Psychiatrist Daniel Siegel explains how the brain is like a folded hand. A fist.
The thumb against the palm represents the limbic regions, brain zones dealing with emotions, stress. The folded fingers are the cerebral cortex, which help with rational thought and regulating moods. The fingernails are the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain used for decision making, ethics, and morality. All these zones work together as a team. Faced with panic, the fingers spring up, we lose rationality, ethics, and are left with our emotions. The trick is to find a way to bring those fingers down. Keep everything connected.
And it has never been so challenging. The rapid social changes in the current situation and stressful work conditions have made us more vulnerable to mental health problems. And while we wait for the Coronavirus pandemic to blow over, here’s how to keep your mind smiling with the small joys of life.
A STRESS FREE HOME
You can very well start with the efforts from your sweet home. How long has it been since you might have hugged your parent or a sibling? Or for that matter even your spouse, even though you were locked down in the same house for months together? Or were you maintaining social distancing even at home? Or was it the other way round and looked more like a Bigg Boss house?
Let’s be a little more understanding. Allow a day for your kid to be a little messy at home. It will work well for both of you!
CARE FOR COWORKERS
We maybe getting used to the new working habits. But helping a sick co-worker in meeting the deadlines can do wonders. Or even a small chat, of course not related to work, while waiting for the client meetings online can reduce the pressure.
SEND VIRTUAL HUG
Making a small effort to celebrate your buddy’s virtual birthday party can be a stress buster for the whole gang. Or simply just get on a call with an old friend without any occasion. Getting nostalgic of the good old days can be healing!
THE BEST INVESTMENT
Let’s increase our investments in mental health instead of only the financial ones, which was also the theme for this year’s Mental Health Day. Help your old maid with her finances even if she is unable to get back to work now. Even a small gesture can be a great investment!
Let’s just be not too harsh to the telecallers. It’s their job, right? And everyone deserves a secure job in this ‘New Normal.’
Please don’t forget the non-persons. Set up a bird feeder. It can be as simple as a small old carton.
KEEP INDOORS FRESH
Slide away the curtains, open up those windows and let your home breathe. For those who have green fingers, there is not better time than now, to pot new saplings and to take care of your garden.
This is a much-used technique that just helps us make sense of what’s real and what’s not in a world where the media is bringing us new information every minute of every day and where things are changing around us quite quickly. Keep a book and write some of those reflections down. Write down what you’re grateful for right now.
It goes without saying that doing something to remove the clutter is proven to help with clearer thinking, as is shutting down laptops at the end of the working day and to switch off – especially important if you are working on a kitchen table or don’t have a separate space for working at home.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Yes, the most important thing! Be empathetic to yourself too. Managing WFH with the house chores and kids at home can be distressing. Don’t over-expect from yourself. Sometimes few situations can be made to be just OKAY!
Let’s be more empathetic!