“The lockdown Mantra: A happy mind= a happy soul”

by: VEDIKA BANSAL

These can be difficult times for all of us as we hear about the proclamation of lockdown and spread of COVID-19 from all over the world. This lockdown period has not only affected the Indian economy but has also attributed to the deteriorating mental well-being of its citizens. A survey titled ‘Rebooting 2020: A Story of COVID-19, and Shifting Perceptions’ conducted by ‘The Mavericks India’, found out that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the mental health of about 27% of Gen-Z and 19% of the millennial population. As per another survey, the looming financial crisis and uncertainty that rose during the lockdown, caused about 61% of the Indians to face mental health issues. Besides implementing appropriate measures for the containment of the virus, the maintenance of good mental health is of tantamount importance.

The infamous outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has become a hot topic of discussion across the globe, marked the beginning of the year. The news channels are a boon for the public as they inform about the external events from around the world. Sometimes the news channels could function to infuse a toxic dose of anxiety in its viewers by disclosing copious amounts of data in an amplified manner. Thus, the first mantra for a healthy state of mind is refraining ourselves from excessive and unnecessary corona virus coverage. Spending about 30–60 minutes either reading or viewing the latest updates on the pandemic would suffice for the day.

While we are confined within the four walls of our houses, anxiety and distress heighten because of worrying over unique aspects of life such as problems at the job/workplace or income. Before the lockdown, indulgence in leisure activities such as frequented visits to restaurants, movie halls, malls, meeting relatives, or traveling helped in replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. During the lockdown, there are many ways to combat the negative thoughts. In a country like India which is revered for its elaborate family arrangement and strong core values, hence family is a vital resource for a proficient mental well-being. The medium of video conference is an effective way of ‘distant-socializing’ whereby individuals can connect with relatives in distinct parts of the country/world. The sharing of grievances and realizing of the presence of a powerful support system amidst adverse times leads to alleviation of negativity, stress, and anxiety. The popular saying ‘an idle mind is a devil’s workshop’ is true amidst this lockdown. Thus, it is of paramount importance to spend time in the most productive way possible. The first step to achieving this is via restructuring our thought, “I am caged at home” to “I will utilize this time for self-reflection and personal growth.” Adopting and religiously following a well-defined routine daily would motivate us to look forward to the ensuing days of the week. Exercise is proven to reduce stress, feelings of isolation, and aids to relieve anxiety and depression. David Linden, who is a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins University, explains: “Exercise has a dramatic anti-depressive effect. It minimizes the brain’s reception to physical and emotional stress”. Giving time to your body will keep you in the right frame of mind and will improve your overall health. Besides this, incorporation of exercise in the daily routine is vital since the activity increases endorphins and also leads to the release of chemicals such as dopamine, adrenaline, myosin, and serotonin which help in enhancing the mood. Another effective stress buster is Meditation. Survey conducted by Psychology Today says, Meditation is proven to lower stress in 85 percent of participants. This pandemic has provided opportunities for individual irrespective of their ages to master skills ranging from ethical coding to coffee brewing. Websites such as Duolingo, edX, Coursera, and Skillshare are platforms where people around the world could gain expertise in a variety of fields. This is a wonderful method of skill-building and a productive way of spending time in this nerve-wracking time. According to recent studies, the diet, and nutrition play a vital role in the proper functioning of biochemical processes. Incorporating the mineral magnesium is important since it is itself is responsible for over 800 functions in the body. It has a calming effect on the nervous system. It also helps in the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep cycles. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking at least 1.5 L of water every day to flush out unwanted toxins from the body.

Thus, the incorporation of a balanced and healthy diet, staying hydrated, getting at least 7–8 hours of sleep, meditation, physical fitness, and staying productive collectively contributes to a happy mind which leads to a happy soul.

We are uncertain when this lockdown would end, but following a good routine amidst this lockdown would surely put an end to the mental illnesses that the fearful pandemic has been plaguing people around the world.

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