On mental health and fun times at home.

This pandemic is taking a toll on our mental health. You may not notice it because you may be working the same number of hours, doing household chores like before. The restlessness, the feeling of being stuck in a rut, the cabin fever… it’s all there and we’re pushing it to the side so we don’t deal with it right now. But what we don’t know is that those negative emotions are attacking us from the inside. We don’t want to find ourselves struggling mentally, emotionally, psychologically, in the brink of a breakdown. Right?

We can take care of our mental health through simple activities. Did you know that a simple competitive game at home, enjoyed by members of the family, can have a huge impact on our mental well-being? Physical or virtual ones, it doesn’t really matter as long as we are playing with family members. And as long as we are enjoying ourselves! It will lessen anxiety and stress. And I am speaking from experience here.

Let me share here two games that we play at home: one game is for the older ones while the other is for kids and the not-so-young at hearts.

Solitaire

Solitaire

Obviously, this card game is for the older ones in the family. Solitaire. I believe most of us know what this game is. Right? You can choose to use physical cards or, like us at home, we love playing online. Seven cards will be dealt to you and from there you will complete the line up of each type of cards in a deck, regardless of color. All four suits (clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds) should be lined up in one column from King to 2. Aces should be lined up on top of the tableau where each card type will go from 2 to King this time.

It’s fairly easy to play, believe me. It’s actually a no-brainer considering all you will do is line up the cards and deal. If you really just want to pass the time, relaxing, just having fun, this Solitaire card game is for you. Take turns playing it. What my sisters and I do when we play is that we take turns, listing down scores of each one. We do three rounds. Whoever scores the highest is the winner. The loser always have to do a household chore that nobody wants to do.

I should warn you, though, that Solitaire is so much fun to play that it is addictive! I can play this all day long all by myself. And it is what I usually do when I don’t feel like tackling any chore or work task.

Another fun game that I want to learn is mahjong. The older members of the family, uncles and aunts, are experts on this game. I’d like to learn, too, so I can play with them.

at-homeAside from online games, another fun activity that you can do with the family at home, with or without any occasion, is videoke singing. Yes, the one where you will get a score in the end. We do this with the kids because they also know some songs and they are so happy when they beat the older ones.

Our mental well-being is very important. I speak from experience because I had a recent bout with depression. It really affected my over-all health. This pandemic is taking a toll on all of us, young and old, and we need to be able to find something, a tool, in order to fight the side effects of this situation we are all in.

Whatever makes you happy these days, take advantage of it!

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Managing anxiety.

Two co-workers are suffering from anxiety disorder ever since the lockdown last year. It was triggered by the retrenchment of a number of co-workers who were told to walk because the company needed to stay afloat. They were victims of the cost-cutting measures implemented by management. The two ladies thought they would be retrenched as well, and there is still a chance they might should this pandemic would not let up. Every time there is a meeting being called, you could see the two of them zoning out, their anxiety being triggered once again.

anxiety The thing is, it is not easy to fight off anxiety especially in these trying times. All we can do is manage it in such a way that it would not destroy our sanity and for it to eventually go away.

Let me share my experience with anxiety and how I am able to manage it.

Deep breaths and naps. Anxiety can make you feel like the world is about to end. It can feel like you are about to die or that a heart attack is inevitable. If you start feeling this way, take several deep breaths until you feel yourself calming down. Focus on a happy thought, or something you are positively looking forward to. It will help in taking your mind off the panic attack you are experiencing.

Also, take naps. No matter what time of the day, if you feel like you need to take time off from reality, just take a nap and you will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world again.

Compartmentalize. One thing I learned from being the breadwinner and emotional reliever of my family is that you can put into boxes some things so you do not feel overwhelmed. Whatever I needed to tackle, I face it first, and push the others at the back of mind for the time being.

Delegate, get experts, don’t do everything on your own. That experienced marketing specialist is there to help you with your online presence. You do not need to do everything on your own because it is another trigger to anxiety. Get an expert. Remember, anxiety is more costly. Delegate. Someone else can do it, too.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating well-balanced meals, exercising, limiting alcohol and caffeine intake, getting enough sleep. These are just some of the things you can do in order to become healthy. Being healthy and active will surely take your mind off the triggers to your anxiety disorder.

