If you’ve found yourself in a funk (or on the verge of a full mental breakdown) lately, you’re not alone. There’s a lot going on right now, and many of the things we used to do to stay sane aren’t even available to us anymore. It might feel like mental health is out of reach, but there are little things you can do every day to keep you in balance.
Take care of your body
The body-mind connection is extremely powerful — so much so that depression can actually manifest as physical sickness. If you take care of your body, it will be better equipped to deal with life’s many stressors. So, tip number one: move it! Find a workout you love, go for daily walks, get up and stretch throughout the day — anything to tell your body (and your brain) that when stress comes, you’ll be ready.
Treat yourself with kindness
“Self-care” has become a bit of a buzzword, but it’s necessary if you want to live a healthy, balanced life. It’s not always million dollar face masks and wine, either. It’s different for everyone! It could be taking 15 minutes a day to read a book or engage in a new hobby, reciting affirmations in the morning, giving yourself an evening to binge on your favorite show — anything that tells your mind, “You do a lot for me, and I’m intentionally taking care of you.”
Reach out to loved ones
Humans are social creatures, and with pandemic-induced restrictions on social interaction, it’s more important now than ever to engage in whatever way you can. Send a text, FaceTime a friend, or call someone who makes you happy.
Not only do we need vitamin D (which our bodies use sunlight to produce), but science says time in nature is imperative to our psychological well-being. Whether it’s an hour relaxing in a park, a five-mile hike, or a weekend getaway, try to get out of the house and in nature to give yourself a mental boost.
Quiet your mind
That might feel like an impossible task right now, but practicing meditation and mindfulness compounds exponentially over time, so you’ll get numerous benefits from little efforts every day. Try out a new meditation app, or just commit to being mentally present in your everyday life.
Put your thoughts to paper
Have you ever had a thought that seemed completely rational (but truly upsetting) and then spoken it out loud and realized how silly it sounds? Whether you’re journaling or just mind dumping (writing without boundaries or judgment), getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper is a lot like that. It gives you an opportunity to analyze your thoughts from a more objective perspective, think critically, and decide whether they’re worth keeping around.
Take a break
If you can, take mental health days. Prioritizing work and other responsibilities over your mental well-being is tempting but, many times, we place higher importance on our to-do lists than we need to. Decide what really needs to be done right now and what can take a backseat to some mental self-care, and then take a day to do things that truly recharge you.
Care for others
We know what you’re thinking: “I can’t even keep myself above water and you want me to help someone else?” The thing is, we’re cooperative by nature, which means we can nourish ourselves by taking care of others. We’re not suggesting you run out and start your own nonprofit (although, you could do that!). Sending a care package to a friend who’s been down, volunteering to run a voter registration booth, or simply texting someone to make sure they’re doing ok are all forms of caring for others.
Food can be medicine for tired bodies and stressed minds. Taking time to make (or order) your favorite meal and really enjoy it can be a powerful relaxant. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, let yourself enjoy a sweet treat. It’s the little things!
Get a good night’s rest
From muscle and cell repair to offloading mental stress, our bodies use our sleeping hours to restore themselves. Especially in times like these, it’s important to ensure you’re getting all your recommended z’s. If you have trouble getting to sleep, try creating a bedtime routine — making a comforting tea, taking a bath, reading, or whatever relaxes you most — to set you up for success.
What are some things you do to take care of your mental health? Let us know in the comments below!
xx, The FabFitFun Team