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If you’re feeling lethargic to read this and thinking to skip, this may be for you. You may be already experiencing mental fatigue from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and current lockdown.
Covid-19 is a test of mental endurance besides the test of many other aspects. It is having heavy toll on the mental condition of the people. No one is spared. If you have elderlies, pregnant mothers, people with disabilities, patients of chronic ailments, or people with previous history of mental disorder, care-givers and frontline-workers in your homes, they deserve your special attention during this crucial time.
Over this period of lockdown If you are frequently worried or have fearful anticipation, trembling or feelings of restlessness, difficulty in breathing or rapid respiration, palpitations, heart pounding, chest pain or discomfort, feelings of being choked, finding difficult to concentrate, feelings of weakness, sighing, nausea, sweating, chills or heat sensation; waking up feeling tired or have bodily ache; being irritated by almost anything, feels like bursting out or breaking down, almost every speech is accompanied by anger tone, frequently have negative thoughts or lashing out negative venoms on almost everything; feeling of void deep within you, thoughts of meaninglessness of life; fear of losing control, persistent fear of virus infection or compelling fear of people being virus carrier, or fear of death; your child is already expressing the wish to meet their friends or go back to school, and many more. If you are going through some or many of these lately, chances are you may be silently suffering from stress and anxiety or other forms of mental health condition.
All is well. Do not panic. Be generous on feeding yourselves with healthy thoughts. To everything that happens around us there are two sides to look at it – Positive and Negative. Choose, think, speak and do the healthy ones. Avoid use of tobacco, alcohol or other mood-altering drugs in order to beat your stress; watch out if you are obsessively and compulsively engaging yourself on a particular recreational activity; avoid being absorbed into listening dull and melancholic songs to find mental solace. Engaging on these kinds of activities will make you more depressive after your short term feel-good factor. If you are a social media lover press the positive keys always, because it will do you good and in turn boost another person’s morale. Be creative and change your recreational activities time to time. Power-off completely for a certain period in a day your smart phones or other gadgets which have become part of your habit. Eat, drink, and sleep well are fundamental requirements. Be courageous to seek professional help. Don’t forget to add spiritual activities in your mental diet.
Take care of your mental, physical and spiritual health as one entity. One without the other is a half-cooked recipe to wholesome healing. I want to quickly take us to a biblical narrative of a man by the name Elijah in 1 Kings Chapter 19. The story begins when this man was placed in a drought situation; then led through an extraordinary miracle. One thing led to another; finally fear over-powered him. He ran from Jezebel to save his life but his spirit went too low to the point of self-pity that he wished to die. He couldn’t take it anymore and went into deep sleep. In today’s terminology we call it stress, anxiety and depression. Yes, Elijah suffered from it. What fascinates me is the second part of the narration. God took care of his physical and spiritual health. He fed Elijah bread and water through an angel. Later, God re-assured Elijah by appearing to him and renewing his spirit through a gentle
whisper. The Elijah effect is the perfect example of taking care of the mind, body and soul as a single entity in the fight for mental-emotional health.
The war on Covid-19 is not over with the finding of vaccine. It is half-way through. But having a healthy mind will take you a long way. Death due to the virus infection is one of our main concerns. We may breathe and move but can die a thousand deaths. Many people are already stigmatized. Many may suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or other mental disorder even long after the virus is neutralized. Therefore, at the end, your mental health status will define whether you are being defeated or being victorious over Covid-19. To stay safe is one thing. To stay healthy is another. May God’s peace be upon you. Shalom.
Rev. Dr. Vetso Koza
* Disclaimer. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and participants on this page do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Nagaland Page.