Coroma Birus, sorry I meant Colodial Vilus…
If you stay in Nigeria, you would get my gist.
For those that don’t, I am so sorry you are missing out on all the juicy and funny stuffs. The names our kids call ‘Corona Virus’ can be fascinating.
The COVID-19 (Corona Virus) pandemic has been shown to cause a lot of stress, fear, depression, and anxiety. These could decrease immunity, and managing one’s mind and emotions helps maintain immunity.
The level of stress, fear, and anxiety that comes with the Corona Virus can also lead to mental strain that can lead to more serious mental health challenges in future.
This is the reason I came up with my top 10 tips to help our mental health during this period, especially when we have been asked to stay home and/ or practice social physical distancing.
Physical Distancing Is Not Social Isolation
First of all, I have a serious problem with the word social distancing.
If you ask me, ill rather call it physical distancing – creating a certain level of distance between you and the next person to limit the spread of the virus.
Once, I saw a person run away from a good friend, insinuating the person was an infectious agent. C’mon, the person only needed a piece of information and was over 4 metres away. It was embarrassing, even for me a bystander. Social intelligence is key.
The word social distance also connotes that we stay off people like the plague.
Staying at home or staying at least 2 metres from other people does not mean breaking contact with friends and families. We feel connected when you talk with friends and family, even more during this period.
It is okay to talk from a distance. It keeps the mind happy. Talking has the effect of lifting our mood and helps us to begin to feel more positive if we’re having a tough time.
Try to stay connected.
Minimize News Exposure
There are a thousand and one per second news report about the Corona Virus, COVID-19. While there are lots of facts out there, there are also lots of rumors, misinformation, exaggerated information, and minimized information. Let’s not forget the conspiracy theorists.
I once read on social media, from “reputable public personnel”, that COVID-19 doesn’t exist and it was only an avenue to extort money from the government.
A person’s popularity on social media or elsewhere doesn’t automatically translate to genuine information. What sounds logically right may not be true. Stick to genuine sources of information such as the World Health Organization, ministries of health, centers of disease control, among other local health authorities once or twice daily.
Facts minimize fear and anxiety.
Avoid information overload at all cost. When we notice that the news gets us sad, uneasy, anxious or stressed, let’s stay off the news all together and ask a friend or a family member to feed us only on ‘we need to know basis’.
If reading someone’s status or posts on social media gets you worked up, mute such person until you feel you are ready.
Our mental health is more important.
Laughter Makes The Heart Merry
I once told a friend of mine that I need funny contents regularly. She is the queen of getting really funny contents, and she has not disappointed so far.
Life is already serious as it is, and we already know how serious it is.
A little joke, meme, or comedy skits never hurts anyone. We need a daily dose of this.
Have a good laugh, and don’t be stingy. Share with friends and family. When we laugh together, it brings us close together.
As Victor Borge once wrote, “Laughter is the closest distance between two people.”
Get A Sense Of Fulfillment
One reason people do not want to stay home is because of the time considered wasted. Wasting productive time, right?
But do you know what is considered waste is subjective?
For one, we can change your perspective.
Also, if work has been a means of escape in the past, this is the time to work on self. Working to escape pains and emotions is not an ideal way to go.
Nonetheless, we can embark on courses online that are either free or paid. For instance, there are free online university courses through cousera.org. I am at the verge of completing a course. This offers great learning opportunities, and the certificates help boost your CV.
We can also work on your spiritual life by visiting virtual parishes or mosques.
Besides, helping others can increase our sense of fulfillment. The helper principle shows that helping others is also a benefit to the helper.
While it is good to get courses done and build your spiritual life, it’s not an easy feat to sit home all day, stop routine tasks or face uncertainties.
Staying mentally strong during this period alone is a fulfillment in itself. Our mental health is important.
Yes, we can do this together. If you need help at any point, we got you.
Accept What You Cannot Change/ Control
Accept what you cannot change, and control the heck out of what you can.
The COVID-19 brings a lot of uncertainties and helplessness. There is no known cure, no known vaccines, scarce treatment kits and isolation centres in some areas, the virus spreads quickly, there are new updates about the virus almost every day, and a lot of unanswered questions.
It’s easy to fall into a state of despair and helplessness.
It is important to remember that there are limited areas we have control over. It helps our mental health accepting that.
Accept that the news coverage will not answer all your questions.
Accept that there are uncertainties.
Accept that you have been asked to stay home, and it can be rough.
Trust that local and international officials around the globe and the medical community are trying their best to address the situation.
While we accept the things you cannot change or control, let’s work on the things we can such as our daily routine at home.
Have a schedule on the time you wake up, go to bed, eat, or do chores. Control the time spent watching movies, have an exercise routine, try relaxation routines, find new information on the internet on things you love, make time for fun, and never give up.
Doing this helps you get through each day.
Try Not To Make Assumptions
In the society we live in today, everyone is a suspect, including the government, the medical community, local authorities, and our next-door neighbor. Thus, we tend to judge and fear people.
It’s important not to judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is infected and who is not.
Practice physical distancing, wash your hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds, use alcohol based sanitizers, avoid touching your face and eat healthy.
Assumptions affect your mental health much more than you can imagine, they can be problematic.
Do your part and leave the rest.
What’s the worst thing that can happen during this period? I can almost hear someone say we get infected and die.
While this may seem convenient, especially to justify the worst-case scenarios in our minds, it can hamper on our mental health.
The worst-case scenario may be that you have worried so much about the future and worst-case scenarios that you have not been able to enjoy this moment, even as you unconsciously created a mental strain positioned to affect you in the future.
It can be especially helpful to practice mindfulness and try not to think of the future worst-case scenarios.
Mindfulness techniques help us stay in the present and increases relaxation. There are tons of resources online you can use. They are very useful for your mental health.
There Is A Positive In Every Situation. Look For It.
One post I read recently on twitter said we all learnt a new word during this period – quarantine. We also learnt social physical distancing. Those are positive.
Sounds like not a big deal? But it is for most people, especially our kids that are expanding their vocabulary.
One positive for me is finding time to continue writing and take a chill pill (sleep all day).
You simply need to find yours, trust me, it is there.
It will help to try and see it as a different period in your life and not a bad one.
A different rhythm of life.
A different way to be close to others.
A different way to do life, work and coexist.
Everyone Reacts Differently To Stressful Situations.
We all respond to stress differently.
Know how you respond to stress to help you cope better.
For some people, stress means little sleep at night, difficulties concentrating, overeating, increased cravings for cigarettes, headaches, and a whole lot of others.
Also, some people cope with stress by taking a break off work, following a to-do list, taking a siesta, watching a movie, singing, dancing, making a meal or listening to comedy skits.
We can introspect to determine ours and work on personal coping strategies.
If you, or someone you know, feel overwhelmed with emotions like you can schedule an appointment with us.
If you feel like you, or someone you know, want to harm self or others call the local authorities in your state.
Emergency hotlines in Nigeria
If you need emergency help for suicide, kindly reach out to the below number
Nigeria Suicide Prevention Initiative – 08062106493, 08092106493
Lagos State Help Lines – 08058820777, 09030000741
Learn more about how you can help to prevent suicide.
We are creative creatures, we are also social creatures. This period has seen the rise of many creative ideas.,Besides
You can come up with ways where you are socially connected and physically disconnected.
You can come up with ways to distract and unwind within this period.
You can find a way to make you and the world around you mentally fit.
Your mind is an ocean of possibilities on how to make this a positive. Let us know how you are doing. Drop a comment. We’ll love hearing from you.
You are doing well.
Until I come your way next time, remember, better day tomorrow.