Mental wellness during self-quarantine and lockdown – Daily Nation

Posted: March 24, 2020 at 2:45 pm


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Saturday March 21 2020

If you are told to self-quarantine, it means you are required to be at home and not go to work, school or any other public places. PHOTO | FILE

Be a leader. For all the adults reading this article, you have a chance to show leadership to your family, friends and community.

Be solution focused. Offer hope. Provide credible information. You may be feeling the anxiety too, we all do feel it sometimes. But you dont have to show it.

You have probably experienced the feeling that life is at a standstill and unending boredom having to stay indoors due to the current situation that Covid-19 has thrown us into. You may even feel a sense of hopelessness waiting to hear that a vaccine is on the way. You read everything there is to read about the Covid-19, you even talk like an expert. But slowly the growing feeling of emptiness begins to creep in, and you want freedom. To break out of this situation and go back to normal life, at least for a short time. You feel like you want to go somewhere, to see how everyone else is living and behaving, and to probably have a drink with your buddies. Then you think better of it and you may choose to stay put, after all, the treatment-of-choice is hide, hide, and hide. But the nagging feeling continues deep inside.

So how can you keep your life energetic again? How do you maintain your mental wellness during this time?

There are a few things you can do to maintain your mental wellness and keep a vibrant life. The solution is in looking at life from an optimistic point of view. Let me show you how:

Wean yourself from taking in everything that is going on. Take only credible sources of information. Such as keeping the social distance, coughing and sneezing into a tissues paper or your elbow, and proper handwashing. Avoid myths, they only drain your energy. Keep to the facts from expert sources such as directives from the Ministry of Health. Dont consume too much data, it can be overwhelming. You may be in isolation but very noisy within yourself. Learn to relax and to convert your energy into other activities in order to nurture your own mental health.

Develop a new positive habit. Such as gardening, learning a language, doing an online course, painting or read that book. Do the house chores, trim the flowers, paint, do repairs, clean the dust in those corners we always ignore.

Dont do many new habits, its one at a time. For example if you take up gardening, a balcony is all the space that you require. Grow your own sukuma wiki, carrots, onion, spinach and others. People do it in sacks on their balconies and small spaces behind their houses. Read about it and see the dream come true.

Take advantage of all the affordable internet solutions within your reach. Buy bundles where they are cheaper and only go online when necessary. Make it a ritual to read more on personal development. You want to emerge out of this few weeks a better person.

Organise your time. Plan your daily activities and if possible write down your to-do list. Check at the end of the day what you accomplished and affirm yourself for making it through your to-do list. Dont let people and other things disrupt you too much. Of course you need to be flexible to accommodate family, but your goal is to accomplish what is on your list. So dont over-schedule, it can give you a self-defeating kind of feeling. Be realistic.

Exercise: You dont have to go to the gym. All you need is a small mat. Where you can jog on the spot and stretch. Try yoga exercises but limit this to what your body can accommodate.

Talk to someone if you feel terrified, empty, hopeless, and worthless. These are creeping signs of depression.

This too will pass: Believe me that there will be an end to this. We will all go back to normal. We will shake hands again, and hug. We will dine with friends and sip coffee at our favourite joints again. We will go sporting and shout out loud without care. But right now we must protect ourselves, our loved ones and our country.

And if you are a mental health worker, I urge you to be a pillar in your family and community.

Offer hope. Find out how your significant others are doing by calling or texting. Be the solution to a problem. For example buy two hand sanitisers and offer an older person, mama mboga, or someone who cannot afford it. Learn to make cheap sanitiser in your home. Use soap and remind those around you for personal hygiene, always.

Connect with the Higher power. Spirituality gives you peace and calmness. The joy to face another day. The serenity prayer is a good place to begin: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change (e.g. Covid-19 is global pandemic and it is spreading), courage to change the things that I can (such as social distancing, washing hands) and wisdom to know the difference. This helps you to participate in those things only possible for you to do. And you will be happier.

Be a leader. For all the adults reading this article, you have a chance to show leadership to your family, friends and community. Be solution focused. Offer hope. Provide credible information. You may be feeling the anxiety too, we all do feel it sometimes. But you dont have to show it. You learn to deal with your own anxiety and offer the world some positive energy at this time when everyone needs it. Guide your children in time planning and in school work.

Dr Githae is a lecturer in Kenyatta Universitys Psychology Department.

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Mental wellness during self-quarantine and lockdown - Daily Nation

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March 24th, 2020 at 2:45 pm