Uncertain times like this take a toll on one’s mental health and it is very important to keep mental health in check. Erinda Shah, the founder and the managing director of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) India, tells us that the pandemic has drastically changed our lives. “We are living in constant fear and insecurities have affected our mental state. Now, the second wave has caught us unprepared. This has caused a lot of changes in one’s emotions and feelings. Many have faced the sudden loss of their loved ones and daily, we are hearing a shortage of essential things. The world around us has changed and people need to seek help for mental health. In some cases, people are not realising that they are experiencing mental health problems. All these have to be addressed on time,” says Erinda Shah.
She explains that one of the best ways to make sure that you are mentally healthy is by planning your activities. “One should know what mental health means. There is a lot of stigmas associated with mental health. You should understand that it is completely okay to talk about mental health. Not all days will be the same for us – some days, we will feel low, some days will be exciting and on certain days, we can bounce back. We need to understand our situation and make changes accordingly. Like how we constantly check if we have a cough, fever, etc, one has to regularly check if their mental health is fine. You should keep asking certain questions -- how am I feeling today, what are my thoughts, what influences my thinking, what made me feel so anxious and so on. This will help you know whether you are on the positive or negative side. Practice self-care to improve emotional health. Find out activities that will uplift your mood. Minimise the usage of social media and other things that you consider is harmful to your mental well-being,” Erinda points out.
Raushni Khanna, mental health professional (counsellor) and admin head of Onelife NGO, says. “We have never been confined to a particular space for such a long period. There are many people out there who live in constant fear and worry. All these factors have taken a toll on our physical, emotional and mental well-being. By following a few things, one can keep his/her mental health in check. With the lockdown starting tomorrow, we are going to be spending a lot of time in our homes. Try and redecorate your house - this will help you to think out of the box. Incorporate basic exercises, yoga stretches and mediation - this will do wonders,” says Raushni Khanna.
She adds that this is the right time to reach out to a mental health professional, a counsellor, or a therapist. “There are a lot of amazing organisations that offer either free counselling services or at reasonable rates. Talking about what you are going through and someone validating your feeling will help you a lot. Generally, people tend to consume a lot of information during a crisis like this. You have to minimise the intake of information and also make sure that you are getting it from verified sources. Eating healthy and sleeping on time will also set your mood. Nowadays, many are working from home. So, try to dress up during work hours; it gives a sense of normalcy and keeps you focused. Most importantly, catch up with the entire family and make sure they are also coping up with stress,” she sums up.