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Oamaru counsellor Amanda Acheson. PHOTO: FILE

Being kind to your mind can be the best medicine, Amanda Acheson says.

The Oamaru counsellor, who recently tested positive for Covid-19, said during the pandemic, people needed to give not only their bodies, but also their minds, the opportunity to relax.

‘‘Covid isn’t just physical. Our bodies feel best when we allow them to rest and Covid can be debilitating for our whole body, not just physically,’’ Mrs Acheson said.

‘‘The idea of our brains needing rest too is underrated. We can feel physical symptoms of a stressed brain and not recognise it in this non-stop culture that values business.’’

It had been a difficult time for everyone recently, and many people did not like to admit when they were struggling mentally, Mrs Acheson said.

‘‘When we feel physically unwell we can often make sense of it, but when we feel emotionally stressed that is often a harder pill to swallow, and to admit to our whanau that we need to rest is difficult to do.’’

Being kind to your mind could be preventive — it was ‘‘like releasing a pressure valve before it blows’’.

Simple strategies such as being creative, social interaction and having gratitude could help during times of hardship, she said.

Being creative could be as simple as doing a jigsaw, or growing a plant, and it also increased focus, lowered blood pressure and reduced stress.

Even if people were in isolation, social interaction was important, and having a ‘‘virtual happy hour’’on Zoom could make a huge difference.

‘‘A Harvard study showed that strong positive relationships directly correlated to overall happiness, joy and contentment in life,’’ Mrs Acheson said.

Studies have also shown the benefits gratitude has on a person socially, mentally, physically, spiritually and psychologically.

‘‘What we see is our positive mental disposition flows into areas of our lives even when things are tough.’’

Having a routine, noticing things to be thankful for, prayer and encouraging others daily could all help, she said.

‘‘[They] all help focus us on the blessings we have surrounding us every day, protecting us from [becoming overwhelmed] in this temporary Covid chaos.’’