I am just checking in…How are you doing? How are you keeping? How do you feel? Who do you speak with? Do you have what you need?
We have been speaking about so many things these past few months – depression, anxiety, guilt (survivor) and many more. It is strange how it seems time flies. Just the other day we were learning about breathing and also about how difficult working from home has become. During the past few weeks, we became aware of and are now facing a third wave of the Corona virus. It feels like, just when we thought the seas are settling down, along came another underwater tornado, pulling us back down into the murky waters of the unknown ocean called the Corona Pandemic.
We have to armour ourselves with life jackets (wear masks, keep social distance, vaccinate or not), and swim to shore once again. The uncertainty of swimming in this murky water and the challenges of wearing “life jackets”, has reinstated the spine-chilling fear which many of us experienced as little kids when someone scared us with the idea of the bogeyman. This fear for many of us has become palpable, and it has left a bitter aftertaste which toothpaste cannot remove. It has become like a game of chess…just with chess the moves are calculated, well-played and intelligent. As humanity we sit and watch, like a slow motioned movie, how we are moved back to square one in a matter of months. It suddenly seems like the bogeyman is the winner. But he is not…and I will not allow him to win…because I have people around me…people who are and who will not leave me by myself…other people who will walk along this road with me…people who I know and people whom I do not know…and they will be there…no matter what happens…
There is so much information to process once again, and it can become extremely overwhelming. Medical Health professionals have their hands full with trying to contain what humanity is going through. This being on a physical as well as a mental/psychological level. The following are some useful tips to deal with the new phase we are experiencing with the pandemic:
- Only read information about the pandemic provided by reliable sources. Refrain from over-indulging on social media and the fear created and instilled by the fear and insecurities of other people;
- Follow a healthy diet by ensuring that water is taken regularly and eating fresh fruit and vegetables often;
- Exercise at least three times a week. Try to work in some form of physical activity in daily regimen like taking a brisk walk. Engage in breathing exercises to alleviate anxiety;
- Practice healthy sleep hygiene and provide the body with enough rest in order to function normally e.g., try to have at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night;
- Relax and do something fun like engaging in a hobby;
- Falling ill or losing loved ones through death can be extremely traumatizing. Identify a support system (family and friends) in case others are needed and have their numbers readily available to contact them in the event of an emergency;
- Create a list of Health Care Professionals that can be contacted if this need arises e.g., Psychologist, Psychiatrist, GP, Counsellor, Religious leader, Social Workers etc.
Mental health professionals caution that during this time it is important to care and nourish body and mind on a regular basis. Too often signs and symptoms of something serious is ignored and then spirals out of control. Even if this happens, there is always help available. Once we realize that the fear, like that of the bogeyman, can be managed, we gain courage and strength to move forward. Remember, you are not alone!