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Facing the new normality

We must consider positive and effective options from a psychological point of view.

Facing the new normality

From the psychological point of view, we must consider positive and effective options 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 healthy 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 more neurotransmitters related to well-being and good mood. Maintaining, or establishing for the first time, activities related to physical exercise performance will allow the person to significantly improve 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, is 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 and how we feel when things are not going well. Whether because of a lack of habit or because we fear that if we talk about how we think, 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 to 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 crucial moment to stop and rethink things, see our weaknesses and strengths, and initiate changes that allow us to improve as people, family members, friends, or colleagues. 

6. Drink alcohol sensibly.

Increased consumption of alcohol as a means of spending time in isolation may become understandable. Still, one must return to sensible consumption of alcohol, both for disease prevention and psychological self-management. Moreover, 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%, and 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 fluid communication with many family and friends; let's keep it to feel supported and 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 challenging to face the obligation of staying at home. "Cure and care" have been the motto of health professionals to meet the pandemic, and we must keep the motto "care together" beyond time. The personal satisfaction of feeling helpful 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. It is time to devote ourselves to something positive that makes us grow because it will not feel perfect. And we also need to disconnect from the harshest reality, devoting ourselves to another fact that is more rewarding for us and those around us.

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

Psychosocial support will become one of the most essential options for mutual help after a pandemic like the one we suffer from. We must move towards a more collaborative and less individual system based on social participation within the community. We must participate in the social reconstruction accompanying the country's economic reconstruction. 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 crises, we must rethink whether our life and 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, and new options, which allow us to grow as a person, as a member of a family, and 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 tough to feel we can continue fighting. Therefore, following the eleven ideas above, we can face adversity with mental and physical strength. 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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