No matter how much we speak of accepting change, it is challenging to manage things when they go completely out of control – be it during natural disasters, the economic slowdown, or the coronavirus pandemic. Australia is gearing up for a second wave of the virus. We are all feeling stretched and overwhelmed with facing the change and managing the new normal it brings. How do we stay rooted when such whirlpool changes keep coming in waves?
- Physical health. Yes, we know we need to wear masks, wash our hands, and not touch our face. But there is more to health now. Nothing that we don’t know. This has to do with our vitality – how do we keep this high?
What goes into our body, shows. Note your coping behaviors – a higher intake of sugar or alcohol, staying seated all day, etc. How is this impacting your health? Maybe you are extra tired, foggy, or have skin issues. We know the golden trio of balanced diet, exercise, and sleep add up to good health. But what they mean for each person is different. Think about how much sleep you need, what food makes you feel good and is healthy, and what’s the minimal movement/ exercise you need. Commit to it. Instead of totally cutting out unproductive behaviors, balance them with the more positive ones. For instance, walk thrice a week if you find it difficult to stick to a rigorous exercise schedule. Consume fruits for snacks five times in a week, etc.
- Mental health. Prof. Patrick McGorry (mental health advocate and former Australian of the Year) cautions about the mental health consequences of the lockdown, likening it to a ‘second wave of the epidemic’. A survey commissioned by YouGov supports this, showing that one in four relationships is under strain due to increased anxiety, with women reporting more stress (63%) than men (51%).
So, what can you do? Keep a tab on what your needs and feelings are, and what would help manage them. Which means, knowing when you need space, a break, a walk, food, or even knowing whom exactly to reach out to when you need connection/ conversation. These might seem basic, but are pivotal to our well-being. Of course, it demands heightened awareness of our internal world, but given the change outside, we need to become our own anchors.
- Informational health. Given the extent to which we are tuned into our devices and the digital world, moderation is the need more than ever. We feel anxious or bothered by the unknown, so we soak in the news, stay tuned into how our friends are spending their time, show up for all the digital hangouts, scroll extra 30 mins on social media, and what not. Like with everything else, you know how each of these things affect you.
Is the endless consumption of news and social media updates making you feel secure? Or do you feel the need to do something more mindful? Do you really feel connected on the internet hangouts, or could you do with off-screen time? Choose for yourself and draw better boundaries for consuming information. Else you could be looking at anxiety, depression, isolation, lethargy, and insomnia.
You’ll notice that all of these recommendations are fundamental 101 practices. Nothing grand or out of the blue. And that is what we are going back to now – the basics, and the simple measures that work.