Managing Mental Health During this Pandemic

For obvious reasons, those of us regularly challenged with mental health symptoms may start to see them magnified.

For others, these times of stress and uncertainty will breed an unfamiliar set of troublesome emotions.

Of course, it is imperative that we remain calm, disciplined, and ensure logical/rational decision making. This is easier said than done as we brace ourselves for the worst.

But this unique circumstance has provided a silver lining bordering on golden. Many now possess TIME. No longer can “lack of time” be used as an excuse to avoid wellness-benefiting activities.

If spent wisely, TIME will provide Immunity, Resilience, and Strength. TIME becomes the anti-anxiety & antidepressant!

So make good use of this newly found “time”. Act now!

Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi & Other Breath-Focused Practices

There’s a reason the Yoga and Meditation community is so tightly-knit, spanning the entire globe, while having done so over many centuries. The combative impact these art forms have against stress, anxiety and depression warrants inclusion into childhood education curriculum. These ancient practices have transformed (and saved) lives.

Every moment spent focused on Breath results in a a powerful absence from the problems of the world. The benefits of consistent dedication to breath-work (and resulting “presence”), lead to an exponential gain in mental clarity and sense of well-being during times of stress.

Yoga, Meditation, Tai Chi and Other Forms of Breath-Work are known for lowering stress, anxiety & depression, reducing blood pressure, building muscular & cardio-vascular endurance, and contributing to a sense of well being.

For those who already practice, here’s the chance to deepen and enrich their craft. For those who have never tried or have never had the time…
Namaste!

Sleep

Volumes have been written about the importance of sleep. And experts have been desperately preaching the dangers of sleep deprivation, especially as it pertains to mental health.

Emotion Regulation and Resolution is an important task that primarily happens in REM stages of sleep. While the details of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep is beyond the scope of this writing, it’s important to understand that the Dream-State-Phase of sleep, intensifies and lengthens during the latter hours of slumber. The more sleep-deprived one is, the more the Emotional-Processing-&-Resolution is sacrificed.

Reflect on that. Imagine how life could be different if an additional hour of sleep (an additional session of Emotional-Processing-&-Resolution) was acquired per night.

But life circumstances make that difficult for most. Sleep is a luxury many cannot afford. That is exactly why one must take advantage of this extra time to regain sleep to strengthen their mental health & vitality.

Now is the time to reacquire therapeutic levels of sleep!

So why does the human race continue to be so tired?

Understandably, human lives revolve around working to earn a living. For most, this means complete allocation of their existence towards employment. Work is often energy zapping and stressful, which can result in counterproductive methods of coping.

Stimulants are needed to work harder, and intoxicants to unwind. Junk food is consumed for comfort and pharmaceuticals to mend.

This mish-mash of sleep deprivation with ingestion of toxic ingredients, results in a nasty cycle of dysfunctional sleep and chronic fatigue.

In the end, health suffers.

Relax

Maintain Routine

This big change of schedule comes with a surplus of TIME.

For some, this means the disappearance of structure. This can create Sloth-like behaviour. While having extra time for Netflix and couch is nice, it can quickly spiral into unreasonable binge sessions of tele, junk food, and excessive napping.

For others this becomes a big opportunity to be extremely productive.

Priority should be with proper rest & recovery which will act as the fuel for productivity with your new environment.

Allocate a portion of your “gained time” to activities the promote the re-acquisition of energy:

Working From Home

If you’re one of the lucky ones who’s now working from home:

If working from home becomes a struggle, adjust your work space. Divide the day up into smaller chunks by taking more breaks. Build momentum by giving yourself fewer tasks earlier in the week and slowly increasing them.

Temporarily Out of Work

Stick to a similar schedule and be productive with it.

When life gets back to “normal”, make sure you’re well positioned to earn an income. That means using this time to polish your CV, reach out to potential employers, take industry-related online courses, re-organize your finances.

Complete all the tasks you didn’t have the time for in the past. Resume half-finished projects or start new ones.

Relax but be productive.

Exercise

Non Exercisers:

It’s likely that you have extra time on your hands. Participate in activities that contribute to the strengthening of your mental/emotional/physical health.

EXERCISE ticks the above boxes with a big, bright marker. Non-exercisers must begin an exercise routine. The benefits will prove to be life-changing.

At first, simplicity and feasibility is key. This will in result in the most important variable – consistency.

Just MOVE. Get your heart rate up, break a sweat and get blood flowing for, at most, 10 minutes per day. Each week increase by 2 minutes worth of exercise. Build on that.

It’s as simple as going for a walk. Be resourceful and find exercises online.

Exercise can be counterproductive if too complicated or aggressive. You’re trying to acquire energy by building strength, endurance and flexibility.

Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation

Cardio

Experienced Exercisers

Finding time to exercise may not be a problem for regular exercisers. Finding the “right” exercises is often a challenge.

If over-training is the problem, exercises that promote recovery – stretching, flexibility movements, rehabilitation exercises – should be added (or used as replacements for counterproductive exercises).

 

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