These past few days have been nothing short of challenging for the whole of Nigeria. It started out as a peaceful protest that lasted several days across multiple states within the country. People stood their ground and even got a significant amount of international recognition. But, things went south very fast, and our peaceful week quickly transitioned what can be comfortably referred to as a time of crisis.
As a result, several states announced curfews and closed their schools. Those who didn’t announce curfew began tightening security as hoodlums keep running wild and free, doing whatever they wanted. Things haven’t quite escalated to the point of war. But, by all means, we’re in a time of crisis. The unfortunate thing about this period is that it takes a certain toll on our mental health. And, sadly, if your mental health begins a downward spiral, it would affect you in more ways than one.
So, how do you protect your mental health during this time of crisis? Let’s take a look:
Stay informed, but not too informed
It is relatively easy to misinterpret this point, but let’s quickly explain that. It’s already a well-known fact that you cannot afford to be misinformed or completely ignorant in a time of crisis like this one. So, do not completely shut yourself off from valuable information. But choose what you listen to. Decide what you’ll give your attention to and act accordingly. When you see a gory video of a mob attacking a person, do not view it. When you see a picture of a person shot or badly injured, do your best to swipe away. This doesn’t make you insensitive. Consuming that type of content too much can take a toll on your mind and leave you feeling particularly unsettled.
Talk to someone
People have always said that a problem shared is a problem half-solved. This doesn’t necessarily mean that half the problem will literally go away. After all, you can’t reform an entire country’s police force by talking to your civilian mother. So, it might not solve half the problem. However, it will help you feel better. You see, humans are deeply social animals. Some of us like to believe that we are entirely independent, and we can survive without other people. Sadly, this is entirely untrue. If the conditions are right, we might be able to live well physically. However, we would still crave human attention and validation. This might be a drag sometimes. Other times, it can be a blessing because you can feel better about your problems simply by talking to someone else.
Do not bottle up your emotions
This year has been a rollercoaster ride of incredibly unfortunate events. Things have been tough from the death of some of our favorite celebrities to the injustice perpetrated on our people outside the country and the violence within the country. As such, it is completely normal for you to feel bad. It only means you’re human. However, it would be very unhealthy if you choose to bottle those emotions. You’ll become emotionally repressed, and in all honesty, the emotions would find a way to come out. Trust us when we say that it won’t be a pretty sight if it happens. So, if you feel the need to cry, do so. If you feel the need to sit down in your room alone for hours, sober and upset, do so. Just let the emotions out in whatever healthy way you can.
Take a break
Social media helps you to stay informed. But, in this time of crisis, it can also be a very toxic place. Day in, day out, you’ll see people continuously talking about the saddest events, and it can be particularly painful to witness. So, if you can, take a break from social media. It won’t solve the problems in the country. But, it would keep you mentally strong enough to continue lending your voice to the cause of Nigerians.
Pay attention to your physical health too
This means that you should sleep well, eat well, get enough sunlight, exercise, etc. You cannot afford to deprive your body of the things it needs to survive and expect to feel great afterwards. The human system isn’t designed to work that way. So, pay attention to your physical health too.
We’ve seen, heard, and experienced a lot during this time of crisis. To tell yourself that it doesn’t affect you in any way whatsoever would be to lie to yourself. Don’t do that. Take a step back and learn to take care of yourself.