How to be happy during the pandemic
How can we stay mentally healthy during the pandemic? Better yet, how can we stay healthy with terrible pandemic management?
The healthiest thing I’ve done is stop watching the news, because it’s just bad news and viral boredom.
If there’s a good thing to be found in the pandemic, it’s that it’s exposing the insanity of our human society.
As technology advances, humanity regresses.
It seems that rather than stopping the pandemic, they want to keep it around, with vaccine shortages and spoiled vaccines. Here in Portugal, there are restrictions that don’t make sense and don’t seem to work, but they keep them in place anyways.
Why? Well… the measures don’t stop the virus, but they do kill small businesses. They don’t stop the virus, but end up causing more diseases.
This is because health is not only physical, it is also economic, social, emotional, relational, spiritual, creative, and psychological. It is the balance of all these aspects of a human being.
This apparent disorganized handling of the pandemic makes me think of what Muadmar Gaddafi said in his 2009 speech at the UN:
“Capitalist companies produce viruses so that they can generate and sell vaccinations. That is very shameful and poor ethics. Vaccinations and medicine should not be sold.”
Does anyone really win here? Yes, billionaires have added trillions of dollars to their pockets, however finding a “winner” now is like finding a winner in wars. Everyone is harmed, just some more than others.
We can find different theories to explain what is behind the virus, because although it has long ceased to seem like it, humans are rational beings. We simply cannot go against our nature, we need to give explanations, whether they are correct or not.
Below are some tips – based on what I’ve personally learned in my life – for how to be happy during the pandemic.
First, I want to emphasize that we cannot speak of our mind as something separate; it is linked to a physical, emotional, and social body. Therefore, if we want to speak of mental health, we must speak of health in all these areas.
We could say that our emotions have gone through an earthquake. Yes, the floor has moved, and now we have to relocate internally and externally.
A sense of humor
Despite this upheaval, if we want to preserve our mental health, a sense of humor is an antidote to losing it. How can we maintain a sense of humor? By not letting ourselves be bombarded by the news, for one.
By the way, how is it possible that the same three or four news items pass through the 24 hour news cycle on repeat?
The world has eight billion people, and we are by nature creative. Are we losing our nature? If so, what are we, or what are we becoming?
Break some rules
Another antidote is to join the circus breaking some – just some – of the rules to survive. Because if you’re wondering if mental health is possible in over a year of confinement, the answer is no, of course it’s not! Humans are social beings. Contact with others is a necessity even for the least sociable among us. If we lose it, our balance falters.
Another tip for emotional health, valid at any time, is physical exercise, and this is much better outdoors. I say this from experience, and it’s scientifically proven.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Another good piece of advice – which no one has asked me but I’m sure you’ll gladly accept if you try it out – is a good diet. By this I mean less flour and sugar and more fruits and vegetables. Where else can you get vitamins and minerals? It’s the fuel for this vehicle called the body.
If you put the best fuel in your car, please remember to do it with your physical body; your emotional and mental body will also thank you.
Start practicing meditation
It’s a good time to practice meditation. We have time, since most of us don’t have to commute to work right now. You don’t need that much time, anyways. At first five minutes a day will be more than enough, and as you advance in the practice, you’ll be able to add minutes. (By this I mean: take advantage of starting to do it now, since many of us don’t know what to do with so much time at home. But don’t stop doing it when the pandemic ends.)
This is something that helps our psychic health, because it’s an important activity for our internal or spiritual world, which we have long forgotten, at least in the West.
Learn something new
Is there anything that you’ve thought about for a long time but never found out how to do? The internet can help you in that search, especially in the pandemic, since we spend so much time at home.
Another tip to fight the pandemic and get away with it is to be attentive to our thoughts.
Careful! Depression begins with a sustained use of inappropriate or negative thoughts. Those thoughts are like opening a window in the daytime and seeing only darkness. So, also take care of the thoughts that feed your being. Thoughts can allow or give rise to certain sensations and feelings, this is another reason to choose them consciously.
Get into nature, and nurture your imagination
What happens when we stay indoors without giving ourselves the opportunity to be in open spaces, such as the mountains, the countryside, or the beach?
This absence of distant horizons leads us -if we are not aware- to the absence of distant goals. We stop dreaming, and dreaming is what gives us life or at least, the desire to live and continue.
So what we cannot do physically, let’s at least close our eyes and make it real in our imagination, because everything we do has to pass through our mind beforehand. Even what we say “arises”; it arose because you were open for that to arise.