We are in a time where almost every piece of news and personal conversation revolves around the current global situation. Kirstie Chisholm, Director of Health & Wellness at Zulal Wellness Resort, guides us with tips and tricks to manage ourselves during the worldwide pandemic.
The constant bombardment of news updates can result in increasing fear and anxiety which in turn has immediate effects on our mental health and well-being. Mental health awareness is on the rise as we see more people seeking information and advice on
how to cope with a sea of mixed emotions. The way we react to stressful situations differs from one person to another, and it is important that we don’t feed our fear and anxiety and shift our mindset and focus on embracing our mental well-being.
COPING WITH THE SITUATION
If we live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in our environment or threats we perceive, our mental, emotional and physical health can be affected negatively.
Giving attention to the way you think and where you place your thoughts can have a profound improvement on one’s mental health. To cope with fear does not necessarily mean to fight it.
Becoming aware of your fears, naming them and standing back and observing them (if possible) or/and talking to people about them in a constructive way is very important-particularly at this time. Fear can sweep through communities like a wildfire and rather than fighting it might be more effective to try and take some time out from it or switching your attention on something else for a while. At the same time, we need to understand that it’s pretty normal to feel fear and to be kind to yourself and do things to comfort yourself.
FEAR AND CHILDREN
This situation is a lot for a child to process and many of them will unfortunately not be taught the skills to help them. Not only to they have to process and cope with the fear of the virus itself there is the disruption of normal activities, the sudden split from friends, and extended family members. These difficulties are profoundly compounded for children who rely on school meals, or whose family members are sickened or facing sudden unemployment.
Children can feel particularly helpless and witnessing their parents and society as a whole feeling helpless can affect their sense of security immensely. The fear of the unknown mixed in with the fear of them or their loved ones catching a virus and potentially dying from it is
HERE’S SOME ADVICE FROM MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS AND PARENTING EXPERTS:
Model calmness even if you have to pretend. Children absorb your energy which can be more contagious than the virus. Remaining calm and centered can be the number one act of supporting your child
Establish a flexible routine-structure to help a child feel safe but try not to be too militant about it otherwise it can lose its effectiveness
Be honest about what is happening but don’t tell them more than they need. Be age appropriate and let the child’s questions guide the conversation. Balance it with what people are doing to overcome this situation and reassure them that they are safe and protected
Be conscious about how much screen time they have and what they are watching/reading. At this time screen time can offer a lot of comfort but ensure they are not having so much of it that they begin to become disconnected from the family. The sense of connection is vital at the moment.
If possible, ensure they have some outside time in their garden or yard. Movement and exercise improve their mental health and can assist in releasing any built-up internal stress. Play and fun is a perfect antidote to stress
EVALUATE AND SHIFT YOUR MINDSET
I’m sure you are now curious about your own mindset. Remember that shifting your mindset is the first step towards coping, and to do so I would recommend that you treat your mind the same way you treat your body. Adopt the same basic principles you would give your body to your mind. Give it exercise such as reading, learning new things or playing games. Ensure your brain is hydrated as it is approximately 70% water and requires it to function well. Avoid stimulants and sugar as these are toxic for the brain.
Lastly, dedicating time each day-even if it’s just five minutes to quiet your mind. It’s as if you are letting your mind sleep and have a rest which supports it being clearer and sharper. You can do this with simple guided meditations, listen to a beautiful piece of music or breathing exercise. Whatever method you choose the aim is to quieten your mind. This over most things can help your mental and emotional health considerably. ✤
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