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Mental health, an increased priority during the pandemic


IO – Maintaining mental health is now a higher priority, during the COVID-19 pandemic. A strong mentality will keep individuals productive. Furthermore, a strong mentality will also help keep the body strong and
healthy. The WHO even went as far as declaring that physical health without mental health is impossible.

Why do people keep on associating physical ftness with mental fitness?
“To answer that, I need to make sure that you understand the defnition of
being ‘mentally healthy’: that’s when an individual is in a condition of being able to develop physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially; of being aware of their own personal capacity; of being able to handle pressure, work productively, and contribute to their community,” said mental health specialist dr. Alvinia “Vina” Hayulani, Sp.KJ, in a live IG chat themed “Make
Preserving Your Mental Health A Priority” held on Tuesday (26/10/2021).

Mentally healthy individuals have the following additional characteristics: First, they are happy with themselves to the extent that they are able to adapt, to face diffcult situations, to move over life’s disappointments, to
feel satisfaction with their daily lives, to have a normal level of self-confidence and pride, and to make a realistic judgment of themselves (neither overestimating nor underestimating). Second, they feel comfortable interacting and connecting with others, they are able to love other people, and able to respect the difference in others’ opinions. Third, they are able to satisfy the demands of daily living, to set a realistic life purpose, and able to make decisions, bear responsibilities, and design their futures.

Many studies have indicated that mental health is strongly related to
physical health. When a person is stressed, their bodies produces the
hormone cortisol that lowers their metabolic rate, increases infammations, and lowers their immunity. “It is absolutely clear that stress lowers the immune system, which is something we ironically really need during
the pandemic in order to avoid catching COVID-19,” dr. Vina said.

The pandemic forces us to care more about mental health for two reasons: “First, it causes new stressors in the form of the restrictions against crowding, maintaining safe distance, and constant wearing of masks and washing of hands. Second, viral diseases like COVID-19 are actually self-limiting. In other words, they can heal automatically without treatment… depending on the individual strength of your immunities. Internal factors that lower immunity include mental and emotional stress, compounded by the insuffcient sleep that they cause,” dr. Vina said.

All individuals need to maintain their mental and emotional condition to remain healthy. She stated that there are eight basic emotions, each one with a specifc purpose: anger to fight against problems, fear to protect us from danger, anticipation to look forward and plan, surprise to focus us on new situations, joy to remind us what’s important, sadness to connect us with those we love, trust to connect with people who help, and disgust to reject what is unhealthy.

“All of these emotions are human. Everyone can feel sadness, anger, disgust, fear. However, we need to identify each of them and accept them so we can regulate them without the need to label them as ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. For example, you might feel sad and heavy because you lost someone you love thanks to COVID-19. Once you identify the emotion, relax yourself into accepting the reality of the event itself and the sadness that you feel thanks to it by doing something productive, such as cleaning the house, baking a cake, working on your garden, or something. If the weight of your feelings
is so great that it disrupts your daily activities, it would probably be best if
you consult with an expert. Please do not self-diagnose with something you
read on the internet.”

She went on to suggest that everyone restricts their use of social media
during the pandemic, or do “social media detox”: “Restrict the duration
and sources of our access to digital information. Read only from sources that are reliable and trustworthy. Share your thoughts and feelings with your family and friends, and keep yourself close to God. These are some of the things that can help maintain your mental health,” she said. (Esti)


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