Improving our mental health during Covid-19 is a new challenge many faces. As life takes an increasingly hectic pace, we are constantly bombarded with events indistinguishable from a TV drama. The increasing importance of mental health brings to mind whether the typical “eat well, sleep well, exercise more” approach is sufficient. While not undermining its relevance and effectiveness, here are more grounded and immediate ways you can improve your mental health, especially during Covid-19.
Mindfulness meditation is about being present with our thoughts without deeply engaging them. This video cleverly sums up what it entails through the clever analogy of experiencing hectic traffic. We can observe our thoughts and emotions more clearly by taking a conscious break. Contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t mean suppressing your concerns and opinions but rather acknowledging them. The great thing about mindfulness meditation regarding improving mental health is that we can do it anywhere and anytime. Thanks to the rising public interest in meditation, there are many easily accessible online resources, such as Headspace.
The benefit of writing and journaling, from coping with loss to improving mood and well-being, should never be underestimated. Different types of journaling can sharply enhance our mental health, from labelling our overwhelming emotions to grounding ourselves in just five minutes. Looking at our manifested thoughts on paper can help us organise our thought process and differentiate the real from our make-belief fears and anxiety. We can learn and better understand the causes of our emotional state and tackle the roots. Feel like trying this out? Try doing a daily check-in with your journal at the end of the day. Ask the straightforward question, “How was I today?”.
In case you’ve missed this great speech from retired U.S. Navy Admiral SEAL William H. McCraven, he mentioned how making your bed in the morning could give you a sense of pride and motivation to do more. Cleaning the room works by the same logic. We can get our bodies active with a sense of accomplishment by doing a simple chore. The cleaning process can be pretty meditative while we’re at it too. When we clear out unwanted items from our rooms, it reflects negative energy being removed from our minds. As much as we’d like to hope that our emotions are solely affected by internal factors, studies have shown how our environment directly influences our mental health. Hence, taking care of our external environment can significantly affect our inner feelings.
As cliché as it sounds, we are innately social creatures, and social connection extensively impacts our mental health. Talking to peers and family allows us to externalise our frustrations, making it easier for us to release negativity. It also facilitates introspection when using others as a soundboard, and frequently you may end up with a solution to your problems! Sometimes, deep down in our turmoil, we may need others to help bring us out of a rut.
One of the most effective ways to improve and maintain your mental health during Covid-19 is to seek the advice of a healthcare expert. Meaningful and targeted consultation with a professional can help you narrow down unhealthy habits and beliefs hindering your mental health. The best part is that you won’t have to leave your house for an appointment when you book a consultation with one of our registered counsellors!
Given this gloomy period, getting a case of the blues is perfectly normal, and it is alright to seek help. It takes courage for one to recognise and acknowledge when something could be better, and we commend you for taking your very first step towards the betterment of your mental health. We hope our list of ways to improve mental health serves you well!
Written by: Asier Loh Xi Hong