Straight away, I scoffed when I read that! What mental health are you talking about, I fumed to myself… is anyone in the world sane anymore?
But then I paused and took a deep breath. Every one of us in the world right now is united like never before by a common threat that is not coming from another human being. Every one of us is going through a set of challenges, unique to our individual circumstances. Next to access to essential commodities, health care and personal protective equipment, mental health awareness is probably the need of the hour.
And yet, most of us never even think about it. Or even acknowledge what a major mental shake up we are all experiencing with the stress, uncertainty, fear and gloom brought about by the pandemic.
For the first time in a long time, most of us will identify with the below things I personally feel have changed forever.
I’m neither a self help guru or a certified mental health practitioner. At best I can call the rest of this read the ramblings of one human being among the billions on this planet trying to gather her thoughts that have shattered, scattered and pieced together all in the span of these last few months.
So here are some of the top reasons why I began to realize why Mental Health Awareness is so crucial now:
1. We’re worried about the future and what it holds. That results in reactions ranging from spontaneous weeping to worry lines to crises of faith.
2. We’re curious if certain businesses will survive post this pandemic
3. After months of lock down, working from home and isolating ourselves from the outside world, all of us are going through varied levels of withdrawal symptoms at the thought of interacting and seeing other human beings on a regular basis around us.
4. We’re grateful for the blessings we have in comparison to others who are wondering when their next meal is coming from. Guilt replaces gratitude as soon as we realize we are feeling positive because someone else is worse off.
5. Those of us with children have a whole additional set of challenges from ensuring nourishment to education to entertainment to shielding their spirits from the worst of what is happening.
But nature is all about balance. And to ensure we don’t quite literally lose our minds, here are the top things I feel are generating the positive energy and strength that we all need so desperately right now to enjoy some semblance of mental health:
1. Most of us have had more virtual face time with family and friends than we ever had physically
2. We’re all desperate to make the most of this lockdown and learn new skills.
3. We are all filled with compassion and respect for our healthcare professionals who are literally putting themselves in the way of harm in order to save us.
4. We are conscious of waste more than ever.
5. We are more mindful of the fact that each one of us could be going through anything from the loss of a job to the loss of a loved one. As a result, we make allowances in our interactions for moody replies or snappy comebacks. We don’t immediately assume the worst.
No one knows how this ends.
This pandemic and all the mental pressure it comes with is bringing out the best in most of us, or the worst in some of us.
But it seems to be that as long as we surround ourselves with hope, positive energy and a sense of mindfulness about how we want to conduct ourselves on this planet for the time we spend on it, while at the same time allow ourselves to lose it from time to time when we just need to vent the negativity – we can all find our way to better versions of ourselves.
This too, just might pass.