Lifestyle Changes to Enhance Mental Health
There's no doubt: the pandemic is affecting all of us in different ways. We can't tell how much longer it will last, and that's why we have to adapt. The good news is that there are some things you can do to improve your wellbeing and they don't even require a lot of time. All you need to do is to commit to these small, daily routines and see the change that starts happening in your life.
Spend some time offline every day
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Zoom has become the main place to meet and talk to other people. There are also social networks and many apps that make our lives easier. However, all that social media exposure might actually be creating stress and giving us fatigue. That's why it's recommended to take a break from them every once in a while. Some people like spending one day a week completely offline, without their phones and laptops. The best way to do that is when you go to nature, for a long walk and hiking, which makes you forget about social media.
If, like many people, you can't work without the Internet, at least you can spend one hour offline every day. This one habit could completely transform your life and your wellbeing. Some people like to do it first thing in the morning and many successful people advise not to check your phone in the first hour after you wake up. On the other hand, this is also an excellent nighttime routine. Why don't you try reading your favorite book before you go to sleep instead of scrolling social media?
Many people are working remotely, which means they have a great excuse not to exercise. If you consider yourself a busy person and the only form of exercise you had was walking to your workplace and walking back home, you shouldn't give up on that even now. There's a great trick that will actually help you both when it comes to exercise and to your productivity. Why not walk for 10-20 minutes around your block before you start working, or after your work, to unwind? It might sound silly at first, but it's actually great exercise and a reason to go out every day. What's more, this routine will help you switch from working mode to your private mode, and vice versa.
If walking is not your cup of tea, don't worry. There are so many exercises you can find online and do at home. For most of them, you don't even need any professional equipment. You can try different types of exercises, have some fun until you see what works for you and then stick to it. You can invite your partner, friend, or even your kids to join you so that you all get benefits from physical exercise.
If you're feeling overwhelmed, that's completely normal, especially with everything that's going on. One of the best ways to shift your focus is to start practicing gratitude. Take some notebook or even a piece of paper and commit to writing three good things that happened to you each day. At first, you may feel like you don't have a lot of things to be grateful for, but, with time, your perception will change. You'll start noticing small things that are making your life better, and the more you think about them, the more reasons for happiness will start to appear around you. Technically, they won't start appearing out of nowhere, but you'll now be able to see things that you were previously taking for granted.
Connect with your friends and family
It's a paradox: with all the apps that we have, most people are feeling lonelier than ever before. Take your time to connect with your friends and family in a meaningful way. What does it even mean? First, you could make a list of people that are important to you and with whom you'd like to stay in touch. It might surprise you when you realize how much time has passed since you last talked to some of them. It's never too late. If you can't see them in person. it doesn't matter. You can schedule a Zoom meeting, but not just another meeting after which you'll have to rush. No. Leave enough time so that you can connect with your loved ones guilt-free. Make a nice cup of coffee and some snacks and bond with your friends and family. There are even plenty of online games you can play and have fun.
One of the best practices to promote your mental health is journaling. It has many benefits like actual therapy. There's no right or wrong way to do it. In the beginning, it may feel a bit awkward, but stick to it, and you'll soon learn a lot about yourself. You can journal about how you feel each day, and you may discover some patterns - what makes you happy, what makes you sad, what irritates you. You will get to know yourself better and some things might surprise you, which is normal. Only when you get to know who you really are and what do you need, only then you can come up with ways to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Another journal prompt is to journal about your dreams, goals, and things that excite you. You can focus on your future and all the things you want to accomplish when the pandemics end. When you're clear about what do you want to do, you can start preparing to give your best. We are sure there are some small steps you can do even if you're stuck in your home like most people. The only thing that is important is to start walking in direction of what you really want, no matter how small your steps may be. Every one of them counts.