This weekend marked the end of daylight saving, a transition into shorter days and cooler temperatures. For many, it is also the week leading to Easter and Passover, but in a very different format. Instead of large gatherings of family and friends, picnics or outings, religious rituals, this year will be different. Unusual. For many, this period will be one of fear and uncertainty, loneliness and isolation, anger and resentment. And for others, they plod on, and see the bright side. Whichever way you see it, and whatever side of the fence you’re one, there is no judgment and there is no right or wrong.
Be selective to your media sources, and perhaps only listen to the news once a day
The key to surviving this period is to focus on mental health. It is so easy to become lost in fear and angst… and we can rely on the media to help us with that. Switch on the TV, listen to the radio and boy, your adrenalin will flow and your heart will race. However, this will not help you, it will not allow you to think clearly or rationally. Be selective to your media sources, and perhaps only listen to the news once a day. Choose your media source wisely, not all are accurate – some are very good at fear-mongering. They are in the business of shocking.
If you have the ability to work from home, take the time that you would have spent commuting to practice some mindfulness or meditation. These are great tools to help lessen your anxiety and sense of overwhelm. Five minutes of mindfulness done twice a day, is better than none at all so don’t worry if you cannot commit a big chunk of time.
The more you are grateful for, the more you will find to be grateful for
Gratitude is not merely an emotion that we feel, it is also an act. It is an act that we do intentionally, to recognise the good things in our lives. Research has shown that when we begin to practice gratitude, it influences how we think and how we feel and in turn, how we see the world. In fact, your brain actually releases dopamine that encourages this cycle to continue, thus influences your brain to seek more of the same. (The more you are grateful for, the more you will find to be grateful for).
Even though we are all told to socially isolate, modern technology has given us wonderful ways to communicate. Reach out, connect. Human beings are social beings. In order for our species to survive, not only do we have to procreate, but we also derive strength from collaboration in the face of adversity. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.
The biggest contribution to your mental health is to focus on wellness and not disease, to focus on being proactive not reactive. Instead of only focussing on Coronavirus, take time to focus on your health and wellness, your strong immune system, your amazing body and the great job it is doing each and every day. Count your blessings – big and small, one and all.
Putting your wellness and your mental wellbeing at the top of your to-do list is not a selfish act; rather, it puts you in the driver seat to being able to steer yourself in the direction you want to go.