Pray and do your best. I do believe in the power of prayer. I have had several panic attacks in the past. I was the breadwinner and I always panic whenever I found myself low on funds. Over the yeas, I realized that praying and just doing my best helped me in overcoming every panic attack I have ever had.

Mental well-being is very important. Anxiety attacks are common these days but we do not need to give in to it. There is always a way for us to manage it and make it go away.

Also, seek medical help.

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Keto Diet and Intermittent Fasting

dietAt one point you may have heard the terms “keto” diet and “intermittent” fasting. Ketogenic Diet is a low-carb diet wherein an individual cuts back on food high in carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta, soda, pastries. Individuals who are on a keto diet get their calories from proteins and fats. On the other hand, an Intermittent Fasting is an eating routine wherein an individual switches from fasting, normally for sixteen hours, and eats only for the remaining eight hours of the day.

During a fridge repair a couple of months ago when I became aware of intermittent fasting. I was already contemplating that time about losing unwanted pounds and my sister mentioned it to me. I dismissed it at first, thinking it was another fad in a long line of diet plans that came and went. Then, I saw a friend doing exactly that. In her case, she was even doing OMAD or one meal a day, while doing intermittent fasting. Whew! I asked her about it and she told me that it was, in fact, very effective in losing unwanted pounds and keeping it from coming back. She started with the basic intermittent fasting, 8:16. Eight hours of window for eating, sixteen hours of fasting. It was easy for her so she started stretching her fasting hours from sixteen to eighteen up to twenty six hours that time I found out about her diet. I was sure I could not do it no matter how much encouragement she was sending my way.

Is Intermittent Fasting effective? In my personal opinion, yes, it does. Imagine starving your body for sixteen hours (basic fasting period). Hours without food, our bodies burn fat and exhaust sugar stored in it. That translates to weight loss especially for longer periods of time that you are fasting.

How about Ketogenic Diet? Similar to intermittent fasting, when the body exhausts the sugar stored in it, you will lose weight. Eating less than 50 grams a day, burning sugar fast, after a few days you start losing unwanted pounds in your body and, for me, that’s an effective way of dieting. It is hard, yes, but many individuals have been doing it nowadays.

What is my choice between the two? I am all for intermittent fasting! I have tried it once and I was able to do it for a month. I lost weight that, thankfully, I have not gained back again even when I stopped fasting. I plan to do it again. A doctor-friend of mine told me that fasting is also good since our bodies regenerate good cells when under fast. Those with diabetes are great candidates, too, but with the supervision of their doctors and nutritionists.

All in all, my take on dieting is this: whatever works for you. As long as the diet is good for the body and truly promotes weight loss in the most natural way, then, go for it!

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Meal Planning

meal-planning
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Do you go to the supermarket or grocery store with or without a list of items to buy? Do you plan the meals you will cook for the next couple of days?

Meal planning is one way to help save time and money when it comes to grocery shopping. Gather the family to discuss the food they want to eat for the week. (A weekly plan is easier to compared to a monthly one.) Make a list. Discuss the costs and time it will take to cook it. Then, make a meal plan for the next five or seven days. From which you can extract a list of grocery items you need to buy.

Make sure you are done with your freezer repair before going to the supermarket or grocery store. You need your freezer space for the items you are going to purchase and stock up for the next couple of days. Also, make sure you have those fridge bags where you can store your meat, veggies, and other ingredients to keep it fresh.

Here’s how to do meal planning properly.

List all the meals you plan to cook for the week, or next couple of days, depending on your goal. Think of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, snacks in between meals, just to be sure.

List down all the ingredients you will need. Garlic, onions, tomatoes, bellpeppers, herbs. Pork, chicken, beef. Flour, cornstarch, pasta. Everything you will need to complete all the meals in your plan for the week.

Bring the list with you to the grocery store or supermarket. Bring a pen or pencil and tick off all the items you already have in your cart or basket.

When you get home, start cooking those meals that you can store in the fridge and can be reheat when about to be eaten. Normally, meals can be pre-cooked so that it won’t take you as long to cook it as when you need it that day.

Working moms attest to the fact that meal planning is a huge cost and time saver for them. My sisters and I, though not yet mothers, can also attest to the efficacy of meal planning in our daily working lives. Meals that are cheap can easily be budgeted. The time in the kitchen can be decreased and limited. Also, if you are on a diet, meal planning is a great way to control your food intake!

