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Facing the new normality

We must consider positive and effective options, from the psychological point of view

Facing the new normality

We must consider positive and effective options, from the psychological point of view, that allow individuals, and society as a whole, to face the future with emotional tools that minimize psychological damage after the crisis.

1. Eat well and healthy.

Look at food as a factor in protecting physical and mental health. If we have started to eat healthier and with the criterion that food should not be measured in terms of quantity but in terms of quality, as well as with the idea that food not only has a nutritional function but also a social one, this will help us to improve our health and to fight against the scourge of obesity.

2. Stay physically active.

This period of isolation has served to discover the importance of physical exercise in maintaining physical and mental stability, and how moderate exercise causes our brain to secrete a greater quantity of neurotransmitters related to well-being and good mood. Maintaining, or establishing for the first time, activities related to the performance of physical exercise will allow the person to develop a significant improvement in their physical and mental health. And for those who do not have time to go to the gym, 45 minutes a day of active walking, alone or accompanied, acts as one of the best therapies to achieve well-being.

3. Take a break.

We've all been complaining that we don't have time for ourselves. The teaching of this period of confinement must have allowed us to see the falsity of this complaint; for when we now had time for ourselves and our family, the problem was boredom or arguments. This should make us reflect on our way of assuming the demands of daily life, and incorporate into our activities time for ourselves: taking care of ourselves, reading, practicing relaxation, or meditating on ourselves. If we do not take time to relieve the pressure we are under every day, our body, like any complex machine, will eventually break down, in the form of physical or mental illness.

4. Ask for help: talk about your feelings.

One of the most positive actions from a mental health point of view is to be able to talk about our feelings, how we feel when things are not going well. Either because of a lack of habit or because we fear that if we talk about how we feel others may take advantage of us, this is not a habit we have built into our repertoire of behavior. When a person's emotional state exceeds his or her personal coping capacities, it will be necessary to see a mental health professional.

5. To accept oneself, with its virtues and defects.

This brake on professional or academic activity has become a moment of more or less forced reflection on our personal, family, or professional objectives. It is a good time for us to draw the best conclusions from this reflection, with a mental process of acceptance of our virtues and defects, as well as the approach of those changes in our ideas or behavior that improve not only the image we have of ourselves but also of our social, family or professional relationship. We must take advantage of this key moment to stop and rethink things, see our weaknesses and strengths, and initiate changes that allow us to improve as a person, as a family member, as a friend, or as a colleague

6. Drink alcohol sensibly.

Increased consumption of alcohol as a means of spending time in isolation may become understandable, but then one must return to sensible consumption of alcohol, both for disease prevention and psychological self-management. In a society where alcohol consumption is socially accepted, we must work to ensure that such consumption does not become a source of physical and mental pathologies.

7. Maintain communication with family and friends.

During the quarantine, group video calls increased by 1000%, everyone rushed to call that family member or friend they hadn't talked to in a while. If, unfortunately, you had a family member who was ill with the coronavirus and was hospitalized, the feeling of helplessness and guilt for not being able to be with him during the hospitalization, or, if he finally died, the desperation for not having accompanied that family member in his last moments, were signs of how forgotten we were about the importance of regular contact with family and friends. We have recovered a fluid communication with many family and friends, let's keep it as a means to feel supported and be able to support others.

8. Taking care of others.

Another of the consequences of the quarantine has been the appearance of solidarity and disinterested help behaviors towards neighbors, older people, or people with disabilities, for whom it was more difficult to face the obligation of staying at home. "Cure and care" have been the motto of health professionals to face the pandemic, and we must keep the motto "care together" beyond time. The personal satisfaction of feeling useful in helping and caring for the most vulnerable must continue because if social volunteering was already something that helped many people to give a transcendent meaning to their lives, now this "caring together" is an opportunity to improve all of us.

9. Doing what is right and makes you feel good

The best way to face fear and worry is to dedicate yourself to doing rewarding things, those that make us enjoy ourselves and feel good. It doesn't matter if they are hobbies, helping others, or new activities that someone discovers for us. Anything that is something positive, something that makes us grow, it is time to devote to it, because it will not feel very good. And we also need to disconnect from the harshest reality, devoting ourselves to another reality, that more rewarding for us and for those around us.

10. Participate actively in the social actions of the community.

Psychosocial support is going to become one of the most important options for mutual help after a pandemic like the one we are suffering from. We must move towards a more collaborative and less individual system, more based on social participation within the community. We must participate in the social reconstruction that will accompany the economic reconstruction of the country. In this situation, feeling that we are part of the community will allow us to speak and listen, participate and contribute, feel and care, all actions that will result in our psychological well-being and that of the group.

11. Being creative: discovering new hobbies and personal challenges.

All change must be strengthened by creating new, more positive habits. In crisis situations, our obligation is to rethink whether our life, if our objectives are consistent with what we have achieved. And only from an integral and creative vision can we take advantage of this opportunity that reality offers us: we must go further and consider new hobbies, new challenges, new options, which allow us to grow as a person, as a member of a family, as a professional.

12. Never give up in the face of adversity. 

When things go wrong, that is when we must fight the most. If we are exhausted it is very difficult to feel that we can continue to fight. For that reason, if we have followed the eleven ideas above we will be able to face adversity with mental and physical strength. It is now that we must make the motto "On this boat, we all go together and no one will have to jump overboard" a reality.

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