Research shows a majority of people in much of the world say their mental health has been negatively affected by the pandemic.
I don’t know about you, but I can tell you with certainty that the lived experiences of myself and those around me prove that the pandemic has negatively impacted our mental health. I didn’t need an expert to tell me.
I’m glad there are more people talking about this so we don’t feel as alone in our struggles, but I also want proactive suggestions to pull me up and out – not deeper in the same boat. So I’ve compiled a few things I’ve done this past year that has helped me and I hope it will help you.
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1. I was thoughtful about my space.
I bought some essential oils, a diffuser and a sun lamp for my office space. When it’s rainy or dreary, I put on both and lift my mood. This is not something I knew anything about before the pandemic.
2. I try to watch how much water I’m drinking.
When home all day it’s easy to forget to drink water but if I’m well hydrated, I will function better throughout the day. I am prone to headaches so being hydrated is even more important to avoiding a migraine. I have started using Liquid IV to maximize the water I do remember to consume.
3. I’m in therapy.
Talking to an unbiased professional about life’s stresses is SO helpful for me. I can avoid overburdening my partner and friends when I can process with someone else. I hold a degree in counseling yet had not done much as a client. Then after getting married and having 2 children in a short span of time I had a lot to unpack about myself. The investment in a counselor has been a gift.
4. I am intention with what I take in on audio.
I listen to a lot of podcasts or audiobooks in the car or while I’m folding laundry. I tend to choose self-help type titles that can encourage, reinforce and introduce positive ideas to help me be successful. I’ve become a junkie for personal development. I keep listening to sermons from my church. Even though I can’t worship with them as I want to right now, I can get valuable content from our pastor and allow the reminders of God and myself to permeate my days. Confession, I often binge these as opposed to each Sunday, but something is better than nothing in my opinion.
5. I allow more space to do nothing.
This one has been a steep learning curve. When the pandemic hit I did a lot of things around the house to stay occupied. I power washed everything, I screwed in any loose knobs in the kitchen and I got crafty with my kids. What I realized over time is that I just needed to zone out. So I give myself evenings where I just watch TV shows on Netflix or scroll mindless on social media. Sometimes it works and sometimes I wish I just took a nap instead (and occasionally I realize that’s what I need and I do it). There’s been an “unlearning” about the busyness of life that I think it helpful.
What are some things you’ve learned or unlearned this past year?
What do you want to take forward that makes you a better person?
This first appeared on LinkedIn