Just make sure the pantry is well-stocked. Make a list and check it twice. Don’t waste ingredients by buying what is already available in your pantry. Check your refrigerator for leftovers. There are meals that you can cook out of it. Buy only what you need. Cook and eat those you know will easily spoil or rot. Don’t let food go to waste by buying and stocking mindlessly.

Meal planning is easy especially when it becomes a part of your weekly, or monthly, routine.

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Turning to a healthy lifestyle.

Social media has given us glimpses of what it is like to be healthy and active. Numerous workout videos, nutritious and healthy recipes that we can easily replicate and cook, real results after religiously following a simple routine to lose weight. We see it every single day on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media platforms.

Here are some lifestyle changes that I got online and will be trying out in the next couple of weeks.

Easy to Follow Home-Cooked Meals

healthy-lifestyle
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Get those appliance repair services as soon as possible! There are so many easy-to-cook meals out in the social media world that we can pick up and try at home. We need our oven and stove in good condition. We need our refrigerators cleaned and cleared of clutter. We need to do grocery shopping at least once a week. Meal planning is strongly advised.

Being able to choose the ingredients and being able to plan properly especially the cost of each meal are just two of the advantages of cooking at home.

A Five-Minute Simple Daily Workout

I have been picking up some five-minute workouts here and there, mostly from Instagram. The idea that five minutes of your day will become a habit once you commit to doing it every single day. No rest days for those who are deeply committed to losing weight and becoming healthy.

A woman I was following in Facebook has been documenting her journey to a healthier version of herself. It was not an easy journey. I have been how she struggled, and she was honest enough to tell everyone about it. It was from her that I got the idea of five minutes daily can become a habit.

5-minute-workout

Ten seconds per type of workout. Planking will take getting used to but this has the best effect on our body, according to one fitness expert.

Minimizing the Carbon Footprint

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Just like with working out, minimizing our carbon footprint will need a stronghold commitment. We are used to single-use plastics when we are out. Admit it or not. If we reduce our use of materials that are harmful to the environment, if we reuse and recycle, then we are contributing to the health of the land around us.

Clean air. Clean water. Abundance in nature.

We can use bicycles to work or to go to places nearby. Bike more, drive less. If driving a car cannot be avoided, carpooling is a great way to encourage others to minimize their carbon footprints, too. Of course, walking is still the best option. Ten thousand footsteps a day can help drive away any kind of illness.

There are a lot of ways that we can turn to healthy living. The three I mentioned are just some of the ways that I picked up while browsing through my social media accounts. One thing that we need to keep in mind is that every way needs total commitment. It is committing to a better life every single day.

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Leading A More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

With global warming and climate change causing devastation around the natural world, leading a more environmentally friendly lifestyle is something that many people are trying to achieve. There are a wealth of changes that you can make each and every day which will reduce your carbon footprint and the impact that you have on the natural world, and it truly couldn’t be easier to start your journey today. So, if you would like to find out more, then read on to uncover some of the best top tips and tricks that you can make the most of now!

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Rethink Your Diet

One of the most harmful aspects of your lifestyle that you may not have even considered is your diet. The foods that you eat can either help the planet or hurt it, so it’s important that you can address your diet in an attempt to make a few positive changes. Eating meat is one of the worst things that you can do for the planet, as dramatic mass deforestation takes place in order to create enough space for livestock to meet ever increasing demand. To add to this, the methane gas that is created by livestock and used in feed fertilisation processes contributes more greenhouse gases that all modes of transport combined. The practice of rearing livestock can also increase the risk of mass extinctions in other species, as well as polluting natural waterways at the same time. Making the decision to cut down the amount of meat that you consume will have a huge impact on your carbon footprint (and your health), and the rise in plant based foods is making this step easier and easier. You can start off slow by taking part in a weekly meat free Monday, or throw yourself in at the deep end and go vegan to experience the full range of benefits.

