In these strange times, stress and anxiety can feel overwhelming. Taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally is just as important as staying physically healthy. Mental, emotional, and physical health are all interconnected and if one of those components is out of balance, it can throw everything off-kilter. Here are some tips to use this time to reconnect with all the facets of wellbeing and pave the way for growth.
Step One: Try to Stay Focused on the Present
You cannot change the past or predict the future, but you can control your actions and reactions in the now. If you’re feeling especially stressed about the lack of control in your life currently, reframe the chaos into two different categories: “Things I Can” and “Things I Can’t”. Make a list of the things you can do and another list of the things you can’t do—write them down on a piece of paper if that makes it easier to visualize. Untangling the stressors in your life and giving yourself permission to ignore the ones that cannot be changed allows you more mental space to deal with the ones you can.
Step Two: Let Yourself be a Kid Again
When you are at home for long periods of time and feeling down or creatively depleted, give yourself some time to rekindle the activities you enjoyed when you were young. Do a puzzle, watch Disney movies, color without caring about the lines, or dance around to your favorite music. Forgetting about your “adult responsibilities” and “productivity” even for a short moment can help you reconnect with the purest form of joy: the kind you felt as a kid. We can all use a bit more joy right now, don’t hold yourself back from seeking moments of it every day.
Step Three: Practice Gratitude Whenever You Can
Think of one thing you’re grateful for when you wake up, and another thing before you go to sleep. Starting and ending your day thinking about the good things in your life sets the mood for the entire day and can improve your overall outlook. The more you find things to be grateful for, the more you realize how it’s the little things in life that really matter.
Step Four: Think of Ways in Which You Can Help Your Community and Those Around You
After regularly practicing gratitude, chances are you will start to notice just how blessed you are and how much you are able to give back to those in need. Are you able to donate to your local food bank or help run errands for a neighbor? Are you able to donate blood or devote some time to calling or Facetiming your family who might be lonely? Every little bit of kindness adds up.
Step Five: Use This as an Opportunity to Learn Something New Every Day and Form Healthier Habits
Is there a skill you have always wanted to learn? Learn something new or changing even one small habit can help give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. And remember, once this period in our lives is over don’t just “go back to normal.” Pick back up where you left off with a new outlook on life and appreciation for the world around you.
Don’t forget to be kind to yourself and each other. The only way to get through this is together.