Behind the obvious economic effects of these developments are quieter yet no less critical effects that the pandemic has had on our mental health and the quality of our daily living.

People have been met with the sudden loss of friends or family, some have lost their jobs or had to permanently close down their businesses and others have found themselves estranged from their families for many lonely months. These incidents surely leave a trail of trauma, panic, loneliness, anxiety, leading to psychological stress on individuals as well as emotional strain on many relationships.

The Mastercard Foundation in this article recommends three ways to effectively deal with the constraints that have come with COVID-19.

FORM A SOCIAL BUBBLE

With social gatherings drastically reduced during the pandemic period and more people working from home, it’s easy for so many to find themselves in cold isolation and loneliness. This can be dangerous and negatively-impacting to one's mental health. If you find yourself suffocating from the lack of human connection, it is important to do something about it. A good way to remedy the situation is to form a closely-knit and exclusive circle with a small group of people who you know and are most comfortable hanging around. Everyone within your small group must agree to strictly adhere to safety measures against COVID-19 when interacting with people and places outside of your group.

FIND TIME TO UNPLUG

Television, social media and online entertainment have been the major channel for relaxation that most people could afford during this season. Unfortunately, an unhealthy attachment to the media can also come with grave consequences for one’s mental health. This is because constantly feeding on gloomy headlines, upsetting news stories or the uncensored alarmist rumors that travel wide on social media can lead to anxiety, panic and depression. In order to keep a balanced mental space, it is important for you to take short breaks to disconnect from the media and find some quietness to relax, meditate or unwind differently. For example, you can limit your social media use during the weekend and instead opt for a quiet walk or some artistic activity like painting.

CREATE A FUN ACTIVITY

The months following the pandemic, have been slow, tedious and drab. With everyone waiting through uncertainty for the next good news to come. This has not only been emotionally draining, but also physically demotivating. However it doesn’t have to be so. You can deliberately invent ways to break the boredom, by creating your own activity and inviting others to join you. For example, you can design a simple online board game that you can enjoy with the rest of your family. Or start an online challenge - perhaps a meme challenge, a book-reading challenge or an online treasure hunt and ask friends to join you.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic was an unprecedented occurrence that has greatly disrupted our normal daily living, there is still a way to find balance and sanity in the midst of it all. In the last few months, the Mastercard Foundation has committed to helping communities in Africa recover and rebuild in the wake of the pandemic.

To learn more visit mastercardfdn.org/covid19-recovery-resilience-program.

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