A Mental Health Regimen for Stressful Times
Since the pandemic began, many have experienced severe stress, irritability, anger, and anxiety. Your newsfeed may be more negative than in the past, and you miss quality time with your friends and family without masking up, social distancing, and elbow taps. One of the most important coping mechanisms is fostering a healthy mindset.
Often when it comes to healthy coping, we begin too late. We underestimate the duration and grow weary in the middle of chaos. Just as your body grows weary during a marathon, your mind is exhausted from the day-to-day stressors that come with being in a pandemic. If you are willing to advocate for yourself and do your part of maintaining and strengthening your mental health, you will feel more confident and capable to help lead your family through this challenging time. Here are suggestions that can help:
1. Start a movement plan. Walking is an excellent way to allow your mind to escape anxious thoughts, lower your blood pressure, and reduce stress hormones. It helps you sleep better, which also helps improve your mental health.
2. Take 5 minutes each day for meditation or prayer. Each of these activities helps clear our clutter minds of negative worry by focusing on something bigger and deeper.
3. Keep a gratitude and success journal. When we write lists of what we’re grateful for or positive things that have happened, it helps reset perspective. We begin to feel more positive about our lives. Sharing your gratitude for the people who make a difference in your life is also a powerful mood lifter for the person you’re thankful for.
4. Talk to yourself as if from a friend’s perspective. When you become stressed and overwhelmed, you become more critical of yourself. When you talk harshly to yourself, you begin the downward cycle of shame, guilt, and doubt. Talking to yourself like you would talk to a good friend restores confidence and compassion.
5. Limit what you post, read, and retell on social media. Times are challenging and negative social media posts reflect it. It’s easy to get sucked into negative posts and let it alter your reality. Limiting your engagement can protect you from reacting to other’s angry or hurtful comments. Replace going online by volunteering or starting a new book or habit.
6. Connect with someone supportive every day. We need each other to connect and heal. Emotional connection strengthens our brain’s ability to cope with stress. You don’t need a lot of friends, but you do need at least one person who cares. If no one calls you, make it your new goal to call or message someone you know each day and check on them. Everyone is carrying worries and concerns; some are reluctant to reach out because they are afraid of rejection. Be brave, make it your goal to be someone who cares.
Taking care of others during a stressful time begins with you taking care of you. Begin by strengthening your mental health, one exercise at a time.