The world marked Mental Health Day on the 10th of this month. Against the Covid-19 backdrop, a record number of people this year became in need of mental health support, whether it is to cope with social isolation, unemployment, managing a nonexistent work life balance after WFH rendered it moot, or the exhaustion of dealing with a global crisis. The last reason remains one of the most common, and one that we’ve felt ourselves too.
We’re all experiencing things we haven’t before, and the best self-help tips seem to barely scratch the surface. While we’re not about to drop some miracle story about how we do things differently or swear by a mantra we’ve prescribed to to change our collective consciousness, we’d like to share our findings: Robust mental health isn’t brought about by one single paradigm shift or one life-altering decision; it’s a series of many smaller steps that ensure you’re healthy in both body and mind.
Apologies if we’ve disappointed with the lack of an instant affirmation! However, here are a few short tips that we found are universally appealing:
- Don’t compare!
The urge to remain productive amid all the staying at home is understandable. But, we’re all in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime event, so it’s important to not get too competitive. Are others doing better than you? Good for them, but may be not so much for you. Setting realistic and modest goals is one way to go about it. Raising the stakes will become fun and much easier once we discover our own strengths and weaknesses.
- Know that talent and persistence go hand in hand
The pandemic has proven that it now takes twice as hard to achieve anything. But the takeaway here is that things are still achievable. Taking longer than usual, in this situation, to get stuff done is not indicative of one’s talent. Big picture thoughts! All the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears are building up to your own goals. Focus on doing the job right than merely getting it done.
- Try to snap out of the blues
We’re all guilty of falling into uncertainty and giving in to despair. When you feel your mood dipping, try to actively steer your thoughts to more productive things. We’re not going to patronise you with messages like “think happy” and “be positive”, we’re saying pick up a book, go for a walk, watch something you like or make something you like – anything to break the cycle of negative thoughts.
- Don’t fear failure
Many people have hit rock bottom on account of this pandemic. However, that does not mean it won’t get better. Instead of worrying about failure, focus on getting stuff done in the present. Something along the lines of thinking about crossing bridges when we get to them. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from picking something up and turning in a decent job.
There are instant foods, but there are no instant ways to turn chirpy! It’s at times like these that we have to be easy on ourselves, not lax, but easy, remembering to cut yourself some slack. Most importantly, when negative thoughts persist, it’s vital to approach a mental health counsellor or to reach out to a trusted family member or friend. Therapy is a tried and tested method to get better, and no amount of societal stigma or uninformed opinion should prevent one from seeking the help they need.
So, relax, take a deep breath and step up for yourself. And don’t worry if you can’t find your inner superpower, there are a million ways to cultivate one!