One of the things that has really gripped my thoughts in this season of social distancing and lock downs is our mental health. With the amount of emotion, fear and relational isolation that is prevalent I have thought often of people who may have battled depression or anxiety and feel the pinch of this time.
After reading countless articles around the affects of this season on our mental well being. Experts are predicting that this global pandemic will cause an increase in depression, anxiety and stress. I am also aware that loneliness is real and as some of us self-isolate without family there is a risk of many feeling completely discarded and forgotten in this time.
For me personally I am challenged mentally on a daily basis. Just the words LOCK DOWN make my toes curl. It’s so definite and so final in a way. So constricting. I feel the confinement and it often feels like its grabbing me by the throat, strangling my ability to breathe and be at complete ease in this time. The unknown reality of this season has caused my emotions to ebb and flow like never before. The foreign nature of what we are dealing with has left me feeling anxious on occasion. The energy it takes to will myself towards healthy and positive mindsets is real and that is before I help my little ones navigate their own. I am not excluded from the risk of “feeling” this pandemic in my mental capacity. I may never contact Covid-19 but I may have to deal with the side effects of stress, tension and anxiety. Just because I lead a church and have a real and authentic relationship with Jesus and hold faith within me to face life circumstances does not excuse me from the realities of anxiety. Anxiety effects all sorts of people no matter the position they hold. Anxiety for me is a real thing. Over the years I have had to work through unprocessed pain to help me overcome an anxious mental state. I have in the past suffered with panic attacks where I would lose my ability to breathe normally, it has affected my heart rate and for many months I was fearful of exercise because of my racing heart. Anxiety is real and if left un-dealt with, it can have a major negative impact on our health long term. I feel passionately about us all getting “real” about our mental health and if necessary taking practical steps to overcome in this area. It is not impossible but the first step is to acknowledge that we may need help and then seek it with wisdom and counsel form others.
And so with all of this in mind. I have been listening to some great material out there. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the videos I enjoyed was from a Psychologist in Durban by the name of Domenique Manais. The video below has a short and highly practical few tips for us all as we physically navigate this Lockdown and I would highly recommend that you take 3 mins to get educated on how you can stay on top of your mental health in this season.
To summarise her thoughts…
Say goodbye to WHAT IF and live in WHAT IS
Now is the time to LET GO OF “THE UNKNOWN”
Don’t underestimate your capability in adversity. You can do hard things and you have immense capacity to endure.
Maximise self care (Exercise, diet, sleep, limit unhealthy habits)
Access your imagination (Dream of a brighter tomorrow… One day when mentality)
I hope this helps you to assess where you may be at. Please do not live in denial or pretend everything is amazing when you are suffering inside, this will only bring greater pain in the end.
I am praying today for every person who is feeling the effects of this lockdown in this way. You are not alone. Reach out and take steps towards a healthier and happier mind.