The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a very negative impact on most people’s mental health. You might have encountered many articles saying people are struggling mentally and emotionally, and the pandemic is to blame for it.
Research confirms the detrimental effect of the global lockdown on mental health.
Between January-June 2019 and January 2021, the number of severe anxiety and depression cases has increased by 30%:
The growing concerns around mental health make you wonder – what should you do to remain mentally and emotionally fit during these difficult times?
If you find yourself struggling like many others, here are a few recommendations to help you take care of your mental and emotional health.
1. Consider Mindful Meditation
Over the recent years, there has been a lot of talk surrounding mindfulness and meditation. You might have seen many celebrities discuss this topic publicly, offering their take on what meditation should look like and how it can change your life.
But what does science say about mediation?
Researchers at Harvard have found that mindful meditation helps improve physical health,
particularly disorders like IBS, psoriasis fibromyalgia, and others. But what was most remarkable is that meditation also helped alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
You can see why mindful meditation has a positive impact on both mental and physical health. The core of this meditative practice is to identify the irritant, recognize its impact, and let it go. As a result, a person becomes more self-aware and resilient.
2. Take on Some Form of Exercise
Similar to meditation, which is an exercise for your mind, actual physical activity can also help you stay mentally and emotionally fit. When you’re moving your body, you focus your mind on physical sensations, which helps disengage yourself from negative thoughts.
Multiple studies have found that exercise also has other ‘physical’ benefits that help our mental health as well:
- improved sleep
- better stamina and endurance
- better mood
- increased mental alertness
Also, exercise is about achieving a certain result, which is often about looking and feeling good. When you put your mind to working towards this goal, you’ll naturally have less time for worries.
3. Learn a Foreign Language
It can be quite hard to engage in learning a foreign language right now since it instantly makes you feel about traveling. But, with this activity, you can travel abroad without actually having to get on the plane.
The easiest way to start with a foreign language is to find the one that is the closest to your native language and that you’re passionate about. For example, you can start learning French step-by-step
since its vocabulary is close to English, and you may find that some grammar rules are quite similar.
But what does science say about the impact of learning a foreign language on mental health?
Some studies have proven the connection between bilingualism and delayed onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Researchers say learning one more language improves brain plasticity, helping it rewire itself.
Such improvements are possible in the long run. But right now, learning a foreign language is a great activity to take your mind off your troubles.
4. Start Journaling
You might have heard a saying, ‘Paper will endure everything.’ And it’s true – a sheet of paper can be your greatest listener, no matter if you feel good or bad.
Journaling can be a great exercise if you want to be mentally and emotionally fit. Putting your thoughts on paper can help you manage your emotions better. You can also use journaling to:
- recognize and understand the nature of your fears and concerns
- track your symptoms and determine what triggers them
- do some daily pep-talk to eliminate negative thoughts
Regular journaling is a great way to overcome low self-worth if you struggle with any mental health disorders. It can become your daily exercise and even a meditative practice to become more self-aware.
5. Talk to a Therapist
Many people were forced into their houses during the pandemic, which may have caused a surge in anxiety and depression cases. After all, many of us got more time to think about our issues, which can often spiral out of control.
If no other solution works for you, it’s always a great idea to talk to a therapist and figure out what’s bothering you. Regular therapy sessions can help you build confidence, become resilient and emotionally intelligent.
For people with any mental or physical health problems – a therapist can help you understand that these disorders are not part of your personality and don’t define you as an individual. However, to have solid effects, therapy should be regular and consensual.
It can be hard to stay mentally and emotionally fit when the world seems to have completely shut down. And the more we move away from the ‘normal’ reality, the more we see people struggling to adjust, which takes a toll on their mental health.
However, there are some things you can do to help yourself stay in the lane. Try meditation, exercise, start journaling, or learning a foreign language. And, if it doesn’t help, it’s always a great solution to talk to a therapist.
Take care of yourself and stay safe!