The sort of advice around mental health is like a talk with your grandma - be kind, take a walk each day, eat properly and sleep soundly for six to eight hours, and add a hug. But she's more than likely under lockdown, so a chat on messenger will have to do for the time being.
World Mental Health Day is held on October 10 every year to raise awareness of mental health issues, and to mobilise efforts to support the one in four of us who suffer from poor mental health at sometime in our lives.
Of course our mental health is essential to our overall well-being, and as important as physical health, because when we feel mentally well we can work productively, enjoy our free time, and contribute actively to our communities.
It's been a big year though and more and more of us are making huge changes to our daily routines.
The realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members and friends takes some getting used to. Adapting to lifestyle changes such as these, and managing the fear and uncertainty, are challenging for all of us.
Here are some useful tips and advice.
- Have a daily routine.
- Get up and go to bed at similar times every day.
- Keep up with personal hygiene.
- Eat healthy meals at regular times.
- Exercise regularly.
- Make time for doing things you enjoy.
Keep up your social contacts. If your movements are restricted, keep in regular contact with people close to you by telephone and online channels.
Alcohol and drug use. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink or don't drink alcohol at all.
Avoid using alcohol and drugs as a way of dealing with fear, anxiety, boredom and social isolation.
Screen time. Be aware of how much time you spend in front of a screen every day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
Video games. While video games can be a way to relax, it can be tempting to spend much more time on them than usual when at home for long periods. Be sure to keep the right balance with off-line activities in your daily routine.
Help others. If you are able to, offer support to people in your community who may need it, such as helping them with food shopping.
Don't discriminate.Fear is a normal reaction in situations of uncertainty, but sometimes fear is expressed in ways which are hurtful to other people.
Be kind. Stay positive and be kind to yourself and those you meet, as no one else knows what struggles we are each going through.
A kind word may be the only dose of medicine most of us need.