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  • Writer's pictureKatarina Lindley

Phone A Friend

Written by my dearest friend Dr Naseeba Kathrada

These past few years have been physically and mentally exhausting for most people around the world. Loss of lives and livelihoods, living in constant fear, being bombarded with negative stories on social media, isolation, disconnection from friends and family, and adjusting to the 'new normal. Wearing masks for long hours each day, the looting and now floods in KZN and the constant changes in regulations and policies have added to the mental strain.

Here are 5 tips that can help you:

1. Use guided meditation and prayer.

Daily prayer and remembrance of God is a great way to distract yourself from the stress of day-to-day life. Guided meditation is also very helpful. There are many guided meditations available on the internet that can help you find 5 minutes of centered relaxation.

2. Practice deep breathing.

Deep breathing is a great way to reduce the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body's response to a perceived threat. Deep breaths taken in to a count of five seconds, held for two seconds, and released to a count of five seconds, can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps reduce the overall stress and anxiety you may be experiencing.

3. Maintain physical exercise and good nutrition.

Physical exercise and nutrition are two important components of how you respond to stress. When your body is healthy, your mind can be healthy and vice versa. Physical exercise is proven to be a great stress reliever and also helps to improve your overall quality of life. Nutrition is important as stress can deplete certain vitamins, such as A, B complex, C, and E. Maintaining proper nutrition not only helps your body feel better but your mind as well, which allows you to better combat stress.

4. Manage social media time.

Spending time on social media sites can become stressful, not only by what we might see on them but also because the time you are spending on social media might be best spent enjoying visiting with friends, being outside enjoying the weather, or reading a great book.

5. Connect with others.

Humans are social beings. You need to have connections with people to feel supported. Finding a sense of community — whether at work, with a religious organization, or through shared activities, such as organized sports — is important to your well-being. Enjoying a shared activity allows you to find support and foster relationships that can be supportive in difficult times.

My personal favourites are talking to God and talking to friends. Hearing your own thoughts out loud is very helpful in making sense of your feelings.

The key to a healthy life is having a healthy mind. Keep your thoughts positive and strengthen your mental reserve. Self-care is how you take your power back.

Dr. Kat (or as we lovingly call her the original Dr. Kat, I’m the other one)

Dr. Naseeba Kathrada, is a qualified general practitioner from South Africa. She specializes in the weight loss program. She graduated from the University of Natal Medical School, SA.

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