In a popular discourse on human health authors, artists, and public orators consider mental health as important as physical health. From a psychological perspective, mental health is more important than physical wellbeing as we can see what’s happening to our body but our internal health remains invisible. In India, people still use terms like “Pagal”, “mental hai kya” so casually. “There is still a lot of stigma attached to mental illness, people don’t want to talk about this at all..,” says Anusha Tyagi, Arts-based Therapist & Psychologist, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, from Fortis Healthcare in an interview to NDTV.
In these unprecedented times, when the whole world is trying to settle in new-normal with little or no socialization, mental health has become more important. According to the World Health Organization, in India, about 7.5 percent of people suffer from a mental disorder. WHO also predicts that by end of this year roughly 20 percent of India will suffer from mental illnesses. In numbers, approximately, 56 million Indians suffer from depression and another 38 million Indians suffer from anxiety disorders, states WHO.
From waiting for weekends to waiting to get back to our workplaces, the business world has undergone a major change. The popular festivals are finding their own way. Virtual Pandal hopping is setting new trends. Does it signify the new way of modern society? This pandemic is leaving humans as unsocialized depressed beings caged inside their apartments and houses, while nature enjoys in serenity.
Here are some mental health practices to keep ourselves sane in this otherwise insane world.
Setting up a routine
Routine & discipline is a primary concept to keep the world going. We follow a certain pattern for a day. WFH has completely changed our mindsets. There is no rush on otherwise busy roads, no long queues to take a metro, and no more mini attacks for card punching. It might feel like all bets are off. WFH is slighting blurring our definition of professional & personal life. But it’s important to maintain a routine and engage in a daily to-do-list to keep ourselves productive. It’s essential to sleep, eat, and work at pre-defined schedules. Unstructured time can create boredom, spikes in anxiety or depression, which can lead to unhealthy patterns of coping
Exercise & Meditation
Our physical health is a reflection of our mental health & vice versa. This is the best time to maintain good health. There are a lot of options for indoor workouts. You may try age-old Yoga to 21st-century ones (Peloton and MIRROR). With the government easing the lockdown policies, many people have found their new love for exercise in cycling. Maintain a well-balanced diet and maintain a proper sleeping pattern.
Age-old Indian scriptures document the importance of meditation. Interestingly, meditation not only helps in controlling the mind but also reduces anxiety and depression and even increase the volume of certain areas of the brain. If you are not a focused person, you may try breathing exercises.
Make time for Unwind
With houses turning into workplaces, there is no such thing called ‘work-timings.’ We have forgotten to cherish tea breaks and lunch hours. But now it’s more important to take breaks at regular intervals. Indulge in some other activity apart from your office work or house chore. Prepare your mind to pick that book again which you left unfinished months ago because there was no time. Well, there are other reasons to get back to reading. Some of the prolific entrepreneurs credit their success to reading. Do you know, Elon musk described himself, in a Bloomberg interview, as a “bookwormy” kid. Growing up, he would read as many as two books per day.
Apart from reading, you could start with gardening. It is a scientifically proven fact that staying in a green and blue ambiance reduces anxiety and depression. Some studies show that “forest bathing” has significantly reduced risk for chronic health issues, including reduced risk of coronary heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower heart rate, and reduced all-cause mortality and death from heart disease.
The only intention behind indulging in extra activities is to relax and take a break from a monotonous lifestyle.
Maintain Social Connection
We are fundamentally social creatures. It’s a human tendency to socialize and maintain community relations but unfortunately, this is the opposite of what we can do. Medical guidelines suggest social distancing as the only way for staying fit in this pandemic. But staying in touch boosts your physical as well as mental health. Engage in daily conversations with your family, friends, and colleagues. This is the best time for working parents to make extra efforts for their kids and cherish parenthood.
How about engaging in soulful conversations with your old friends which is not possible in otherwise regular circumstances. Video conferencing is the best you can do to your mind,
Give and Seek Help
You will not get an answer if you won’t ask. Speaking about stress and depression is the first step toward healing. Identify your problems and talk to a professional or your support system. “It’s okay not to be okay.” In the end, you need to realize that we are going through the most difficult times and we’re together in this.
We hope that this article will help you in relieving your stress. If you would like to add your own perspective to this, share it with us in the comment section below.