Mental health is a big issue in pandemic life. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a few mental health tips to help pass the day in a positive way. Many of us are back to basics with so much of our normal lives not available in Covid-19. That means simple activities like taking a walk are now super important.
The goods news is there are so many amazing tools available to us if we are willing to find them and give them a try. From meditation apps to health apps that will tell us when we should go outside and take a walk, it’s important to find a few soothing activities that work for you and then practice them daily.
Why use the word ‘practice’? Because it takes practice to make something stick. But from my experience, if you take ten minutes every day for 30 days and do any one of these things, you will see some improvement in your mood, or general health and well-being.
1. Get outside and into nature
Even if you live in New York City, find a park or go to the closest river. Being outside in the fresh air can really help if you’re feeling stressed, or sad. Studies have proven that being in nature reduces anxiety as well. Schedule walks into your day to break up the time. Add some music to the mix if that sparks your fancy.
2. Put down your technology
We’ve all heard about how technology is addictive and can cause depression and loneliness. Social media has created a FOMO monster in all of us at one time or another. Try putting down your phone and turning off your computer so you can focus on the people and things around you. Especially with so much turmoil in the news and politics.
3. Try ten minutes of meditation
I was told to meditate for years before I made it a practice. Meditation is one of the greatest tools we have as humans. We can help our brains relax and create space for new thoughts simply by relaxing and tapping into our mental resources. Try Calm or Headspace if you need some guidance.
4. Any exercise ritual, including simply walking for 10-20 minutes
Exercise helps raise endorphins. That’s a fact. I also know people who struggle with anxiety who exercise every morning because they believe the rhythmic breathing helps set them straight for the day. Whatever it is, when you want to get out of your head, get into your body!! Want yoga at home? Check out Urban 728, a studio out of LA that offers free online classes on their YouTube Channel.
Everybody’s talking about it for a reason. Whether you’re into mani-pedis and massages, or learning new things and growing your recovery, take time to do the things you love, and that makes you happy. As you stay in recovery, self-care may change and turn into financial accountability or becoming a Vegetarian. Whatever works for your mental health.
6. Financial planning
Personally, a lot of my anxiety came from financial “vagueness”. Today, I have people who help me look at my finances and make smart decisions. There are recovery programs for people who have anxiety around money, so I urge you to check them out if you need support around money issues in the pandemic.
7. Care for an animal
If you are able, spend some time with an animal or two. I have two dogs and we have a third coming home soon. It will be chaos, but it will keep us busy this winter and animals give so much back. If you can’t have one at home, volunteer, or make an effort to see if there’s any natural wildlife in your area you might be able to see.
8. Connect with other people
Isolation and loneliness are killers! Remember to connect with other people as often as you can through Zoom, Facetime, or in a safe, socially-distant way. It will do as much for you as it will for them. A simple check-in call can make all the difference to someone who is struggling right now. Helping others through their issues is also a great way to feel better and be of service at the same time.