Unless you live off-grid, detached from the news, television, and the internet, you’re aware that 2020 has taken its toll. Lives have been altered by disease and illness, financial concerns and job stability have affected many, and social justice has taken center stage. No matter your viewpoints, your responses can include increased stress and anxiety. What can you do during this time for yourself? Try these 5 quick tips.
Find your tribe
Most often during times like this, people can feel isolated and alone. With the recent social distancing measures in place, our social connections have declined. We don’t see our coworkers, family, and friends as much as we normally have.
Opening the lines of communication with family, friends either by telephone, zoom, or social distancing gatherings on the front lawn.
Remember, while some areas have begun lifting restrictions, the virus is still relevant. Take precautions for your physical health, and help your mental wellness by reaching out to others.
Those you share your same viewpoints or will lend an open mind to your worries is sometimes the best medicine.
Focus on fun
During your week, set aside time for yourself to do something you enjoy.
Read a book. Binge watch a favorite series. Watch a movie that always brings a good laugh. Break out a puzzle on the dining room table. Plan a family game night.
If you are able to, take time to literally step away from everything and escape into nature. Take a long walk outside in the forest, through a park, or even around your neighborhood.
Some people hear the word meditate and have images of someone sitting perfectly still on the floor.
Fact is, you can take the time to clear your head, focus within and reset yourself at any point throughout the day.
There are many apps that can help guide you through meditation sessions – some taking just a few minutes of your day. Here are two apps that we recommend.
Headspace: Perfect for those new to meditation. There are sessions that last just a few moments, and they even offer quick little “SOS” moments for times when feeling overwhelmed, panicked, flustered, burned out or in pain. If you have found yourself unemployed recently, there is a longer free trial available at this time.
Calm: Another very popular site is Calm. With the focus on meditation and sleep, this site also offers free trial.
With both sites offering free trials, check out both sites to see which one fits your needs.
Get your rest
A good bedtime routine can help during stressful or uncertain times. While being home more can disrupt most daily routines, try to keep your sleep schedule intact.
While occasionally staying up late, sleeping in, or taking a quick nap can be refreshing, don’t make it a habit.
Keep a consistent schedule for going to bed each night and waking each morning. Try to disconnect from electronics and social media to help let your mind unwind an hour before bedtime.
Focus on self-care with a warm shower, a relaxing bath, or pampering skincare routine to wind down the day. Read a book, listen to music, or quietly enjoy a few minutes of meditation with Headspace or Calm.
Sometimes it isn’t easy and even after trying different steps to help, you’ll need more than just some good sleep or a supportive friend.
And that’s ok.
During stressful times, sometimes there aren’t easy answers. Sometimes there are no quick fixes. But there are always resources and those willing to help.
Please reach out to these resources listed below or to your primary care provider’s office for additional, local resources.
Living with Mental Health during a Pandemic: This short audio from the University of Michigan Medicine is important reinforcement on how to handle work, being home, mental health and wellness during this time.
National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-TALK (8255) If you or have concerns about a loved one with thoughts on suicide, please call.
APA American Psychological Association: Statement on the racism pandemic as well as a variety of resources, protecting your mental health, and finding energy with anger.
Heads Together: While the above resources are from the United States, the United Kingdom is promoting amazing mental health awareness through Heads Together and this site has some amazing tools for everyone.