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The news of the severe 10-day lockdown starting Thursday in
Lebanon is tough to process, alongside everything the citizens of the country
are already living. The mere idea of not being able to leave the house (unless
it’s to the pharmacy) and not interacting with friends and family, can have a
huge impact on our mental health. Add to that the daily updates on active
COVID-19 cases and death tolls, a full force financial crisis and a relatively
negative sentiment everywhere you look. However, it’s a vital step to safeguard
our communities and lessen the burden on the already packed hospitals and
healthcare workers, with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon.

Let us agree that it is not easy entering a total lockdown,
but also that it is an integral step that we need to be responsible for to stay
safe. The silver lining is that we will all be in it together, combatting the
spread of the virus.

In such times, mental health is very important, as all these
factors can have an impact on you, your happiness, productivity levels and of
course, your immune system. Here are ways to keep your mental health in check,
and approach the coming 10 days with a calmer mind.

Firstly, what makes us happy?

In this TED talk, Harvard launched the longest study in
history to identify what keeps us happy and healthy. It isn’t money nor fame,
but the simpler things in life that we often take for granted. Check out the
three important lessons that this research showed, and what you can start
thinking about during the lockdown.

Now that you have watched it, what’s next?

The study shows that one of the most important contributors
to our mental health and happiness is having close relationships, such as
family, friends, social circles and spouses. Personal connection is vital to
stimulate our minds and can boost our moods. With the lockdown, we may not be
able to connect with others in person, but we do have options such as video
conferencing apps that can make us feel connected. Schedule calls with your
friends ahead of time (those in Lebanon and those locked down in other
countries) and make it a habit to check in on one another.

In your idle time, how about you…

Have fun and engage in activities during the lockdown to
stimulate the mind

When you are not working, it is important to fill up your
time with meaningful activities. Binge watching Netflix shows might be an
appealing option, but it will not have a positive impact on your mental health.
Neither would spending all your time on social media.

If you do insist to get your daily dose of screen time, why
not watch insightful TED talks. Here is a list of the 10 most watched TED talks in the world. Take notes, see how you can benefit from them and implement the
lessons, stories and tools into your everyday life. You may also be inspired.

“I do read, just not books,” is a common phrase that we
often hear from our circles. However, reading has its many benefits. Set a
reading challenge to get through as many books as possible. Apps like Goodreads
can help you keep track and find the perfect book for you. This cool startup
also have a huge library of free books that can get you started:
https://www.inkitt.com/

There are also thousands of online tutorials from how to
make your own face mask, to how to play the guitar. If you have a hobby you
want to pick up, a skill you want to improve whether in music, writing,
creative thinking or even to learn how to grow your own garden on your balcony,
get on YouTube and start your search.

You can even tap into your creative streak and start
painting, drawing, sketching, photography and craft making. Then try your luck
in the kitchen as well, and find easy recipes online and test them out on your
family. Just don’t make the walk to the fridge your workout routine.

Get moving

The options of going to the gym or for a long walk are now
long gone (it’s just for 10 days). But that is no excuse not to get moving,
even if it is at home. There are free Apps that you can customize your workouts
on, as well as thousands of videos online, that can keep you fit during the
lockdown. Exercising has a positive impact on your mental health and can keep
you in shape.

Each one of us should be committed to come out of this
lockdown, better and stronger. Let us challenge ourselves and stay safe, to
save lives. Every single one of our actions counts to protecting our community
and loved ones.

To those currently battling COVID-19 or have a loved one who
has been infected, we wish you strength and a very speedy recovery. We hope
that if we stay safe and take measures to protect our loved ones, this will be
a temporary phase that will soon pass.

#StayHome #StaySafe #StayStrong

by Beirut Digital District

This content was originally published here.

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