'25 on, 5 off' and other tips to protect mental well-being

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 31 2021 04:57 PM | Updated as of May 31 2021 06:55 PM

MANILA -- Google recently held a virtual Well-being Day in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month this May.

The event featured psychologist Ronald del Castillo, who shared tips on protecting one's mental well-being amid the pandemic. 

"The traditional way of thinking about mental health is either I have depression or I don't, either I have anxiety or I don't, either I have an illness or I don't... My invitation to you is to get out of that black and white thinking. Many of us will never be depressed, common as it is... but it doesn't mean I am well," he said. 

"When you think about physical health, the idea still applies. Just because I don't have cancer doesn't mean I'm doing okay," he added, as he encouraged the public to expand their understanding of mental health to include well-being. 

Here's a recap of Del Castillo's tips during the Well-being Day event: 

1. TRY JOURNAL WRITING

"Writing down things by hand slows down your brain, because your handwriting cannot physically keep up with how fast your brain is going."

2. 25 ON, 5 OFF

"I understand that some people don't have this luxury but if you do... work and concentrate for 25 minutes and take a break for five minutes. And you do this throughout the day."

"Our brain starts to slow down around 30 minutes, our concentration starts to go down. To sort of recharge, I need to get away from my work for just a few minutes before I return."

3. 4-7-8

"It's called the 4-7-8... Breathe through your nose for four seconds, hold it for seven seconds, and exhale slowly as you can for eight seconds. Then you do that two or three times."

4. BITE-SIZE GOALS, NOT MOUTHFUL CHUNKS

"Do little things before you move on to the next one. You break it down, learn each part... It takes 21 days of practice for a behavior to become a habit. Just take one thing at a time and learn each part before you move on."

5. PRACTICE DOING NOTHING

"We live in a world where we should take care of ourselves to be more productive... No, my invitation to you is to disconnect the two. You should be taking care of yourself because you are of value as you are, regardless of your performance or productivity level."

In relation to this, Google is promoting a tool that helps users be aware of their digital habits such as checking one's phone and using apps, with options to set limits and timers. 

The Digital Wellbeing app has features such as Focus Mode, where users can see which apps distract them the most, and chose which ones they want to pause and take a break from. 

There is also the Bedtime Mode, where a sleeping schedule can be set; and a Do Not Disturb feature so one will not be alerted by notifications. 

Aside from the Digital Wellbeing app, Google search has also been made to show the National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline -- or (0966) 351-4518 -- when a person types in related keywords to remind them to seek professional help.

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