Refuat Hanefesh: quarantine and mental health

Cindy MindellCommunity News

A few weeks ago, I received a beautiful booklet from USY, Refuat Hanefesh – A
Guide to Mental Health in Quarantine. Although some quarantine restrictions are gradually
being lifted, I feel that having stayed away from friends, loved one,s and services for such a long
time has affected us in so many different ways.

Researchers are writing about the emotional and spiritual consequences of a long quarantine time. As I write this, I think of each of you and I want to make sure that everyone in our congregation has the tools to take care of themselves or seek help from others. I would like to share a few tips with you that are contained in this beautiful booklet.

First, it talks about three things to remember during and after a long time of quarantine:
(1) It’s okay if you are not feeling like your most productive self, (2) Your emotions are valid, and (3) Be kind to yourself. Try to forgive yourself during times when you are struggling. Remember
that it is okay not to be okay.

This booklet also includes five mental-health tips to cope with this challenging time: (1) Consistency is key: maintain a daily routine with consistent sleep, activity and healthy eating habits.
(2) Go outside: Sunlight and fresh air are vital to keeping a healthy mind.
(3) Get moving: Take a walk outside or take a workout class in your home. Activity and exercise are essential for your mind.
(4) Do what makes you happy: try to make time for the fun things you enjoy.
(5) Stay social: connect with others. Call up friends, write them emails, text messages, or arrange a Zoom call with them.

Please remember that if you are experiencing a difficult time, it is always okay to ask for help. I dearly miss seeing you at Shul and I pray for the day when this pandemic will be over.

Rabbi Marcelo Kormis