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Mental Health Awareness Month: COVID-19 Help

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Posted: May 12, 2020

Families are facing major life disruptions since the pandemic began and it’s taking a toll on their mental health. Routines have been disrupted, personal spaces invaded and cabin fever is bringing out the worst in everyone. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And boy, many of us could use some mental health revitalization. 

The Ministry of Health has a comprehensive report on how families can cope with COVID-19 stress especially in this month of mental health awareness. Read the report here.

Our staff writer wrote some helpful tips:

Get enough rest

In self-isolation, many of us have thrown out our daily routines. It’s more important than ever to get enough sleep – it helps our immune system, but it is also vital for our mental state – and that means going to bed at the right time. Health experts recommend coming up with a new routine to maintain consistency and sleep quality. Although it might be tempting to nap during the day, resist doing so more than once or you risk disrupting your body clock. To develop a routine, prepare for bed by dimming lights, listening to soft music and avoiding gadgets, and set a daily morning alarm to make sure you wake the same time every day.

Exercise

Social distancing means many of us don’t even leave home. A lack of mobility is bad for us in many ways. Exercise not only releases powerful feel-good endorphins but is critical to reducing stress. Free apps such as Nike Training Club and Google Fit provide home workouts and fitness plans which will help you exercise and stay healthy. Alternatively, you could practice self-massage through foam rolling. This will ensure your muscles are well exercised to avoid the loss of elasticity and fatigue.

Maintaining a healthy diet

Eating well is more important than ever. We need all the ammunition we can get to fight off illness and coronavirus in particular. Nutritionists recommend a minimum of five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, although it is generally agreed we should eat a whole lot more than five. Drink lots of water to flush out your system and keep you hydrated, and consider supplements, such as probiotics. As far as possible, avoid junk food, processed food, and refined sugars, all loaded with things that will attack your immune system. Now is a great time to try out some healthy recipes from food bloggers and TV shows.

Filtering news

While we all want to stay informed and updated, too much exposure to the coronavirus pandemic can leave you feeling fearful and anxious. More than ever, we’re advised to accept that some things are beyond our control. Take the time to adjust to the new reality and how you react to it. Allocate limited time to inform yourself through a few trusted and reliable resources such as the World Health Organisation and established news media.

Meditation and Yoga

While you may try to maintain a positive mindset, it is very easy to give in to feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, and helplessness. There are lots of free (or free for a time) resources that can help alleviate some of this – make use of them. The Calm app can help you meditate and sleep better. Or for yoga, try an app such as Glo or Down Dog, to help develop mindfulness of your thoughts and feelings and learn how to control them.

We would highly encourage you to talk (remotely) to the experts this month and here’s where you can get help:

Befrienders Kenya

Befrienders Kenya is a charitable organization focusing on suicide prevention by offering emotional support to those who may be in distress.

  • 8:00am-5:00pm hotline +254722178177.
  • Email befrienderskenya@gmail.com

Oasis Africa

Dr. Gladys and Dr. Gershon Mwiti founded Oasis Africa with a purpose and commitment to bring healing to many hurting communities in Kenya.

Their physical location is Regent Court – Apartment B7, Argwings Kodhek Road Opposite Nairobi Women’s Hospital.

Call their office line (+254) 0725 366614 to book a phone appointment.

Once all arrangements are in place, you’ll call this number for a psychiatric session (+254) 0733 366614

Niskize 

Niskize offers a 24-hours call center for emergency telephone counseling at the touch of a dial. They also offer face to face sessions as well as talks and group sessions to special groups such as Teenagers/Adolescents, people living with long term mental health challenges, persons struggling with trauma, suicidal thoughts as well as substance abuse.

Suicide helpline: 0900 620 800

For appointments: +254718227440

email: info@nisikize.co.ke

 

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