This New Year, give your mental health the priority it deserves

Mental health was as severely compromised in 2021, but there’s really no harm in trying to get back on track in 2022. These tips are sure to help you out!

mental health in new year
Keep calm, and keep the stress away. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Raghavendra Kumar Published on: 1 January 2022, 15:00 pm IST
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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been a huge disruption not just at an individual and family level, but also at a national and an international level. From stuttering economies to disrupted workplaces/patterns to schools getting shut, it’s been a huge toll on the population at large.

There is no age group which is unaffected by the virus, either directly or indirectly. While the direct costs can be measured, the indirect costs are still evolving and are intangible. Disruption in work patterns and places can create uncertainty and an unstructured work/academic schedule.

This can alter the delicate balance between work and life of professionals, especially in those families with limited support systems and with both parents working. This problem gets further compounded in case of children with developmental difficulties/special needs.

Adding to this melee is the emergence of the new Omicron variant, which has brought a huge question mark looming around the heads of all those concerned. This is expected to affect lives further. Delaying the opening of schools and offices may further worsen already complicated matters. Parents are having difficulties in handling screen time of their children amidst the interrupted work-life balance. Children are having difficulty in developing social skills. Frequent changes in the workplace between home and office can compound these issues further.

Despite the pre-existent set of problems, the new year gives a strong reason to turn over a new leaf. It brings in a new ray of hope and positivity along with it.

mental health
Pay attention to your mental health, as much as physical health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are some useful tips for the upcoming new year to take care of your mental health:

1.Screen time

It is very essential for one to be self-regulated in terms of gadget use and screen-time.

2. Stay connected

It is recommended to stay connected with self and near and dear ones in a regular and most direct manner possible.

3.Stay active

Take up regular physical activity (jogging, running, yoga, etc.) as a part of your daily routine.

4. Self-monitor

Self-monitoring tasks where one gets mindful of their skills (or the lack of it) in handling stress and interpersonal conflicts.

5. Awareness

Being aware that symptoms like poor sleep, easy fatigue, irritability, anxiety, decreased interest (in children as well as adults) should be construed as early warning signs. Whenever there is a dramatic shift in the equilibrium at such a large scale, the innate resilience and coping resources come into action. However, such shifts in equilibrium can bring along with them health issues, due to difficulties in adjusting to the disruption.

The last words

In addition, it’s that time in the world where everybody is affected in one or the other. There is a strain on the existing health care resources. Especially in developing countries like India, leaving these symptoms to become full-blown can worsen matters further by placing an unprecedented load on the precarious health care system. Hence, seeking professional help sooner than later can prevent mental health concerns from aggravating.

mental health
Learn how your child’s mental health may be adversely affected by factors such as obesity and bullying. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Children by the virtue of their age, although are innately more resilient when compared to adults, would not have developed fully mature thinking mechanisms for speaking out and solving their problems. The world of children revolves around their parents and school.

Therefore, troubled parents and non-functional schools can literally disrupt the world of children. Its essential children get regular reassurance from parents about their constant availability in the time of need. Children should also be trained in developing effective coping and problem-solving skills through simple examples, stories, and games. Ensuring parents are watchful of the slightest change in behaviour of their children is a very effective strategy. Making children feel understood about the difficulties they are going through and offering to support them in a non-judgmental way will help children feel supported.

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About the Author
Dr Raghavendra Kumar Dr Raghavendra Kumar

Consultant - Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Mpower The Centre, Bengaluru

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