The pandemic has pushed us into an abyss of uncertainty, fear and gloom. It can be tough to navigate through the new reality, but there is a way to go about it. As a psychology student, I am happy to remind you of a few simple yet game-changing tips for mental well-being.
I believe that sustaining mental hygiene is as important as washing our hands. Taking that extra time to understand why you are feeling a certain way can be relieving. Here’s a little diagram to help you out with this.
From a holistic point of view, human psyche appears to be in a never-ending interaction with the external world: we spot a stimulus, we interpret it according to our belief-paradigm system, we generate an emotion which later transforms into a reaction. The scheme is as simple as that. But the mental states we end up in aren’t, mostly due to the unconscious nature of such processes. This is how negative and obsessive thinking can turn into a habit that goes unnoticed, especially in uneasy times like now.
To break the cycle and help your little neurons during confinement:
1. Cover your basic needs.
As living creatures, we need proper and regular nutrition, enough sleep and hydration, moderate physical activity and social interaction. Although getting together with others is not an option at the moment, it is possible to stay connected to people via social media, phone and video calls, art and hobbies. These are the building bricks of our emotional stability and functionality. Make sure your basics are covered.
You can maintain physical activity at home with YouTube videos and fitness apps. Check https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene for yoga inspiration and guidance of all difficulty levels.
2. Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is an innate human ability to witness the present. When one is mindful, one is observing and accepting rather than avoiding and judging. In the state of mindfulness we are granted the opportunity to choose our reactions and train resilience. Mindfulness can be practiced through:
- Meditation. I personally find https://www.headspace.com/ best for beginners: one session can be as short as 5 minutes, but once it’s regular – a calmer mind is guaranteed. The goal of meditation is not to control your thoughts, it is to stop letting your thoughts control you.
- Walking, reading, eating, breathing – any activity you do automatically every day can be turned into a mindfulness practice. Next time you are having a coffee, pay attention to the shape and the temperature of the cup you are holding, smell the aroma, savor every sip of your drink. It’s an easy way to enjoy the little things and stay mindful.
A short and cute animation about the essence of mindfulness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzKryaN44ss
3. Seek out for support.
Talking to someone you trust can result in a number of positive outcomes such as:
- Attaining a new perspective on things
- Receiving encouragement and support
- Feeling heard and understood
- Gaining new information
This can be a trained therapist, a family member, a friend or a school counselor. For the last one visit http://counselling.pte.hu/, where you can book an online appointment at any time. The service is absolutely confidential and free for the UP students.
All in all, I want to encourage everybody out there to take care of your minds as much as we do of our health now. The coronavirus is a major blow to our spirits, but we are never alone.
For mental health awareness and more tips, I recommend the following Instagram accounts:
@stayawayfromtoxic in Russian
Written by Diana Seitkanova
International Student Ambassador from Kazakhstan
University of Pécs, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences