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  • Writer's pictureDerek Banker

A Healthier 'New Normal’

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

We have an opportunity before us to establish an even stronger and more resilient global community, one that practices both physical and mental hygiene. Now is the time for individual and collective action to shift to a healthier “new normal” for all. 1. Focus every day on what you can do and take action – no matter how small. Low-tech and even no-tech solutions matter, a lot. Go outside and appreciate nature (as allowed by your local guidelines) at a slower pace to get a daily dose of physical exercise, relaxation, and vitamin D. Call that relative or friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Practice in these next few weeks to be in the moment, more mindful and supportive of those around you. We can all learn to be more flexible and have acceptance (which is not the same as acquiescence) of what we can do with the present rather than what we cannot do. 2. Explore – even shape – the new mental health toolkit. COVID-19 is bringing massive attention to the growing resources available online. Let’s explore and master the full breadth of opportunities for meaningful social connection, mindfulness, self-care, distance learning, telemedicine, and beyond. There’s no time like the present to review our use of tech in general and mental health tech in particular. Apps won’t magically grant wellness, sleep, or an end to poor mental health, but they are tools that we can learn to use with wisdom. The Global Future Council on Technology for Mental Health has issued a call to action to empower 8 billion minds via wise and ethical development and adoption of a wide array of emerging technologies. How technology can support better mental health In response to COVID-19, many developers are offering free online tools that can be used to spark more self-reflection and to develop better sleep, exercise, and self-care habits. Cultivating these habits can have significant and most timely effects, such as changes in our immune systems. If widespread enough, this realization can revolutionize how we tackle general and mental health going forward. 3. Empower those around you. We can all take ownership of and be supportive and responsive to our communities – our families, neighborhoods, work, societies. A recent US study has shown that the most effective public health messages in slowing the spread of COVID-19 are those that focus on considerations of duty and responsibility to family, friends, and fellow citizens, not just our own personal agenda. World Economic Forum

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