How can persons with disabilities manage their mental health during this COVID
Gifted community center has been in the forefront sharing tips, food items as well as other
care packages to persons with disabilities during this hard season. We have also been
sharing information online based on the World Health Organization and the Ministry of
Health sources. So far, we have reached over 100 persons with disabilities in Kibera.
So why this article?
The Government of Kenya through Health Cabinet Secretary CS Mutahi Kagwe continues to
emphasize on quarantine, self-isolation, and working from home as some of the ways to stop
the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
And while this effort is for the public good — and one of the best ways to “flatten the curve”
of the virus proliferation — navigating the new normal won’t be easy especially if you are
used to outdoors. For persons with disabilities, it is becoming difficult as most of them work
hand to mouth and need to be out there.
To support persons with disabilities during this season in terms of their mental health, below
are some of the tips we have wrapped up for you:
- Sleep well to heighten your moods and boost immunity.
The new working house has seen us spending more time in the house. This does not
give us an excuse to spend more time staring at screens. Instead we can use this
time to get adequate good-quality sleep which boosts your immunity and helps you
fight infections including the one brought by COVID 19.
Sleep deprivation has been proven as a sure way of heightening stress levels and
causing us to overreact to stressors. More sleep equals less irritability, less mood
swings, and more rest for our brains to boost productivity.
- Physical Activity
Spending a lot more time at home does not mean you get to be a couch potato. Any
form of physical activity will help sharpen your focus and aids sleep. Helping with
house chores, cleaning out your house, or even simply moving around your limbs
can serve as a workout session. Try to stretch, go to your sitting room and do some
squats, have someone massage you, put on your mask and take a walk around your
- Snack Carefully
Staying indoors comes with feeling hungry almost all of the time and there is a
tendency to snack almost throughout the day. Have fruits, and nuts around you. You
need to snack healthy. Fruits are very essential for your immunity.
- Consume less sugar or avoid sugar
Scientists have proven that high amounts of sugar have a stress-heightening effect.
Warm soothing foods like bone soup and sugarless teas can help thwart stress.
Other helpful foods include whole-grains, bananas, oranges, water, and traditional
- Check on your neighbour while practicing social distancing
An act of kindness can go a long way in boosting your moods and increasing
optimism about the future. Checking on your friends and family through a call or even
a text message will do.
- Avoid Nonstop consumption of news
Although it is important to stay informed and alert to what is happening around us,
avoid bombarding yourself with inaccurate or depressing information especially before
bed or as soon as you wake up.
Do you miss reading a book or listening to an audiobook during your commute to and
from Nairobi or when work is slow? Pick up the book again, and travel through the
author’s mind. Reading can be relaxing and a good read can kill the monotony that
comes with self-isolation.
- Write, paint, draw
Be creative. Write a poem, publish a blog, paint or draw yourself. You will be surprised
at how much using your creativity will improve your moods
Indoor games can be entertaining and educative. The options are endless: puzzles,
chess, jenga, monopoly etc.
- Do you
Finally, if you have already figured out what reduces your stress levels, do………..Just that.
This list is not exhaustive, and can never be, Ï end this in the words of Dalai Lama “If you
feel burnout setting in, if you feel exhausted and demoralised, it is best for the sake of
everyone to withdraw and reset yourself.’’
Author Hellen Auma.
From: Gifted Community Centre, GCC