April 5th 2020
Life’s been crazy lately and I think everyone needs a bit of a mental health tune-up.
I am writing this post on March 22nd to go out on April 5th so I am not sure of the state of the world currently but, right now, we are all still in quarantine. Where I live quarantine is being taken relatively lightly compared to other states like New York who are currently dealing with over 7,000 Coronavirus cases and have no chance of being able to go anywhere right now. However, regardless of the circumstances, the energy life and the world are exuding are incredibly stressful and it is more important now than ever to focus on ways to improve your mental health.
I know that not everyone’s mental health triggers are the same, but here is a list of ways that I am actively working to improve my mental health in a time that isn’t conducive to living life to its fullest.
- Spend time outdoors- While I am not encouraging going to beaches or heavily populated outdoor areas, I do encourage getting outside. You can’t quarantine nature and, as long as you are aware of your personal space and stay cautious, you should be fine. Take a long hike or lay out in your yard or on your balcony! Getting a little fresh air and reminding yourself that there is still a world outside your home is refreshing and comforting.
- Read a book and/or learn something new- For me, I find that the content that gets me the most engaged is wellness and spiritual content. I like reading about personal growth, self-help, and ways to live a more spiritually in touch life. So, for me, reading about ways to improve my life helps inspire me and clears my head quite a bit. But don’t feel limited to a genre or feel like everything you read must teach you something. Sometimes we need to just need to escape the stresses of life with a good book takes us into another world.
- Call or video chat with someone- This has been something that has helped me immensely since I moved away from NY and has been just as helpful in this current situation. Being able to spend time with friends digitally is one of the greatest gifts of the 21st century. I am so grateful to live in a day and age where I can spend hours talking to friends, seeing their face no matter their distance, and enjoying conversation or just comfortable silence together.
- Take some time to write- Writing has been the biggest thing on my mind since this whole ordeal began. Since everything is closed and everyone is just staying in, I have no excuse to not write. I am hoping the writing habits I develop during this time will carry over into when everything returns to somewhat normal.
- Get moving- My Nanny has been pushing me to workout for the sake of my mental health and she is entirely right that I should be. I always feel better when I am being active or doing yoga so I definitely see the correlation between physical activity and mental wellness. I plan to start dedicating more time to yoga throughout the week now and even after this is all over so I can get into a healthy routine that is sustainable for me.
- Make some serious plans- I find that the times when my mental health is the worst is when I feel like I have nothing to look forward to. So, during this time where I can’t do much, I am doing research on things I can plan to do later this year that I can look forward to. Trips I want to take, yoga studios I want to test out, courses or certifications I want to explore, even books I want to read. Just making plans to take my mind off the current moment helps me a lot.
- Getting enough sleep, but not too much- I find that a bad anxiety and depression habit of mine is that, when I am really in a funk, I either want to sleep all the time or not at all. Lately it has been more on the side of wanting to sleep all the time which is why I have been trying to stay up until between 9 and 10 and waking up between 6 and 7. That way, I know I am getting enough sleep but not so much that I sink into a slump of sleeping all day and not wanting to do anything.
- Learn a new skill- Whether it be cooking, art, writing, yoga, or something more obscure, now is the time to try out a new hobby or skill that you normally wouldn’t dedicate time to. Learning new things is not only practical but fulfilling. I find that learning new skills is a great way for me to improve my relationship with myself and add dimension and depth to who I am as a person.
- Bathe and change clothes regularly- This is something that is super hard to do when I get in a depressive slump. Especially now that I am not leaving the house frequently, my motivation to change clothes or wash my hair has decreased but being clean and putting on a fresh set of clothes really helps me feel way more put together and comfortable. If this is something you deal with too, I recommend setting a time in which you plan to do these things each day so you can slowly start building the habit if you’re having a hard time self-motivating.
- Change up your surroundings- I find that I get really apathetic and sluggish when my surroundings are either messy or boring. Since you have a lot of time to spend at home, now would be a perfect time to move around some furniture, do a deep clean, and make some wish lists of things to buy once this is all over (if it isn’t already). I have been helping my boyfriend tidy his house over the course of the past couple of weeks which has been helping me de-stress as much as it has been helping him.
Overall, the best way to improve your mental health during a time of struggle is knowing you have people to lean on whether they be friends, family, a mental health professional, or even just supportive people online. I would be happy to message with anyone who is feeling lonely and just needs someone to take their mind of things. We are all in this together. Use this time to focus on bringing yourself to your highest potential!