I think we can all benefit from a mental check in right now, so let me ask you something!
How are you doing? How are you taking care of yourself? How do you need to be supported right now?
I don’t know about you, but I have had to ask myself those questions more frequently and the truth is it’s okay not to be okay.
The reality of what we are living through has caused most of us to take a pause and reevaluate what’s important to us and for us in life. I began to realize that I have taken the everyday, simple things in life for granted such as traveling, spending time with friends and family, attending large events, dining out, etc.
We can all agree that this year has been a world wind, one that no one could have been prepared for as the year 2020 has been unfair, unkind, and overall stressful for most of us.
It can be really hard to feel joy and/or hope right now! I get it!
You are absolutely not alone in feeling this way as many people are struggling to get back to feeling like themselves. It has not been easy and it doesn’t seem like we can do very much to control what’s happening. In our attempts to grasp for some sense of control we are also having to manage the overwhelming emotions of anxiety, loneliness, fear, etc. which can greatly impact our mental health.
Through all of the uncertainty right now I am here to deliver you some much needed good news! It is possible to start gaining back some of that lost emotional control with how intentional we are with taking care of ourselves. Your mental health is extremely important as it sets the tone for how we feel, what we think, and how we behave. This year alone has taught us more than ever how necessary it is to listen to our bodies, and pay attention to what we need.
So, start making your mental health a top priority which will in turn make a huge difference in all areas of your life especially during this pandemic. Read on for 5 tips to staying mentally healthy during this Covid season…
1) Engage in Physical activity and/or exercise: This tip is not one that you have never heard before, so take this as a friendly reminder to get up and get moving!
Aim for about 30 minutes of some kind of physical activity every day. Exercise has all sorts of excellent benefits such as helping to improve your mood, sleep better, reduce stress, increase energy and improve your health.
All things we can use now more than ever!
2) Stay in touch: Though it’s harder to see our loved ones, technology has made it so that it’s not impossible. Consider some of these unique ways to connect with those outside of your home to stay connected:
- Set up a Zoom call with some distant relatives for a weekly catch up
- Engage in a game night with friends using the app HouseParty
- Explore using the Netflix app, Teleparty to plan a movie night with family which includes a fun chat box for commentary with your loved ones while the movie is playing
community is so important in times like these so get creative with how to stay in touch.
3) Ask for help: Listen! We cannot get through this alone! Reach out to your nearest mental health provider, support groups, physician, etc. for support. The professional resources available are a guide to help you navigate through life so don’t be afraid to use them.
Don’t forget the amazing therapists at Solid Foundations Therapy are here to help you get through this challenging time so don’t hesitate to give us a call if you need some support.
4) Control what you can. Set boundaries around what you cannot: You have control of what you feed your body and mind. Remember perspective is everything!
So, set boundaries around how much you let in by turning off the TV and unplug from the news and social media outlets to give yourself a break from the negative noise.
Don’t be afraid to also set some boundaries around how much you work and what you need to address within life at home to be the best version of yourself.
Make a point to put your mental health first as it will trickle down and affect the rest of your life.
5) Utilize ACCEPTS, a DBT(Dialectical Behavior Therapy) tool to reduce distress:
Activities: Do something that requires thought
- Read a good book, write in your journal, check off a DIY project from your pinterest board, put together a puzzle, etc.
Contributing: Do something that helps another person
- Volunteer to help with a cause or activity that you are passionate about, help a friend/neighbor with something they cannot do themselves or simply give back to the community. No gesture is too big or small as long as your goal is to help others.
Comparisons: Check your perspective
- Pay attention to how you speak to yourself. Pessimism can zap your mood and make you feel less than you truly are. Try finding ways to see the cup as half full, not empty. One example in correcting yourself when needed is “I am not weak. I am resilient”.
Emotions: Do something to create a new emotion
- Take control of your negative emotions by actively doing something to make you feel the opposite.
Feeling sad? Do something that makes you happy.
- Dance to some music, go do a little shopping, call a friend who makes you laugh uncontrollably, take a yoga class, etc.
Feeling angry? Do something that helps you to feel calm.
- Take a relaxing bath, meditate, read a good book, etc.
Feeling anxious? Do something that alters your negative thoughts.
- Practice positive words of affirmation, remind yourself of all of the positive aspects of your life and take your mind off of what is causing you to feel anxious by seeking an activity that keeps your attention focused on something else.
Pushing Away: Use imagery to help minimize harmful and/or painful situations
- Get your imagination going to help “push away” the negative thoughts. An example of this is to imagine leaving your negative thoughts in a backpack that you put in another room. Those negative thoughts can no longer follow you about your day as they are locked away for good.
Thoughts: Exercise you mind
- Do things that make your wheels spin a little bit. Play trivia, do a crossword puzzle, etc.
Sensations: Engage your senses
- Listen to music, go outside and watch the birds, drink something hot, take a relaxing bath, etc.
It’s perfectly normal to not feel ok during these unprecedented times! You are not alone as many people are feeling the exact same way. Use these tips to help keep you mentally healthy during this Covid season! Remember, there is no shame in seeking professional help, either. Oftentimes, simply gaining a new perspective can help provide some clarity to help reduce the stress and anxiety that you may be feeling.
If Covid has mentally taken you down and you find that you need additional support to get back to feeling like the best version of yourself, Solid Foundations can help! Learn more at SolidFoundationsTherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!