May the 4th be with you!

Positive mental health advice from Yoda, Han Solo, and other “Star Wars” characters (there’s even one from Darth Vader!)

Happy Star Wars Day, everyone! If you have not yet watched this blockbuster space-fantasy saga, let this current lockdown be your chance to do so! But whether you’re a newbie or a long-time fan of the films, we hope you can look past the special effects and also appreciate the movies for the mental health lessons that they offer.

Here are some classic Star Wars quotes that can help you lift your spirits against anxiety, negativity, and even depression:

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

Yoda

How many times have we hesitated doing something because of anxiety and self-doubt? Yoda teaches us that we should believe in ourselves, and to commit 100% to the task at hand. Only then can there be progress.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

Darth Vader

If you find yourself feeling depressed because others are constantly putting your down, channel your inner Vader and find the strength to push on.

“Never tell me the odds.”

Han Solo

Don’t spend too much time over=analyzing things that are yet to happen; by anticipating failure, we are actually setting ourselves up for it. Instead, focus on the now, and take things one step at a time.

“You will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our point of view.”

Obi Wan Kenobi

Our view of the world depends on many factors – how we were raised, what we learned from school, and our own life experiences. This means that everyone’s mindset is different, and so the things that we perceive to be true (i.e. “I am a failure,” “I cannot do this,” “It’s too hard”) are simply our interpretations of our experiences. Others may see the exact same thing but interpret it differently (“You are amazing,” “You CAN do this,” “It’s not that hard”). So make an effort to have a positive point of view, and see how different your perception of reality becomes.

“The greatest teacher, failure is.”

Yoda

Never be afraid to make mistakes, because it is only when we fail that we learn, improve, or sometimes even find better opportunities.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a real-life Yoda around for us to talk to anytime we are feeling uncertain? That being said, know that there ARE many support groups available to give you mental health support. We many not wield lightsabers, but rest assured that we are always on your side.

METHOD TO THE MADNESS: Finding Peace In COVID-19 Pandemic

When the mood is as somber as it has been these past few weeks since the declaration of the pandemic, it is crucial to develop a positive outlook and a healthy mindset if we are to come out of this intact. Why? As much as this virus primarily attacks our respiratory system, the fight is both mental and physical.

A strong mind is one of the most powerful weapons we can wield at a time like this. And here are eight things we can do to help build our mental muscle.

  1. EXERCISE. Countless articles have been written about how exercise releases the happy hormones called endorphins. They can’t possibly be all wrong. So get up, and get going.  Even 20 minutes of moderate exercise 3x a week is a good place to start.
  2. GET SOME SUN. Studies have shown that a decrease in sun exposure may cause a drop in Serotonin—the chemical that contributes to one’s sense of well-being and happiness.  Anywhere from 15-20 minutes of exposure is recommended. Can’t go outside? Experts say even sitting by a window will suffice.
  3. DISTANCE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY, NOT SOCIALLY. The term “social distancing” actually refers to the physical distance you maintain in a social setting. Other than that, please reach out to family and friends online. A strong support group in trying times like these is as essential as oxygen is to daily life.  We all need someone to rant to, laugh with, cry with, and laugh with again.
  4. FEED YOUR MIND HEALTHY STUFF. Just as we shouldn’t feed our bodies with junk, the same is true for our minds. A good serving of reality (or news) balanced with a very generous serving of good vibes should do the trick. We only need to watch enough news to be aware of what’s going on. Not stuff ourselves with it.
  5. BE KIND TO EVERYONE, OURSELVES INCLUDED. These are not normal times. So it’s okay to feel uneasy or a bit off. No need to judge ourselves (or anyone else, for that matter) for feeling that way. Know and accept that the days ahead are challenging, and we are all just trying to get by as best as we can. And that is enough.
  6. FOCUS ON THE NOW. It’s been said that thanks to the virus the days of the week have been cut down to three… yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  With all the uncertainty, we can only live one day at a time. And that day is today. That moment is now. So focus on now, live it and make the most of it.
  7. FIND AN ANCHOR. When we find ourselves getting swept away by thoughts that run at breakneck speed to Worryville, we step on the brakes. Then we find something to help us anchor ourselves. This is where those breathing exercises or mantras come in handy.
  8. USE THE OFF SWITCH. For seven to eight hours each day, allow your brain to rest completely. Find a routine that will help you settle in for the night—meditation, drinking a cup of warm milk or tea, listening to music; and give your brain permission to unplug and reset.

If we mindfully practice these things (along with all the precautionary measures we’ve been told to take), there’s no reason we can’t make it to the other side safe. And sane.

ISOLATION: A view less lonely

Isolation. Reading the word alone is enough to make anyone feel distraught. Unfortunately, to contain this virus the world is currently waging war against, this is something we all have to endure in one form or another.

Lonely as it sounds, it really doesn’t have to be. It’s all a matter of perspective.

True, being cooped up isn’t as much fun as being outside with people. But there are things you can do to brighten up this period of isolation. You can:

Interact with people online. Just because we have to maintain a 2-meter distance from people physically doesn’t mean we can’t chat them up online. We’ve got smartphones, computers, and practically every household has some form of online access. Group video calls are the way to go.

Switch perspective. Instead of looking at this as a time of being alone and lonely, let’s think of it as me-time. So why don’t we make a list of the things we can do now that we have time. Working from home? Why don’t we enjoy the fact that we can actually work in our jammies?

Organize and redecorate. Let’s face it; this isolation thing has really given us more time. So why not change the way things look around us. Our room is messy, the desk is cluttered, the cabinet is busting at the seams—let’s clean up! Or maybe everything is clean and in order—then let’s rearrange things and give our space a new look.

Learn something new. There are tons of videos online that can teach you a thing or two. Now is the best time to try and learn new things. Maybe we can even learn how to make face masks.

Ask about other people. Let’s take our mind off of our situation and think about someone else’s. Maybe check-up on someone we haven’t spoken to or seen in a while. Spend some time catching up with them online. Everyone already accounted for? Then maybe we can challenge ourselves to find ways to help other people from where we are. Sometimes looking at it from someone else’s perspective makes us see our situation differently.

Take the time to breathe. We don’t have to fill every moment in isolation with some form of activity just so we don’t feel lonely. We can simply sit and enjoy the silence.  Now would be a good time to develop the habit of meditation.

Exercise. Yes, this is nothing new; this is probably among the top three things that we get as a suggestion for what to do with extra time. But we have to admit it isn’t a bad one. If exercising alone sounds dreary, we can always organize a group exercise activity online.

These are but a few of the things we can do to make isolation more bearable. To list everything down would probably take up the entire prescribed isolation period.

How we react to this situation largely depends on the perspective we choose to take on it. We can choose to feel sorry for ourselves and wallow in loneliness. Or we can be grateful for this time to ISOLATE.  Being in isolation, for now, doesn’t mean you have to be alone, but in times like these, it does mean being safe.