We’re living in a particularly challenging period with both the existing pandemic and the racial justice protests going on. It can be easy to become overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. It is important to understand that these are normal responses and to take steps to look after your mental health. Here are five essential tips to help you cope and strengthen your mental health during these difficult times.
1. Prioritize Self-Care
It is essential to take time to slow down and look after yourself during these stressful times. Taking care of your mental health is not selfish: it’s essential. Aim to establish a daily self-care routine that helps you check in with yourself, disconnect from the world and restore faith in yourself.
2. Stay Connected
We may need to practice physical distancing, but it’s important to stay socially and emotionally connected with people you trust. Maintaining social and personal relationships can strengthen your mental health. Consider setting up a video chat with your friends and family if you need someone to talk to.
3.Engage in Healthy and Relaxing Activities
Engaging in activities that bring you joy can help you cope with difficult times. Find something that relaxes you, from yoga to baking, drawing, or gardening. Also, involve yourself in meaningful activities, such as volunteering your time with a local organization, that can help you make a positive difference.
4. Develop a Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, accepting and being conscious of our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Practicing mindfulness can help you to detach yourself from worries and anxieties and to gain a better understanding of yourself.
5. Seek Professional Help if Needed
If your feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression persist or worsen, seek help from a mental health professional. You can reach out to a physician, a therapist, or a counselor.
These tips can help you cope and strengthen your mental health during these difficult times. We all have the right to live and thrive in peace and joy. Remember to take care of yourself and to do what works best for you.
What activities can I do to take care of my mental health during stressful times?
1. Get enough sleep: Sleep helps the body and mind rejuvenate. Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.
2. Eat healthy and exercise: Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly helps physical and mental health.
3. Stay connected: Connecting with family, friends and/or a support group can help provide emotional support.
4. Practice relaxation techniques: Taking deep breaths, meditating, going for a walk and practicing yoga are some relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress.
5. Spend time outdoors: Fresh air and natural sunlight can help lift spirits and boost moods.
6. Break up intense periods of work with leisure activities: Taking a break from work or school by engaging in enjoyable activities can help reduce stress.
7. Develop a plan: Having a plan in place can help reduce anxiety during stressful times. Break tasks into smaller, manageable chunks that can be dealt with one at a time.
8. Engage in positive self-talk: A positive attitude and thinking positive thoughts can help reduce stress.
9. Consider talking to a mental health professional: Seeing a counsellor or therapist can help individuals manage stress and improve mental health.
What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my mental health?
1. Get regular exercise: Regular physical activity releases endorphins and other hormones which can help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
2. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation helps you to become more aware of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in present moment.
3. Establish social connections: Connect with other people in a meaningful and fulfilling way. Research shows that having meaningful relationships is one of the most important determiners of happiness and overall mental health.
4. Make time for relaxation: Incorporating relaxation activities like yoga, tai chi, and massage into your daily routine can help reduce stress and improve your overall mental health.
5. Eat a healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is important for maintaining mental clarity and energy levels.
6. Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep helps to restore balance in your body and mind, and is essential for optimal mental health.
7. Identify things you’re grateful for: Focusing on the positive can help to boost your mood and increase feelings of wellbeing. Gratitude can help you appreciate the good in your life and reduce stress.
What activities can I do to improve my mental health?
1. Exercise: Physical activity can help reduce stress and improve your mental health. Exercise releases endorphins that boost your mood and help fight anxiety and depression.
2. Journaling: Writing down your thoughts, goals and worries can be a great way to reduce stress and clear your mind.
3. Spend time outdoors: Being in nature can help reduce stress and give you time to reflect.
4. Practice mindfulness: Set aside time to focus on being present in the moment, practice deep breathing and fully take in your environment.
5. Connect with others: Connect with friends and family, join groups or activities that allow you to meet new people and make friends with similar interests.
6. Get a pet: Owning a pet can help reduce depression, anxiety and loneliness as well as provide a sense of purpose and connection.
7. Get enough sleep: Sleep helps to recharge your energy and restore your mental state. Make sure you’re getting 7-8 hours of restful sleep a night.
8. Make time for fun: Doing something you enjoy can help put you in a better frame of mind. Make sure you take time to do something you enjoy every day.