Perhaps the most ironic “Happy Anniversary” I told myself happened recently. Exactly a year ago, the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was implemented in the Philippines, as part of the government’s efforts to manage the COVID 19 pandemic.
The past few months had all of us guessing: what’s happening? Are we actually winning? What’s next for all of us? Will we survive?
And as a coach, I remember spending almost the whole year, coaching people to help them deal with anxiety and stress as they take care of their mental health.
And no, it wasn’t an easy journey, even for me. So now when Manila, where I live was put once more back to a lockdown, it was a bitter sweet experience for me. Happy that I made it through last year. And admittedly, a little sad to find myself in the same lockdown exactly a year ago.
However, on a personal note, I refuse to dwell on that. I know for a fact that everything happening now is teaching not only me as a person, but the Philippines as a nation on how we can better solve the crisis on hand. So might as well just focus on what I can control in my space. And one way that helped me all throughout was that I ensured that my mental health was always at its peak.
So allow me to share with you these 5 ways to ensure that you stay mentally fit during the extended lockdown.
Be intentional with everything you consume
Choose only to indulge in what would benefit you at this point in time. You don’t have to check on all the news on your feeds or engage with people who have so much excess baggage. Instead, filter everything around you and mindfully choose to consume things that will bring you genuine hope, happiness and peace during these trying times.
Now is not the time to plan something that’s too grand. Live one day at a time. Revisit your daily routines and stick to what is essential. Focus on surviving first. Goal is to ensure you make it through. That will always be more than enough. Know that thriving comes after that. Don’t allow yourself to overthink because that causes stress and anxiety, oftentimes based on unfounded assumptions.
Follow health protocols.
Taking care of yourself and your health is your responsibility. So abide by the rules and regulations of the government. Wear your mask, avoid going out unless necessary, eat healthy, take your vitamins – doing all these can ensure that you don’t compromise your safety (and that of others too), which lessens your worries in the process.
Focus on what’s under your control
A major cause of stress and anxiety is when we try to control everything around us. On a personal note, how I wish I had that power to just eliminate the COVID19 virus, alleviate poverty, revive the economy and allow people to start all over again beautifully. But I realized, I don’t. So what I do is just choose to focus on what I can control: my reaction to everything, my healthy habits, my social media consumptions, the company I keep – all these in alignment with my goal to simply make it through the lockdown as I help empower others as well to do the same.
At the end of the day, be intentional in looking for something to be grateful for – you’re still alive, you’re with your loved ones, you still have work, you have a safe space at home, among others. Counting your blessings and listing them down allows you to have something to look at when times seem so rough and unpredictable as they provide a sense of comfort and security. If you have a hard time doing this by yourself, then choose to surround yourself with people who can genuinely support you and remind you how beautiful life is outside the pandemic and that you are not alone in your journey.
I hope these tips will enable you to stay mentally fit all throughout the extended lockdown.
Keep safe everyone.