The news of the severe 10-day lockdown starting Thursday in Lebanon is tough to process, alongside everything the citizens of the country are already living. The mere idea of not being able to leave the house (unless it’s to the pharmacy) and not interacting with friends and family, can have a huge impact on our mental health. Add to that the daily updates on active COVID-19 cases and death tolls, a full force financial crisis and a relatively negative sentiment everywhere you look. However, it’s a vital step to safeguard our communities and lessen the burden on the already packed hospitals and healthcare workers, with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon.
Let us agree that it is not easy entering a total lockdown, but also that it is an integral step that we need to be responsible for to stay safe. The silver lining is that we will all be in it together, combatting the spread of the virus.
In such times, mental health is very important, as all these factors can have an impact on you, your happiness, productivity levels and of course, your immune system. Here are ways to keep your mental health in check, and approach the coming 10 days with a calmer mind.
Firstly, what makes us happy?
In this TED talk, Harvard launched the longest study in history to identify what keeps us happy and healthy. It isn’t money nor fame, but the simpler things in life that we often take for granted. Check out the three important lessons that this research showed, and what you can start thinking about during the lockdown.
Now that you have watched it, what’s next?
The study shows that one of the most important contributors to our mental health and happiness is having close relationships, such as family, friends, social circles and spouses. Personal connection is vital to stimulate our minds and can boost our moods. With the lockdown, we may not be able to connect with others in person, but we do have options such as video conferencing apps that can make us feel connected. Schedule calls with your friends ahead of time (those in Lebanon and those locked down in other countries) and make it a habit to check in on one another.
In your idle time, how about you…
Have fun and engage in activities during the lockdown to stimulate the mind
When you are not working, it is important to fill up your time with meaningful activities. Binge watching Netflix shows might be an appealing option, but it will not have a positive impact on your mental health. Neither would spending all your time on social media.
If you do insist to get your daily dose of screen time, why not watch insightful TED talks. Here is a list of the 10 most watched TED talks in the world. Take notes, see how you can benefit from them and implement the lessons, stories and tools into your everyday life. You may also be inspired.
“I do read, just not books,” is a common phrase that we often hear from our circles. However, reading has its many benefits. Set a reading challenge to get through as many books as possible. Apps like Goodreads can help you keep track and find the perfect book for you. This cool startup also have a huge library of free books that can get you started: https://www.inkitt.com/
There are also thousands of online tutorials from how to make your own face mask, to how to play the guitar. If you have a hobby you want to pick up, a skill you want to improve whether in music, writing, creative thinking or even to learn how to grow your own garden on your balcony, get on YouTube and start your search.
You can even tap into your creative streak and start painting, drawing, sketching, photography and craft making. Then try your luck in the kitchen as well, and find easy recipes online and test them out on your family. Just don’t make the walk to the fridge your workout routine.
The options of going to the gym or for a long walk are now long gone (it’s just for 10 days). But that is no excuse not to get moving, even if it is at home. There are free Apps that you can customize your workouts on, as well as thousands of videos online, that can keep you fit during the lockdown. Exercising has a positive impact on your mental health and can keep you in shape.
Each one of us should be committed to come out of this lockdown, better and stronger. Let us challenge ourselves and stay safe, to save lives. Every single one of our actions counts to protecting our community and loved ones.
To those currently battling COVID-19 or have a loved one who has been infected, we wish you strength and a very speedy recovery. We hope that if we stay safe and take measures to protect our loved ones, this will be a temporary phase that will soon pass.
#StayHome #StaySafe #StayStrong