The past months have flown by and while we’ve grown accustomed to staying indoors and practicing safety measures when going out, it’s a given to still feel anxious about what the future holds. According to Dr. Gina Lamzon, a licensed psychometrician and guidance counselor, the pandemic has brought about a big change for all of us. “In any change, there are sides – positive and negative – depending on where we’re coming from and what angle we’re looking at,” she explains.
To survive new routines and thrive in current setups, Dr. Lamzon suggests changing our perspectives and focusing on the good side. Admittedly, this can be challenging as we’re going through trying times, but what we can do is work on small adjustments. These tweaks, though minor, can help us in the long run – especially when adapting to the better normal. Overcome stress and anxiety with these helpful reminders:
- Find something to be grateful for.
“We tend to look at the big picture generally that there are details we miss out on because we don’t pay attention,” says Dr. Lamzon. Be thankful for another day and start it with a happy note. You can start it with a quick prayer and a mantra that you can recite like “I am here, I am alive, and I will be okay.”
Celebrate small victories like finishing tasks early, submitting a long overdue report, and finding time to exercise – these may seem small but it can give you a much-needed boost to power through the day.
- Change your perspective.
Ask yourself – would you rather dwell on what’s going wrong or would it be better to focus on what’s going right? “There are two sides to every coin. If we’ll look at things from a negative perspective, everything will be negative,” Dr. Lamzon explains. To turn things around and to gain a fresher perspective on what’s happening around us, we need to highlight the lessons we’re learning, focusing on what we have, and working on possible solutions that can help us rise above the many changes we’re facing.
“The pandemic can be a catalyst for change. We can outgrow the old days, view the positive side, and inspire others while instilling hope in them,” the psychometrician adds.
- Listen to your body.
Are you feeling under the weather? If you’re feeling sick or if you feel like you could use some rest, then do it without worrying about pending deliverables. Now more than ever, we need to listen to our bodies and make sure we are in good health condition. Dr. Lamzon says that dismissing what the body is telling us and taking medications without a prescription is like telling it that we’re too busy to give it proper attention. As much as possible, avoid taking medicines without advice from a doctor as it can do more harm than good.
- Practice mindful breathing.
Mindful breathing, or focusing on the inhale and exhale, can do wonders whenever you’re stressed or anxious. It only takes 15 minutes and you can include it in your routine. Find a spot in your home where you can relax and spend quiet time. Whether you’re sitting comfortably or lying down, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Mindful breathing can be done in a few steps and while listening to soothing music.
- Establish boundaries.
One of the challenges of the work-from-home setup is balancing household chores with work checklists. It’s equally difficult to know when to call it a day and when to stop responding to emails. Dr. Lamzon explains that it’s important to set boundaries so we can stay mentally healthy. Having a dedicated workspace also helps since you can condition your mind that when you’re in that part of the home, it means that your focus is solely on work.
To prevent work-from-home burnout, it’s also critical that we take breaks in between and work like we’re in the office so we know when to turn off our computers. Keep in mind that just because we’re at home doesn’t mean we’re on call 24/7. Get things done but be kind to yourself. You need to rest, too.
- Choose a healthier lifestyle.
Given that we don’t report to the office, it’s easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle. You can avoid this by devoting an hour or less to exercising and even dancing as a form of exercise. “Move! Do something new, and choose nutritious foods. What we eat influences what we feel. Be mindful by staying away from sugary treats,” suggests Dr. Lamzon.
Keep your mind and body healthy by preparing meals rich in Vitamins A, C, and D for starters as these are known to improve the immune system. Go for fruits and vegetables, while picking healthier snacks in between heavy meals.
- Adopt a growth mindset.
It can be challenging, but we need to have proper mental preparation to be able to thrive in the new normal. “Be open to experience and embrace challenges. We should be open to growth and expansion,” says Dr. Lamzon. Adopting a growth mindset brings us back to how we need to change our perspective. Instead of looking at challenges as a burden, we can consider these as pathways to learning something new.
Obstacles also help toughen our resolve and teach us how to look for solutions in the midst of roadblocks.
- Keep your emotions in check.
According to Dr. Lamzon, “emotions are energy in motion.” It can harm the body and one’s overall health. “Anger fires up the heart and liver, shock attacks the kidney, stress weakens the heart and brain, anxiety affects digestion, and sadness weakens the lungs. We need to practice self-regulation and self-mastery,” she explains. Our emotions can get the best of us, leaving us feeling defeated. Taking it one day at a time, we need to control these so we can manage it better. “Taking care of our health – spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally – is vital,” Dr. Lamzon adds.
- Stay connected.
Technology has helped bridge the distance between friends and families during quarantine. Whether it’s a phone call, an email, a video call, or even just a short message – staying connected with loved ones is a great deal these days. “Aside from connecting with yourself, you need to connect with uplifting people,” Dr. Lamzon shares. Your friends and loved ones can lift you up and help you get through the toughest of times. Getting together may not be possible for now, but you can always schedule a Zoom party!
- Make time for self-care.
Self-care has been a buzzword in recent years but it’s a step toward self-love and prioritizing our overall health. Dr. Lamzon suggests practicing self-care whenever you feel overwhelmed, but you can make it part of your weekly routine so you have something to look forward to. Whether it’s a visit to the salon, the spa, or treating yourself to a feast – don’t think twice and just go for it! Survive the challenging times by making sure you’re healthy and happy.
If you need professional help, here are organizations and numbers you can call:
National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline: (0917) 899-8727
Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc: (0917) 565-2036
UP Diliman Psychological Services: (0906) 374-3466BP
Prescription Psychiatrists at Centuria Medical Makati: (0977) 795-3097