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5 ways to maintain and improve mental wellness during the pandemic

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, our collective mental health has taken a hit, but it has also resulted in people paying more attention to their well-being and wellness states.

5 ways to maintain and improve mental wellness during the pandemic

There is a need to be more intentional in our lives, be more present and in the moment, and to better understand ourselves and know what works or does not, says a TODAY reader.

Jonathan Kuek Han Loong

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, our collective mental health has taken a hit, but it has also resulted in people paying more attention to their well-being and wellness states.

With the recent release of the Covid-19 mental wellness task force’s report and its recommendation of the steps to be taken to promote and enhance mental health support in Singapore, it is an opportune moment to talk about how we can better maintain and improve our overall well-being.

First, there is a need to be more intentional in our lives, be more present and in the moment, and to better understand ourselves and know what works or does not.

Only then can we start to make small positive shifts in our thoughts and actions.

This pandemic has given us some space to slow down and become more in tune with ourselves.

The positive effects from making these small changes will accumulate over time and enable us to enhance our resilience reserves, allowing us to bounce back faster and stronger during challenging times.

Second, maintaining or improving our wellness does not come from quick fixes, or following trends and fads.

While wellness trends and fads provide us with temporary satisfaction, their impact may be fleeting unless they can be integrated successfully into our lives.

Instead, we should look inwards, explore our needs and understand what motivates us intrinsically.

For example, examining the little things that we do daily, the acts that we often may not even be conscious about, can go a long way towards ensuring that we remain well.

Third, everyone has a different optimal level of wellness that suits their needs. Hence, there is neither a one-size-fits-all approach nor a right or wrong way to maintain or improve your wellness.

There will be many trials and errors involved when trying to find that balance, and it is important to maintain a strong network of individuals working towards the same goal of identifying their wellness equilibriums.

Fourth, we often talk about mental health and wellness as simple psychological goals to be achieved. Wellness, however, is a more complex construct than simply taming and mastering your mind.

Being more nuanced in our understanding by using a theoretical model such as the eight dimensions of wellness — which include the physical, occupational and spiritual aspects — can help us better identify strategies and tools that fulfil each of the domains and achieve more holistic well-being.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, maintaining or enhancing our holistic sense of wellness takes effort and hard work.

There is no shame in seeking help from the people around you or mental health professionals if you need more support.

Humans are innately resilient beings, and our ability to adapt to challenging situations in life is amazing.

Still, unless we take charge of our wellness and place it among our top priorities, we run the risk of not realising how unwell we are until more serious issues arise.

ABOUT THE WRITER:

Mr Jonathan Kuek Han Loong is a doctoral candidate and mental health researcher at the University of Sydney and founder of the Total Wellness Initiative Singapore. His research is based in Singapore. The views expressed are his own.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

mental health Covid-19 coronavirus wellness health

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