With everything going on in the world right now and being isolated (aka quarantined) on top of that, it’s no wonder that our mental health may be taking a little bit of a beating. Whether you’re quarantined with other people, or just by yourself, the fact of the matter is we all find ourselves with a little more time with our thoughts nowadays which can sometimes lead us down a dark rabbit hole of what ifs and worst case scenarios. It’s a slippery slope that’s hard to navigate, but with a little proactive work you can strengthen your mental well-being to help you stay grounded and positive for not only the hard times, but the good times as well.
Start a gratitude journal
Remaining grateful during trying times can be difficult, but no matter how bad things may get, there is always something to be grateful for. Before you start your day, write down 3 or 4 things that you’re thankful for and really feel that feeling of gratitude. Being grateful is a state of mind that attracts more good into your life. Even if what you’re grateful for seems so menial, write it down. Recognizing the small blessings (i.e. running water, clothes to wear) is so important and will really open your eyes to just how fortunate you are.
Being able to center and calm yourself in any situation is an essential coping mechanism. Meditation is a practice of the mind. It’s about acknowledging your thoughts, but not letting them control your mind and ultimately affect your body. Think of your mind as a muscle–meditation is a way to strengthen it. I prefer to meditate in the morning, but whatever time of day works for you, make it a point to do it.
Do a social media detox
I’m not going to sugarcoat it: The majority of people are quick to share bad/negative news, but not so inclined to share the positive. I personally had to take a break from social media the beginning of April. The constant barrage of negativity being posted/shared by my friends was starting to take a toll on my mental health. I found myself being sucked into a dark place, so I put into practice self-parenting and uninstalled my social media apps. If scrolling through your newsfeed leaves you feeling depressed or anxious rather than happy or uplifted, then it’s time for a social media detox. The first few days may be a little difficult, but I promise you, you’ll notice a significant difference in your outlook after about a week.
Positive affirmations are a way of speaking into existence what you desire. Always recite them as if you’ve already attained them, and after awhile, you’ll start to see these things manifest. Consistently feeding your mind positivity will ultimately improve your mental health and overall well-being. In addition to positive affirmations, I have a list of favorite quotes and Bible verses that have always managed to lift my spirit and motivate me. Find positive quotes that speak to you and jot them down where you can easily see them. When you feel yourself on a downward spiral, refer to those quotes for a gentle reminder to redirect your thoughts.
It’s no secret that exercising regularly has a positive impact on your physical well-being, but also your mental health–it is the ultimate act of self-care. It improves your mood (thanks to those groovy endorphins that get released during exercise), reduces stress as well as help with depression. And don’t let the gym closures deter you from getting your sweat on–there’s plenty of at-home workouts on YouTube to get your heart rate up and keep you toned. I also like to take mindful walks; this involves just enjoying a nice, peaceful stroll and being mindful of each step/breath involved. So if you’re not into strenuous exercise, mindful walking is a great alternative.