Most of us have not been through lockdowns or periods of ‘distancing’ where we may not be able to access support systems such as school, work, friends and even family. The loss of our social framework hits many people hard because homo sapiens is largely a communal species. The statistics of mental stress worldwide since the pandemic started are staggering, with manifold increases in reported cases of depression, domestic violence and anxiety.
Psychologists say that the effect of the pandemic on mental health will continue even as the social restrictions relax, with some people suffering for the long-term. This is partly due to fear of the unknown which proliferates in our minds to conjure up thousands of ‘ifs’, and setting off another frenzy of alarming thoughts. We can stem this by being mindful of our thoughts and bringing them back to the present moment, whilst gently convincing our minds to not overthink.
Take a deep breath, and continue being aware of your breath to calm down. Clear our minds, so that we can move forward with clarity. Hone our thoughts to find blessings which exist even in the bleakest moments. We then focus on what we can do instead of what may happen, because much of our worries are likely not to happen. To gain confidence in taking positive actions, set a simple goal to achieve. Keep taking these small steps until good momentum is gained.
Once we stabilise our own emotions and minds, we have much to give in spirit and loving-kindness to others. Look out for friends or family members who seem a bit more subdued, quiet or moody, and gently reach out to them. Lend them a listening ear, without judgement or forcing our views upon them. If they need help from qualified counselors, assist them to find a suitable one. Our simple actions of care makes a positive impact on others.