If you want to find ways to improve your mental health, it would seem that during a pandemic isn’t the way to go about it. After all, everybody is suffering and things just don’t seem to be ending anytime soon. That being said, there are things you can do to improve your mental health at this time if you’re struggling. Of course, you might not feel like your ‘old self’, but at the very least, you will feel a little better and able to cope with the situation at hand.
1. Let People Know How You Feel
Start by letting people know how you feel. Sometimes, telling the people you care about how you feel can take the power out of your feelings and make you feel better automatically, without having to do anything else. However, if you’re worried that the news of how you feel won’t be well received, you should just pick people who you trust implicitly, and whose response you won’t dread. Not everybody will be able to give you professional advice, or even answer you with validation, so bear this in mind.
Some people may not want to accept that you’re struggling, like your parents, and they may invalidate your feelings by telling you it’s not that bad or you should just get over it. If you truly feel awful, speaking to people who will listen, understand, and validate you is key.
2. Find Ways To Connect With Others
Connecting with others on an emotional level is also important. Even if you consider yourself a bit of an introvert, connecting with people is crucial. We are social creatures and we crave human connection. Oftentimes, saying hello to somebody at your local coffee shop isn’t enough to fill your social quota. We need more.
Try to arrange regular catch ups with the people you love, whether on Facetime or zoom. You may be able to meet certain people out for a walk, but it can be hard to know what to do at the minute when social distancing is encouraged and we’re trying to flatten the curve. Try to connect in any way you can.
3. Spend Time On Your Hobbies
Spend more time on your hobbies and the things you love. If you love painting, do more of it. Creative activities that you can get lost in are particularly great for anxiety and depression. If you’re not working as much or at all, try to find more time to do these things.
Journaling can help you to understand yourself better as you get your feelings out onto the page. You can spot patterns in your behaviour, worries, and other things to address later on. Journaling is a great way to get those worries out of your head and onto paper and an excellent choice of ways to improve your mental health. You don’t even need to read it back, and it certainly doesn’t need to be neat or coherent. Some people simply ‘word vomit’ into their journals. Some will write one off sentences throughout the day. Journaling is unique to each person, so find a way of doing it that suits you.
5. Avoid Falling Into Bad Habits
It can be easy to start depending on alcohol and things when you’re not feeling great. These things temporarily ease the pain, but they can make things far worse in the long run. If you notice yourself spiraling, it’s important to speak to somebody about it ASAP. You shouldn’t be ashamed of feeling the way you do, and getting help is often the only way to help yourself.
6. Move Your Body
Find a way to move your body that feels good to you. It doesn’t have to be a popular Instagram workout or anything you’re not keen on. It could be gentle yoga, walking, or something else. It could be following dance videos in your house, even if you have no dance skill whatsoever. Moving your body can move any stale energy, help you to feel better for the day, and help you to sleep better at night.
Many people struggle to want to move at all when they are having trouble with their mental health, and if this sounds like you, just try to start really small. Go for a 2 minute walk. Do 2 jumping jacks. Just do very very small things and they will add up. You can build on them eventually if you want to.
7. Watch What You Consume
Make sure you are mindful of what you consume, both what you eat and what you consume on social media and on the TV. What you take in can have a huge impact on how you feel. Things like cbd gummies can help you to ease anxiety, but you should always read reviews and consider checking with your doctor before taking a new supplement. Try to eat balanced meals, and don’t run on coffee alone.
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8. Turn Off The TV
If the news overwhelms you, don’t watch it. Watch something lighthearted instead. You can still stay up to date without getting caught up in all of the anxiety inducing facts and figures. Don’t know what to do instead? Sign up a subscription box! Find one that interests you and you will look forward to it every month and it gives you something fun to do instead!
9. Take A Break From Social Media
Don’t worry about staying up to date with old school friends either. A week off social media could do you the world of good – even a month if you can stretch to that. Take a break, focus on yourself and what’s going on around you, and try to live in the present moment.
10. Give Yourself A Break
If you need some mental health time, take it. Have some time off, try to take on less work, and allow yourself to take regular breaks. You weren’t born to work until you die, so have a rest and don’t feel guilty. For some, work is a distraction, but if you rely on work then you may have deeper issues that need to be addressed.
11. Get In Touch With A Mental Health Professional
If you’re truly struggling, there’s no need to do it alone. Contact a mental health professional and talk about it. You’ll be surprised at how good this can feel and it is obviously one of the best ways to improve your mental health.