Go Plastic Free

In recent years plastic pollution has risen to the top of many people’s agenda, as the effects of the near indestructible material have slowly but surely left an irreparable mark on the planet. Oceans are filled to the brim with food packaging, discarded fishing nets, micro plastics and so much more, all of which is likely to be eaten by the sea creatures who encounter it. Coral reefs are littered with plastics, and many endangered sea animals wash up on beaches suffocated by needless plastic dumped into the water. The only way to stop this from continuing on is to find alternative natural materials that do not have a half life of a hundred years; which can biodegrade in a safe and healthy way with as little effect on the environment as possible. One idea that mind just put an end to the problem of plastic is hemp, as hemp products can easily form a suitable replacement. Glass is another reliable alternative, especially when considering replacing plastics used in food storage.

Leading a more environmentally friendly lifestyle has never been so simple when you are able to make the most of the top tips and tricks detailed above!

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How Lockdown Is Affecting People’s Mental Health

lockdown
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The Covid-19 pandemic has kept at least 2.6 billion people in some form of social isolation. But how does that affect people mentally? Well, according to experts, the Covid-19 lockdown has caused some of the most major psychological challenges the world has seen in recent years. And now there are deep fears that towards late 2020, an outbreak of burnouts could hit the globe as a result of lockdown.

Covid-19 mental challenges are real

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s health facilities have been overwhelmed as a result of the upsurge in new infections. Nations scrambled to erect tents and temporary healthcare centers to treat infected patients. For example, in the United States, field hospitals were put up in Central Park when the COVID case counts and death toll shot to the roof. Unfortunately, what’s conspicuously missing in the world is the lack of psychological help centers for people grappling with the effects of social distancing protocols and quarantine. If the world is to come back stronger post-COVID-19, then nations shouldn’t be ignoring the mental health dangers posed by people being torn away from their loved ones as a result of unprecedented lockdown. There is a good reason why experts are tagging the Covid-19 pandemic as the “biggest psychological test” the world has seen in a long time. With a third of the global population living in isolation, that cannot go on without sparking psychological effects.

Effects of lockdown on mental health

Around February 2020, The Lancet reviewed 24 studies on the impact of lockdown on mental health. Insights from that study revealed what may be going on in the millions of households that have been hit hard by the pandemic. As expected, the results showed that quarantined people have a high likelihood of developing a broad spectrum of symptoms characteristic of psychological disorders. These include anxiety, sleeplessness, depression, stress, and anger, among other traumatic experiences.

But in particular, it was observed that low mood and temper irritability stood out among the psychological effects of Covid-19 lockdown. Moving to China, the origin of the virus, researchers also confirmed mental health challenges springing from the coronavirus pandemic.
In cases involving the quarantine of parents and their kids, the toll on mental health was much more pronounced.

Some studies found out that close to 28% of parents in quarantine showed trauma-like symptoms relating to mental health abnormalities. Meanwhile, healthcare workers can’t be left out. Nearly 10% of hospital workers experienced severe symptoms of depression. In the face of these difficulties, healthcare workers have a high tendency to engage in risky behaviors such as alcohol abuse and self-medication. In some cases, health practitioners avoid making contact with patients due to the fear of being infected.

The lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) also explains why doctors shirk their basic responsibilities of catering for the sick. The big question is — if doctors are closing their offices for fear of their lives, what happens to Covid-19 patients and those with non-communicable cases such as hearing losses? Well, that means Covid-19 patients may lose their lives needlessly, and the hearing-impaired won’t have access to an audiogram to diagnose their conditions.

How to overcome coronavirus-related mental health challenges

  • Call for help
  • This is not the best time to hide your poor mental health situation. Speak it out, and you will get help. For example, make a consultation with a psychologist and seek help before it’s too late. As trained mental health professionals, doctors and psychologists can offer you advice and even medications to improve your condition. Explain your feelings to them, and follow their recommendations to restore your positive mind.

  • Socialize with friends online
  • The internet is serving the world perfectly in the course of the pandemic. Even though lockdown can tie you to your home, don’t allow it to cut off your communication with family and friends. Of course, in quarantine, you may not be able to attend parties with friends, but you can connect with them online through platforms like FaceTime, Facebook, and other platforms.

  • Find a flexible job
  • The Covid-19 crisis has affected people’s sources of income because the pandemic has dealt with businesses a big blow. To lessen your financial worries, you need to find a flexible job during the pandemic. Think about how you can work from home to make some money and meet your household needs.

    The pandemic has affected the psychological state of people. But if you take the above measures, you can mitigate the negative impact of lockdown, and have your full mental health back.

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