Ways to Curb Anxiety and Keep Your Sanity Intact During Stressful Times
Taking care of one’s mental health is a must. The surge in COVID-19 cases, another lockdown, a crumbling economy, and an uncertain future are all coming together to vex our nerves. We aren’t exactly where we thought we would be a year ago, and to say we’re feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. As we slowly come to terms with the possibility that this could drag on for much longer than we expected, there’s really only one question we need to ask parents today— how are you coping?
With every month that passes, it has become that much harder to remain optimistic. We’re exhausted and anxious, patience is running low, and what are we supposed to do with the kids? Even as we consciously try to lead by example, it’s hard to zone in on a sense of calm when we’re freaking out on the inside. Yeah, it’s not just you. This is taking a toll on everyone.
As news reports roll out every day, the tendency to feel somewhat helpless increases. These are all things we have no control over. Although, there are still some things we can work on (albeit very few) to help alleviate the stress. We’ve compiled some of the most helpful recommendations parents from all over have suggested, tried and tested, to keep your mental health in check during these extremely trying time.
How’s Your Mental Health?
1. Turn your indoor leisure up a notch
Whatever it is that you do for personal enjoyment, dive into it. Listen to music, read more books, play board games, binge watch a series, or set up a movie night. Your kids can take part with some of these options, or you can take some time to decompress on your own (even if you have to stay up a couple of hours more at night).
Maybe you can adjust your household schedule to a more relaxed morning routine or spend an extra 15 minutes on your nightly skincare regimen. Try anything you feel will work towards improving your mood by doing something you like.
2. Develop a skill
Since everyone has been limited to getting things done at home, there has been a steady growth of online courses made available. Look into signing up for a Masterclass, improve on a hobby by using Skillshare, or any other resources you can access. There are free options that can be found on Youtube, IGTV, or Facebook Watch— you just have to look.
The internet is at your disposal, and there are far better things to do on there besides waiting for bad news or comparing your life to what others post on social media. Utilize your time by dedicating a portion of it to developing a skill you’ve always wanted to master.
3. Create & Grow
A common ideal that has been brought about by this pandemic is the opportunity to do some inner work. Aside from looking within and reflecting on our lives, there are other recommended activities that can be done which have been proven to help with mental strain.
Getting into the arts, growing plants, learning to cook a meal or bake your favorite pastry, and even trying to write in a journal are just a few things you can try to improve your well-being. Our intuitive right brain is directly tied to emotion and creativity, and working on this, even for a few minutes/hours a day, can boost good old endorphins. Which is something we could all use a bit of extra these days.
4. Strengthen your body
Another way to improve your mood is by incorporating some movement into your life by way of exercise. Of course, we couldn’t leave this out. Getting some form of exercise initiates a biological cascade of events that results in the release of endorphins, as well as strengthens your immune system. This is also suggested to give you a fighting chance against the virus, so it’s really a win all around.
By strengthening your body, your mind is sure to follow, and we don’t need to be reminded of how good exercise is for us. You just have to get over the hump of actually getting started, because we all know that this is much easier said than done— especially if you’re not up for it.
5. Improve your surroundings
Honestly, since we’re all stuck at home anyway, we may as well feel good about the space we’re confined in. Investing in pleasing aesthetics and a soothing ambience can do wonders in lifting anyone’s mood. Maybe it’s time for a purge (hello, KonMari teachings), add a leafy plant to an otherwise dull corner, hang up a mirror to open up the room, or cover an empty wall with some photos.
There are so many ways to elevate your living space, and again, the internet is your friend. Several groups on Facebook have popped up dedicated to this cause, Pinterest will always be a reliable resource, or maybe get in touch with that one friend (we all have that friend) for ideas on how to spruce up your place.
6. Take care of your mental health by making time to log off
Undoubtedly one of the most difficult things to do in this age of technology, with the world wide web at our literal fingertips, is to step away from our gadgets. Mindless scrolling has become second nature, and for all the good the internet has to offer, there’s also an infinite amount of information being fed to us on the daily that can cause distress.
Use your time online wisely. Learn when to say you’ve had enough and put the phone down. Allot some gadget-free time into your day and take a breather from the influx of headlines and data. Take a full day off if you can! We are by no means obligated to be “reachable” at all hours of the day, and it’s your right to take some time for yourself— especially if you feel as if your mental wellbeing is at stake.
7. Choose your battles—work on what you can control
It’s easy to get lost in the loom and gloom of our situation, and we can’t help that. Being in isolation with our families and watching our kids struggle with indefinite confinement has been tough. Add that to the strain of financial security, our concern for the health of loved ones, and losing your job or your business— it would be hard for anyone to keep their head above water.
For most of us, we are reaching a tipping point and it’s important that we keep ourselves in check. While what we are feeling is completely valid, it’s also our responsibility to do what needs to be done to make sure we make it through these dark times.
With multiple variants of the virus currently being discovered combined with the lack of vaccines available to the population, the waiting game continues. All bets are off, and the only thing we can do is make sure we stay safe and remain hopeful in any way we can. Start with yourself and work on what you can at home.
In the meantime, I’ll be watching a Masterclass on mixology because day drinking (in moderation) has been my saving grace. So, how’s your mental health?