Lifestyle

World Mental Health Day: Adjusting to the new normal

October 2020

Georgetown University in Qatar’s Mental Health Society

Coronavirus has accelerated the ongoing digital revolution, with connections and conversations increasingly taking place online. Like many others, students worldwide have turned to digital solutions to stay connected to their friends, families and studies. This is an effective way of maintaining communities during this time, but can be a strain to physical and mental wellbeing if not properly managed.

Georgetown University in Qatar’s Mental Health Awareness Society, a student community dedicated to communal support and changing the conversation about mental health, has been a lifeline for many. Through their events, support groups, and social media network, their aim is “to play a part in ensuring that people begin to realise the importance of mental health, so that they not only start to take care of themselves but their friends and family as well”.

“It is very uplifting to have a community like this during these times, because even though it might get stressful and overpowering, I know that I can also talk to the fellow members who might be going through the same or similar situation,” says member Salome Mamuladze.

Some of the society’s members have shared how they are navigating the new normal, while prioritizing their health and wellbeing.

Yasmina El Argoubi thinks planning your day in advance is essential, as having time dedicated to both work and play builds a healthy balance and routine that is easy to follow. “I try to keep doing activities I enjoy and especially do a type of exercising every day,” she says.

In order to stay productive and motivated, Salome has learnt that setting small, daily goals gives her the drive to stay on course. “I noticed that when I prioritize my mental health and wellbeing, I become more optimistic, hopeful, and productive”.

It is also vital to recognise when you need a break and to “give yourself permission” to take one without feelings of guilt. “Don’t forget that physical health is interconnected with mental health. Therefore try to keep active, stay hydrated, and eat well,” Salome explains.

Salome has also felt the tiring effects of spending too much time online. She recommends devoting time in your day to other activities such as practicing art, playing board games with family or exercising.

Anam Fatima has found a new way to unwind when she feels stressed, by practicing meditation. Both meditation and exercise has been “a great way to freshen up and have the energy to get through the day,” she reflects.

All three members also noted that no one is alone in this journey. “We are in this together. Use this time to get to know yourself and discover the things you like,” says Yasmina.

“The pandemic brought with itself hardships, but also opportunities for us to self-reflect. Don’t be too hard on yourself and remember to just work at your own pace,” explains Anam.