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Mental Health in Changing Times

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

Written by: Akanksha Nayak

So, here we are, almost at the end of this year and undoubtedly it was an eventful one. Some of us got a refreshing break while some of us got disturbing turbulence in our minds. I once read, “The only constant in life changes.” and there is no other situation that could have confirmed this statement more evidently than the current pandemic. Since the beginning of the year itself, Corona continued to strengthen its grasp on the world, forcing a lot of us into quarantine and self- isolation. Social interaction is a large part of our cultures and isolation was not a pleasant occurrence for most people. Fear and concern about health, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, sense of loneliness, change in working conditions, and many other possible situations significantly added to the mental muddle.

Going back on track with our old lifestyle while lockdowns are getting eased along time, our roads ahead have both challenges and opportunities for us. Something I have realized over this stressful time is that our biggest constant in life is within ourselves. From Buddhist philosophy to Mahatma Gandhi and the Dalai Lama, they have all been strong proponents of inner peace. Inner peace refers to a state of emotional equilibrium independent of our circumstances. This center of mental gravity can be attained through emotional and mental health management. Emotional and mental health is important because it’s a vital part of your life and impacts your thoughts, emotions, actions, and relationships.

Some small and actionable changes in our mindset and lifestyles can bring a huge change in us as individuals and as a community -

  • The first step to handle stress is recognizing that you have stress. Unless you know you are injured, you won’t go to the doctor to get it cured. Understand that being scared is reasonable and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging your emotions and feelings.

  • The most important step to manage the fear of an uncertain future is to cherish the present. Don’t fear the future and don’t regret the past. Focus on your next step instead of being worried about the entire staircase.

  • Connecting with others is something that even the most introverted of us also need. Build good and supportive relationships and talk about everything that troubles your mind. Human beings are social creatures and we thrive as a community. Take advantage of the virtual spaces to maintain your old relations and create new ones. Social isolation does not have to mean loneliness.

  • Be grateful for everything you have and be hopeful for everything you want. It’s easier to let our fears take over but it’s healthier to have a positive outlook on life.

  • Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Responsibilities and duties often overtake our need to value ourselves. Exercise, have good food and just simply do those little things that bring you joy.

Lastly, it’s normal to feel abnormal. Be compassionate to yourself and to others. There is much that we cannot control right now, but how we handle ourselves during these challenging times can either provide a powerful shield or amplify our distress. Reach out for help when you need it and extend a helping hand to others when they do.