This may seem simple enough, but you might be surprised just how good it can feel to take a few slow deep breaths in and out. While our lives have seemingly slowed down, our minds have sped up. There is a lot of new things to think about, let alone worry about, so remember to give your mind a break. This might even mean journaling, putting on your favorite music, or going for a jog.
2. Be present.
It’s easy to get caught up in the future. Many things about our lives seem more uncertain than ever. Remember to bring yourself back to the moment. Take notice of the sights and sounds and find pleasure in the little things.
3. Stick to your schedule.
Many of our daily habits have been uprooted, while many of the normal obligations of life still persist – work, school, etc. Adjust to your new and old demands accordingly. Having a set schedule that accommodates both the things you have to do and the things you want to do can ensure you find positivity and productivity in your day.
4. Limit screen time.
Being stuck mostly indoors and not being able to attend as many social gatherings as usual, it can be tempting to spend your newfound free time scrolling social media. And yet, intentionally putting down your phone or computer to get outside, play an engaging game, or call a friend or family member will help keep your mind and your emotions stimulated.
Physical activity releases endorphins which is attributed to feelings of elation and happiness. Doing some sort of activity (preferably outside), even if it’s just a walk around the block, will encourage overall mental well-being.
6. Stay in touch.
Give a friend or family member a call at least once a day (texts don’t count). Staying emotionally connected to the important people in your life will help you maintain a healthier emotional perspective and sense of comfort in the familiarity and solidarity it brings.
7. Do regular personal check ins.
Pay attention to your mood and attitude. You yourself are the best manager of your mental health. If you’re feeling unusually agitated or angry, think thoughtfully about why you could be feeling or reacting this way. It might be time to make use of one of the resources described above to help lighten your mood. Maybe go for a walk, take a long bath, or read a good book.
8. Ask for help.
The other component of being your own mental health manager is not being afraid or ashamed to ask for help. They say it takes a village to raise a child but really it takes a village to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your friends and family want to help. Talking through issues or problems is usually the first step in addressing and working through them.
9. We’re all in this together.
Not only are we all human, but we are all living through this same unusual period of history. No matter how different our problems may seem, every race, gender, and class are experiencing some sort of hardship in the wake of this pandemic. Compassion and patience, especially as it relates to our mental health, is essential.
And finally, the most important thing to remember is that it’s okay. It’s all okay. Whatever you are feeling is valid and normal and likely temporary. For more information and resources, visit the link included above.