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In a recent article in The New York Times titled ‘There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing’, author and organizational psychologist at Wharton, Adam Grant refers to the term coined by sociologist Corey Keyes. When you are neither depressed nor thriving, one seems to languish. People who are languishing now are likely to suffer from depression and anxiety a decade from now.
Living in the pandemic may have landed us on a new normal; The virus attacks the immunity of a person but the lockdown and restricted life in a mask has attacked our mental wellbeing.
Something as common as a back ache or sudden loss or increase of weight could be enough of a sign enough from your body and mind telling you it needs a breather. You cannot wish the COVID away, but you can make small changes in the way you digest and process the news around you and mindfully respond to it.
If there was a ‘best time’ to turn inwards, it is ‘now’. The pandemic has shaken not only our mental-health system but also lit a fire of fear that will only grow larger if not doused consciously. Mental health is the prime goal for everyone this year and that starts by looking after ourselves and addressing our personal needs and issues.
There is our recommendation of 6 steps to make sure your mental wellbeing is not compromised whether you are a patient or a caregiver. (PS: Feel free to start from any that hits the right chord for you.)
Breathwork is the first step to gauging the internal environment, listening to your body and beginning the work to put the mind at ease. If you’re a pranayama virgin, even just sitting in a silent spot and slowing down your breathing is a good start. Take a deep breath in, hold for a few seconds and let it all out. Did you know when you focus on your breath, you can be in the present moment, and past and future worries cannot get to you.
Everyone has a happy place. A picture that puts them at ease whenever they are. The power of imagination can help build bridges of peace much as it can wreak havoc. Think of that place – could be the last wellness holiday, the hike in the mountains or that favourite spot on your balcony. Think of the fragrances that embraced you, the sounds you heard, the emotions you had, and give yourself a much-deserved space travel. This trip will definitely balance out those cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
With increased screen time, our attention span has shortened and that has increased our need for instant gratification and quick fixes. Take any errand or activity and do it -2x slower. So, if you’re washing vessels, make sure your hand movement goes into a slo-mo act as you focus on the task at hand. Being mindful quietens the mind that is blazing an avalanche of thoughts per second. You’ll feel more fulfilled and relaxed by the end too.
And, no, texting or saving a note on your phone is not allowed. Pen to paper, let it flow. Daily affirmations, making a to-do list with the aim to or free writing and letting your thoughts flow onto paper without any barriers or restrictions. Journaling is a powerful tool to declutter the mind. Even a digital detox for a few hours every day, is a sure shot healing technique as it opens up a brand-new world of possibilities.
An afternoon cup of tea with a friend, a zoom meet with family or listening to your favourite tracks while you look through old albums. The pandemic has brought an opportunity for many things and one of it is to appreciate the smaller things and find joy in the moment.
Taking it forward from finding joy in small things, the pandemic is an ideal time to go back to the drawing board and restructuring – the way you run business, re-prioritising health, or even re-planning how you live life. Follow a new way and refocus on your goals. This is a great time to redefine your life.
Building a mental resilience will not happen overnight, and nor is it a mandate to make big changes that unsettle us. Start with taking small steps that turn into good habits which will go a longer way to see you through this pandemic. Once you make a commitment to yourself to work on your mental health, you have already started
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