Well, our brain is the command and control centre of the body and until and unless we are mentally fit and calm, we cannot really be physically healthy! With the lockdown keeping us at home, many people are experiencing anxiety and stress and that is not good for your overall health or even your teeth and mouth and hence, today’s blog on dental and mental wellbeing during the lockdown.
As we are all aware that the main weapon to fight the virus is social distancing—a deeply unnatural practice for humans, but an essential one, more and more people are becoming restless and upset.
Here are some of the mental health practices to make sure to keep doing—or begin doing, for some of us—during the lock down period.
- Do try to stick to a routine (as much as you can) the whole day
To relax and feel calm, it is essential for the brain to have a routine. It gives a sense of control and calmness especially to kids, and also elders, and makes the brain think that the circumstances are normal as before. And when schools are closed and many people are working from home or told to stay at home, it might feel like all bets are off. But it’s actually much better for everyone’s mental health to try to keep a routine going, as much as possible.
Not only in work, but also in eating and sleeping – follow a routine and encourage your kids to do so too! Make sure you are still eating meals at regular times, sleeping, waking and exercising at set times, and maintaining social (socially distant) contact. Unstructured time can create boredom, spikes in anxiety or depression, which can lead to unhealthy mental thinking patterns.
Avoid too much TV or Mobile viewing.
- Start an at-home exercise routine with your friends and family
Working out at home in these times is obviously a good way to stay healthy and kill indoor time. There are lots of options, from Zumba to the old-fashioned Yoga. Many online workout sources are offering free access or longer free trial periods during this time, which might be worth looking into. But again, anything that gets your heart pumping or builds muscle is excellent for both physical and mental health.
Remember, a lack of physical activity can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and stress and so trying at home workouts is a great way to stay healthy both physically and mentally
Working on your home if you have time can be a good way to feel productive and in control. Take the opportunity of the extra time by de-cluttering, cleaning or organizing your home. Studies say the predictability of cleaning not only offers a sense of control in the face of uncertainty, but also offers your mind body and soul a respite from traumatic stress and over thinking. But, beware do not become obsessed about cleaning, since there’s only so much you can do. But using the extra time, if you have it, to reorganize and toss or donate items you no longer use.
- Meditate, or just breathe and avoid too much NEWS
Meditation has lots of research behind it, as most people by now know—it’s been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and even increase the volume of certain areas of the brain. Mindfulness-based meditation has been shown, through numerous studies, to be effective—and while it generally involves an eight-week course, a number of organizations offer this free online.
But if meditation isn’t for you, just breathing slowly might be. Controlled breathing has been used for millennia to calm the mind—and researchers also point out that slow breathing is used “clinically to suppress excessive arousal and stress such as certain types of panic attacks,” which makes it a great tool to combat loneliness and panic during lock down. Avoid listening to daily and hourly updates on Corona and try to be calm.
- Be of service, from a distance
Being of service to others, makes us humans feel really good about ourselves and hence, it is important to help others by calling them, comforting them, maybe even leaving food or small cards at the doorstep of your neighbors. Generally, sending good happy vibes to all in this time of crisis will make you be a better person and not feel lonely or depressed during lock down.
- Be grateful for everything you have
This is definitely a time to thank the powers above for health, clean air, a roof over our head, our family, our friends, our jobs etc. Although during these times of a pandemic, it is difficult to be happy and grateful yet practicing gratitude for the things we do have has been shown again and again to be hugely beneficial to mental health. For instance, in one of the first key studies on the subject, the researchers found that writing down five things one was grateful just once a week was significantly linked to increased well-being.
This is not the easiest thing to do in these times, but one of the best mental wellbeing tricks!
So even though it might be a challenge right now, write down some of the things you’re grateful for; or if you have little kids and it’s easier, try talking about and listing aloud things that make you happy and that you’re thankful for.
- Be easy on yourself and do not over think
This might be the most important thing to keep in mind—don’t beat yourself up when things are not going perfectly in your household. On top of everything else, being upset with your self is totally counterproductive. If the kids watch too much Netflix or play too many hours of video games, it’s ok, as they too are dealing with a lock down situation. Things are going to be a bit disorganized as everyone has their own coping mechanisms. So just relax and do not over think these things.
This too shall pass, eventually and we will all come out of it wiser and calmer! It is a time to brush our teeth, sparkle and smile a lot and make sure both our dental and mental well being is takes priority over everything else.