Without a doubt, these are unprecedented times for us, our families, friends, and colleagues. Life doesn’t always give warnings or prepare us enough to go through times of uncertainty, especially not times like these. One way or another you or someone you know has been impacted by this pandemic. And for many, it's weighing heavily on their mental wellness.
Just watching the reports on the news for just a couple of hours can have a negative impact on how we feel. However, despite the times, it’s important to keep both our physical and mental health in shape, especially for our peace of mind.
Doing this will not only help us be our best selves (given the circumstances) but it will also allow us to be there for our loved ones.
Here are some tips for staying safe at home, managing stress and anxiety and looking after yourself.
1. Establish a daily routine so you have something to look forward to
Taking a shower, getting dressed, creating a schedule for your workday. These are all things you can do to establish a daily routine. You can even map out time to journal, watch tv or work on a hobby. The whole idea is to create a positive environment that you can look forward to each day.
Having a routine helps you avoid staying stuck in your emotions. Especially for extended periods of time which can have a negative effect on your mental wellness.
You can establish a routine by making a list of things to do during the week and on the weekends. Once you have this list in place and you begin working through it, you can adjust it accordingly.
2. Stay active for a mental wellness boost
Incorporating some form of daily exercise into your routine can have a positive impact on your mental health. This is because exercise stimulates the chemicals in your brain making you feel happier. And not just that, exercise can have a positive impact on various other aspects of your life.
From helping you maintain your weight to combating health conditions and even promoting better sleep. It's definitely worth building a form of exercise into your routine. There are lots of free at-home workout videos on YouTube. There are also free apps like Nike Training Club to help out with this.
3. Create lists for the things you need as part of your normal life routine
Unfortunately, going to the grocery store is no longer a mindless or fun activity. It requires that you take measures to keep yourself safe e.g. wearing a mask and/or gloves, practicing social distancing, etc. In addition, certain items are hard to find and as a result, many people are having to do without or find alternatives.
However, by creating lists and spending time to find what you need, either online or at the store, can help you develop a sense of routine in this new normal. A new normal that we are all having to adjust to.
Buying enough to last you a couple of weeks, based on your list and then meal planning according to what you have can also help. This way you can minimize any anxiety you feel from making multiple grocery store trips.
By doing this, you are establishing a flow and in a way bringing normalcy to your life the best way you can.
4. Disconnect from the media
With so much negative news and constant updates about what's happening around the world, watching the news can quickly get overwhelming.
To create a sense of balance in your life, try limiting how much time you spend consuming the news or on social media. This will give you a mental break and minimize your stress and anxiety about things you cannot control.
5. Find ways to stay entertained
Finding ways to stay entertained is a great boost to your mental wellness. This is because entertainment helps you take your mind off pressing concerns. So read a good book, catch up on a podcast or work your way through those Netflix shows everyone keeps talking about. Doing these things can be a great way to keep your mind occupied - in a good way.
6. Work on that project you've been putting off
Is there a project at home you've been putting off? Perhaps a side hustle idea to increase your income streams or a fun hobby you haven't had time for? It could also be revising your goals or organizing your home.
Carving out time and putting some energy towards getting those things done is great for your mental health. You get to stay productive and work on a goal. This is turn, will give you a sense of accomplishment once you get the task completed.
7. Maintain your social connections
Check-in and stay connected with your family, friends and social networks online. Your social connections are extremely important to your wellness.
In times of uncertainty, it's easy to retreat into a shell. However, studies like this one from Harvard University, show that social connections can improve your emotional well-being and increase the longevity of your life.
8. Meditate, pray, journal, embrace your quiet time
Finally, be aware of your thoughts and emotions. To do this, spend time meditating, doing breathing exercises, praying or journaling. Finding quiet time for yourself in a world full of chaos can help to minimize your anxiety. Leaning on your faith through these uncertain times will keep you grounded.
It could mean waking up early if you have a busy household or sleeping a little later and that's ok. Making time for yourself is important.
Remember, even when things are out of your control, you can control how you respond. Times are uncertain, but we will get to the other side of this. As you focus on your mental wellness, be sure to involve your partner, kids, friends, and family too.