Mental Health Tips for the Lockdown Season

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Dr Olufemi Oluwatayo

Dr Olufemi Oluwatayo

Keeping in shape mentally during this social isolation period is a challenge but it is also an opportunity to develop ourselves and get many things done.

It may allow us to know ourselves better and do a self-reflection. It provides precious opportunity for bonding within the family.

The aim of these activities are to keep the mind active and stimulated. At the same time they will help us to be calm and be at peace within ourselves and with the world around us.

Have a plan and a structure to each day that is as close as possible to what we used to do before minus things that we used to do away from home. It is important because our body functions better with structures.

So, do specific things at each time of the day, including the time for prayer, meals, going for walk, bedtime, among others. There is no right or wrong time for each of these activities, the key is to try and do them the same time each day.

Do fun stuff with family such as playing games, e.g Monopoly, Scrabble, Ludo etc; a game that someone has to win. The competitiveness is good because it brings drive and energy and stimulates the mind. Human beings are competitive by nature so everyone likes to win and get that wining feeling and putting the effort stimulate the mind.

Read for at least two hours each day. Read wide on different areas of interest. Start a new book or finish the one you’ve started years ago. Read them in a relaxed way, no need to take notes or study them. The purpose is to relax the mind.

Start a project and do something new, e.g paint a room, do a kitchen, garden, write a proposal for a project, start writing a book etc. One of the fundamental keys for mental well-being is to have a purpose to life.

If you start a new project that you wake up and look forward to doing everyday it gives you energy. When it is completed you get even a bigger energy boost.

Do low grade exercises, e.g going for walk or jogging for 30mins to one hour each day.

Talk to friends and family that you are not living with via phone or other technologies.

Watch movies with others and talk about it.

Have some quiet time alone to reflect and just ‘chill’.

Avoid flooding the mind with negative news that can lead to negative thoughts e.g reports of so many people dying from the virus. So it is probably better to avoid watching news daily but can catch up on what’s happening maybe every three to four days.

Upon all, let’s stay safe and follow government directives.

…Oluwatayo is a consultant psychiatrist and Medical Director, Lake Hospital, Wyboston Bedfordshire, United Kingdom.