How are you feeling today? Excited? Bored? Exhausted or worried? Our state of mind and the way we feel affect our thoughts and behaviours every day. They also influence our ability to handle stress, overcome challenges and bounce back from adversity.
Over the last few months, we’ve faced unprecedented challenges. And with them a wave of worrying emotions such as anxiety, stress and uncertainty
As we come to terms with a new normal, paying special attention to our physical and mental well-being is more important than ever.
A new reality, a new way of life
After being confined to our homes for months, we’re slowly getting back to our regular routines. For many of us, the return might be phased, gradual and staggered. Professional and personal interactions will shift to a hybrid of in-person and virtual modes, with a focus on social distancing.
As we prepare ourselves to get back to life – both in office and at home – many things that we took for granted earlier might now become a luxury or be totally absent due to social distancing norms.
While our body and mind will try to adapt to this new reality, we should take care of our mental well-being.
A calm mindset
More often than not, mental health issues are ignored or not understood. It is critical to recognize that there is more to mental health than the absence of problems. Those who are psychologically healthy are:
• Strong, happy people with a zest for life and laughter
• Content, confident and have a high self-esteem
• Resilient to handle stress and recover from adversities
• Flexible to adapt to change and acquire new skills
However, it doesn’t mean that you never face emotional problems or bad times. All of us go through stress, disappointments and loss. Just as we bounce back to health from a physical illness through better immunity, a positive outlook helps us be psychologically resilient.
How can we respond to the new environment in a way that will boost our overall well-being? Here are a few approaches that can help:
Stay happy: Negative emotions are bound to occur however, we need to focus on being happy. Rather than trying to escape or push them away, it is time to acknowledge them. Focus on spending time in meaningful, joyful activities. Instead of fighting emotions, it’s better to invest our energy in shaping the best possible outcomes.
Seek purpose: Now that our old routines are a thing of the past, establishing a new rhythm can help improve predictability and provide a sense of purpose. While binge-watching movies or television shows or playing online games is good for entertainment, mindful utilisation of time towards acts of kindness can connect us to what matters the most. In the post-work hours on hand, you can enrich life through purposeful pursuits that bring joy and contentment.
Make self-care a priority: Physical activities and good nutrition have a direct correlation with our psychological well-being. Whether it is a 20-minute run on the treadmill or an online fitness class with friends, set aside time for rejuvenation. Altering your workout schedule to the new normal can positively impact mental health.
Nurture relationships: These trying times offer opportunities to deepen relationships with our family and friends. It’s also an unexpected opportunity to slow down and reflect on life as we know it. Going forward, we might be in a better position to leave behind things that weigh us down and focus on relationships that uplift us.
Reach out for help: Feel free to reach out to your colleagues, seniors or friends in case you need help with your mental health. In many cultures, reaching out for professional help has a social worry associated with it. It is normal to seek advice for staying mentally and physically fit in the new environment.
Holistic wellbeing is essential for everyone – individuals, teams, organisations and the society as a whole. Our experience in the crisis can help us emerge with a renewed appreciation of life and higher emotional quotient. With care for ourselves and those around us, we can all stay strong and transform for the better.