This pandemic brought a sudden shift to the way we do things. It is termed as “new normal” on which our daily activities shifted from a face-to-face interaction to social distancing and the growth of online interaction. It’s been a year and many countries are experiencing new waves of the pandemic and been put to lockdown again.
So as a student or an adult, how would you be able to manage this stress and keep your mental health in good condition? Here are some tips!
1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF
According to Julia Bailey, Communication Coordinator for Lasting Change, you should try to avoid self-criticism. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defined “self-criticism” as an act of or capacity for criticizing one’s own faults or shortcomings. It is okay to have shortcomings, it is okay to fail. Set time for things that make you feel good about yourself – whether it’s a new or old hobby, spend time doing what you love. (Bailey)
2. DISCOVER YOUR STRENGTHS
Gallup stated that the key to success is to fully understand how to apply your greatest talents and strengths in your everyday life. When you discover your greatest talents, you’ll discover your greatest opportunities for excellence, success and contribution.
Imagine doing things according to what you naturally do best or you really like, no matter how hard it is, you would be able to enjoy them.
When you discover and unleash the power of your strengths, you will be able to unlock new strategies of doing things that can increase your efficiency and productivity.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH
Exercise and maintain a healthy diet. According to studies, at least 30 minutes of exercise a day can make a difference and can help you to relieve stress.
4. FIND AND BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM
You are not the only one who are experiencing these challenges, and you are not alone as well. Find and build a support system – a group of people that can listen to you. Take time to talk to them and be vulnerable. It can be your family, your close friends, someone in church, a mentor or a coach. Build trust.
If necessary, reach out to a mental health professional for proper care and support. Let’s break the stigma around mental health. It is okay to consult and seek help.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. – Ecclesiastes 4:9 (ESV)
5. THINK POSITIVE AND BE GRATEFUL
Despite the challenges you are facing, there are a number of things to be grateful. Don’t focus your mind to negative things, rather focus on the positives. I attended a webinar on neuroscience and Andre Vermuelen shared about the short term biochemical changes. With negative emotions / pessimism / negative thinking, it leads to suppressed immune function. On the other hand, with positive emotions / optimism / constructive thinking, it leads to enhanced immune function.
But do you know what is better than thinking positive? It is to set our minds on things that are above!
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2
6. SET YOUR GOALS AND REWARD YOURSELF FOR YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
Write your goals. According to research, people who write their goals are anywhere from 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to accomplish their goals than people who don’t! (Mark Murphy)
Also explore on how your strengths can help you to achieve these goals. People who focus on using their strengths, according to the research conducted by Gallup, are 3 times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life!
And oh, don’t forget to celebrate even the small wins!
7. TAKE TIME FOR SELF-CARE
Julia Bailey suggested that no matter how packed your days get, schedule time to do something that will relax and replenish you. It is okay to take a break. Listen to yourself. Your mental health is very important.
8. PRAY AND SEEK GOD
It is very challenging to overcome difficulties on our own as we are limited. Trusting God (or to a Higher Power) enable us to build our confidence. Through Him, we can renew our strengths, experience perfect peace and encounter grace.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. – Isaiah 26:3
No one is exempted in these challenges. Even I experienced it to the point that I just cried without any reason, I just felt sad, lonely and I couldn’t take it. But these tips helped me to get out of that situation faster. I am becoming more aware of myself and also how others feel that improved the way I handle myself and my relationships with others.
I believe that we will be able to overcome it! Aja!
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Bailey, J. Mental Health Tips for Adult Online Students. Retrieved from https://www.indwes.edu/adult-graduate/ng-blog/stories/mental-health.
Feist, J. (13 Aug 2020). Nine ways to fight those pandemic blues. Retrieved from https://www.uthscsa.edu/patient-care/physicians/news-item/nine-ways-fight-those-pandemic-blues.
Murphy, M. (15 Apr 2018). Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If You Actually Want To Achieve Them. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2018/04/15/neuroscience-explains-why-you-need-to-write-down-your-goals-if-you-actually-want-to-achieve-them.
Gallup, Inc. CliftonStrengths. Retrieved from https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/home.aspx.