This lockdown was tough for all of us, but we adopted some coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety we felt. Slowly we adjusted to this new way of life. Now, about 5 months later, as countries ease their restrictions and we all step out of lockdown, we feel the same sort of anxieties we felt back then. 

We have to accept that the end of lockdown might be just as difficult as its start, and this transition can negatively impact our mental health. As workplaces and schools reopen, people fear being infected or passing on the virus to their loved ones. These fears are completely reasonable as the times are tough, and the virus is extremely contagious. However, we must find ways to cope with this fear and reduce our anxieties. This isn’t simple, but necessary. A few ways to make this transition easy on your mental health are:-

  1. Focus on the present 

The major fear most of us have is being infected with the virus. However, overthinking will do you no good, and only make you feel anxious. We have to stop thinking about the future, as it will only add to our suffering. Instead, one should try to live in the present and not let their imagination run amok. Realise the fact that the future is uncertain and no one can control it. Focus on what you have and do your best with it.

2. Limit your news consumption 

Although the news is extremely helpful and keeps us informed, sometimes news outlets tend to over exaggerate and dramatise the situation and portray it as much worse than it is. Nowadays, news fatigue has become very common. Absorbing all this negative content will do you no good. Limit the number of times you check the news and make sure your sources are trustworthy and evidence-based.

3. Talk it out

Bottling up one’s fears never does anyone any good. Talking to those you trust is helpful. The best thing you can do is consult a therapist, as it helps clear your mind and reduce your burden. Talking to your friends or family is also a good option, as familiarity can be a source of comfort. You can even try writing it down to ease the stress.

4. Go at your own pace

 Recognising that you need to go at the right pace for you is important. Don’t let others pressure you to change your pace or do something you don’t want to. At the same time, don’t let this be an excuse to not work hard. It can be difficult to see the world move on while you’re still stuck in the past, but don’t let this get you down and reassure yourself that one day and things will get back to normal for you too. 

Most importantly, don’t forget to stay safe and follow the proper guidelines for your country. Wear a mask, practise social distancing and wash your hands whenever you come back home. The times might be tough, but the human spirit remains undaunted.

the art of relaxation

Life can be tough. Amidst all this, it is probably a good idea for you to take a step back and just relax. 

It helps to reduce stress and anxiety. It even boosts confidence and reduces fatigue, anger, muscle tension etc. However, we live in a time where even relaxation is seen as something we shouldn’t do. Our productivity obsession forces us to work all day and feel guilty if we try to relax. Daily life is becoming more and more demanding and chaotic. Nowadays we see everything as a chore. Nothing is just for fun. 

Stress levels are at an all-time high. People have even started to procrastinate on rest by pushing themselves beyond their healthy boundaries. This is not normal. We have to re-educate ourselves on the art of relaxation. Some ways to do so are:-

Write it down

There is a lot on our minds nowadays, and sometimes we find it difficult to simply talk it out. We fail to either find the right words to express ourselves, or the right person to talk or vent to. In this case, confiding in a piece of paper can be more relaxing than we think. Maintaining a diary, a journal, or a blog can be extremely therapeutic, and help you reduce any stress you carry.

Reduce screen time

You might have heard your parents blame everything that is wrong with the universe on your phone usage. While that may not necessarily be true, your screen time is one of the biggest contributors of your stress. With everything that is going on in the world right now, it can be overwhelming to scroll through the news or social media. Simply putting aside your phone or computer for at least an hour each day can make a world of difference, and help you feel much better.

Connect with your surroundings 

Spending some time in nature and doing some breathing exercises is a guaranteed stress-reliever. This is something which people have been doing for years, and it has never failed. Releasing any sort of physical tension by taking a short walk and a few deep breaths can be extremely beneficial for both mental and physical stress.

Go easy on yourself 

Nowadays, everyone is too harsh on themselves. They feel guilty if they spend their time watching their favourite show or reading a book instead of doing some work. Newsflash: You’re human. Rest is crucial for you, and not something you should omit. Forgive yourself if you mess up or feel unproductive. Know that you cannot keep on working, and you deserve to take breaks.

Laugh it out

Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. When you are laughing you are distracted, and not thinking about that big final exam or presentation coming up. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that makes us feel stressed. It has been scientifically proven that when you’re laughing, your cortisol levels are decreased by the increased intake of oxygen and  stimulation of circulation around the body. Laughing also increases the number of endorphins and boosts your mood significantly. So go ahead, spend time with your pets or watch that special by your favourite comedian. You’ll feel significantly better.