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Mental Health wellness during COVID-19 lockdown

By Olivia Mugabe

Hello Friends and Well-wishers,

It’s been a while! I know times are hard everywhere but with all efforts combined, we shall win this fight.
As we all anticipate, lockdown might end soon here in Uganda, but what is that one thing that you have done or rediscovered with in you? Mine has been WRITING. As a student, I used to do lots of writing on different topics.
Please spare a few minutes and read my small article on one of the most important aspects of life during this period;

We are in the midst of one of most difficult periods in Ugandan history. A lot of people’s lives have been turned upside down by the psychological and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

To add salt to the injury, we are told by government to stay confined to our homes for another 21 days in a bid to stop further infections! The lockdown is a necessary evil and I thank the President, his cabinet and all medical professionals on the frontline for all they are doing to curb this very deadly infection.

But given the current situation, how well have we prepared to keep surviving emotionally? With all the stress factors around us, how ready are we to cope and keep our sanity?
Talk of depression due to lack of some basic needs, anxiety from the family breadwinner, emotional blackmail by abusive partners, getting overwhelmed by children asking this and that, worry and fear from the constantly changing media alerts regarding the spread of the virus and so on and so forth!

If we don’t find viable solutions to the above, I’m worried we may be in for an ugly mental affair during and after the lockdown.

Sitting with my little notebook and pen, this is what I think we can practice to keep mentally sane now and after this not so appeasing period;
I know we all didn’t see this coming! But why not change our perspective towards the situation. Let’s look at it as a unique and different time, not necessarily bad. Our minds consume what we feed them on, so let’s be try and be positive.

– Routine! Create a daily route of those things that you love and enjoy to do. For even those activities you’ve always wanted but failed because of lack of time. Work on things you love and you’ll be amazed at how days run by.

– Exposure to media. Choose what news to listen to, watch or browse. Not all that’s put out in the media is good for our mental health. See, it’s said that sender of and form of information is not responsible for how the receiver perceives it. Take care of your peace of mind!

– Remember you’re not in this alone. Stay connected to those people that cheer you up. We are at a point where we all need each other. Laugh, tell jokes, reminisce over the good times, make fun of the existing; it’s never that serious after all.

– Give, give and give to others! Do this generously. Sit and ask yourself if there’s any way you can be of help to someone in need during this crisis. I grew up knowing that giving not only benefits the receiver but most importantly it nourishes the soul of the giver.
God loves a cheerful giver.

-Parents where are you? Do you now have more love and respect for your children’s teachers and school care givers or not? This here is my most interesting segment. I’m almost running head over heels because of these little humans. But now is when they need you the most. Their mental wellbeing depends on you! Give them extra attention, try as much to answer most of their questions, give them an assurance that life will go back to normal, engage them in your home’s daily plans etc. Most importantly, allow them to express their feelings about each and everything.

-Above it all, pray, pray, and pray! Churches, mosques and temples were all locked at the start of the crisis. Engage in one on one session with your God. Cry out to Him. You have all the time in the world. Recite your mantras. I believe this is the best therapy for your mental wellbeing.

“Don’t forget to stay safe, together we shall defeat COVID-19.”

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