Taking care of your mental health
15 activities for improving mental health during this time — MP Edition 028
If you’re feeling new, increased, or unexpected amounts of anxiety during this time, know that you’re not alone. We’re all collectively going through this pandemic together, and many people all over the world are struggling with the same feelings you’re experiencing. There’s no right or wrong way to respond during this time.
While quarantine and social distancing are in place for the majority of the world to limit the spread of the coronavirus, it’s more important than ever to take care of your mental well-being.
Humans are innately social. A quarantine can have some implications on your mental health, even if you’re an introvert. A recent study looked at the psychological impact of quarantine. Symptoms included anxiety, anger, insomnia, depression, and more. The report also found that symptoms were exacerbated by stressors related to quarantine, such as infection fears, boredom, financial loss, and worry over insufficient supplies.
Signs of declining mental healthWhen it comes to taking care of your mental health, the CDC notes that these are common symptoms:
- Post-traumatic stress (PTSD) symptoms
- Depressive symptoms
- Low mood
- Emotional disturbance
- Emotional exhaustion
Activities for mental health
Everyone is different - what works for someone else may not work for you. The activities below are suggestions for you to try out.
Meditation can help clear your mind. Try to make time in your day for at least five minutes of meditation with an app like Headspace or Calm.
Scent can be an effective mood changer. Lavender helps de-stress, while peppermint helps you relax and ease headaches. If you don’t have a diffuser, try tapping essential oils on your wrists and temples or simply inhale the scent straight from the bottle.
Wind down half an hour before bed
Getting sufficient and quality sleep is a big part of mental health, but we often have our eyes glued to a screen right up until we crash. Our bodies need time to ease into sleep, away from screens. Spend at least 30 minutes before bed winding down - try taking a bath, meditating, or reading a book.
Sometimes, clearing the clutter in your physical space can help clear the clutter in your mind. Try doing a deep spring cleaning or reorganizing your space.
Take a walk outside
With our collective quarantine and many now working from home, it can be tough to stay indoors all day. To stave off cabin fever and to get a boost of energy, go for a walk outside, with proper social distancing of course. Even 20 minutes outside can improve your mood.
Be kind to everyone (including yourself)
We are all going through this challenging time together so let’s offer compassion and kindness to all. And that includes yourself, take stock of how you’re feeling. Don’t be hard on yourself if you’re feeling like you’re not being productive or operating at your maximum right now.
Move your body
Fitness might not be the most pressing thing on your mind but getting up and moving is always crucial. From following a HIIT class online, to streaming a yoga flow in the evening, or having an impromptu dance party while you cook, there are plenty of options for at-home workouts. The point is to get moving for at least 30 minutes each day.
Create a routine
Try to do everything that you would do if you were going into the office or not under quarantine to help create a sense of normalcy and instill some routine.
Break up your day
Remember to take breaks throughout the day. Working from home doesn’t mean working 24/7 or non-stop. Take a quick walk during lunch or jump on a zoom call for a virtual coffee with a friend. And when the clock strikes 5, shut down your computer and move to a separate space, if possible, to create a mental separation from work as well.
Luckily, technology these days enables us to stay in touch with our loved ones. Have Zoom happy hours with your girlfriends, watch a movie with the fam. It’s really more physical distancing than social distancing.
Limit media intake
While it’s important to stay informed during a pandemic, sometimes the influx and overflow of news can be too much. If it’s making you feel extra anxious, limit your intake of news and social media each day or try a mini digital detox.
Escape for a little bit
The reality can be pretty grim these days so if you need to just veg out and escape for a few hours in a thrilling movie or page-turner book, go for it! Check out our round-up of TV shows to binge.
Try CBD oil
The emerging trend of CBD wellness has many health benefits, among them include reducing anxiety and stress.
Focus on the positives
As much as there is despairing news going on all over the world right now, there’s just as much good and kindness that is spreading. Focus on the positives.
Take one day at a time
It can be extremely daunting to not know when this is going to end but just remember that things are changing every day - just take it one day at a time and we’ll get through this together.
Stay safe and healthy, Muff Fam ❤️