Now more than ever, it is important to put your mental health first. Take a moment each day to practice self-care to boost your well-being and lower your stress. Need some tips and tricks to get started? Our mental health experts share some self-care tips below.
Practicing gratitude comes in many forms and can help you gain perspective and feel more positive emotions. Forms of gratitude can include journaling, writing notes or letters to loved ones, or filling out daily prompts such as “today I am grateful for…” Gratitude can build resilience, as well as increase our ability to combat stress. It also serves to improve our personal and professional relationships, improve empathy, and build emotional awareness.
Give Yourself Grace
With social media and news at the forefront of our attention throughout quarantine, it is easy to notice others diving into their hobbies, picking up new skills, or cleaning and renovating their homes. However, it is okay if you do not do those things. Director of Psychological Services at Diversus Health, Dr. Lindsay Gries, says, “If the time you take for yourself is bringing you peace and relaxation, then pressuring yourself to pick up a new hobby can be counterproductive in reducing stress.”
Set Your Intentions for the Day or Week
Setting your intention is a mindfulness practice to help you define self-care goals so you can be present in your day-to-day routine. These intentions are typically centered around personal development and emotional intelligence. Set attainable goals that will help you increase your wellness during these times. Examples you could use in your daily practice include “I intend to lead by example” or “I intend to listen to what my body is telling me.”
Writing down your intentions can help you to follow through and hold yourself accountable. Try journaling or keeping notes at your desk and around your home as reminders. Reflecting on your intentions at the end of the day or week can also help you to increase your self-awareness and personal growth.
Define Your Boundaries
Boundaries can look different for everyone, but a good place to start is in communicating what you need and drawing lines to protect your mental health. If COVID-19 media coverage is overwhelming, try to set a time limit on your screen time and news consumption. Communicate with those you live with to create physical areas that separate work and play. Block out time in your calendar or schedule for self-care and wellness activities.
It may be challenging to communicate what you need, but it is important to be transparent about your boundaries. Remember to be kind and compassionate in expressing your boundaries with others. Everyone is experiencing change.
Keep Healthy Habits
Although life is currently abnormal, healthy habits will help to instill a sense of normalcy and help you maintain a routine. Kids are not the only ones who benefit from regular meals and bedtimes. Adults can benefit physically and mentally from maintaining healthy habits and structure in their lives including regular sleep schedules, exercise, staying hydrated, and getting outside for fresh air. “Structure your daily routine as much as possible, doing things that make you feel in control. It’s important to direct your energy in a healthy way,” comments Dr. Gries.
Dr. Gries claims that some anxiety can be a good thing. “Anxiety can be useful and adaptive if it helps you increase more healthy behaviors, like consistent hand washing and other hygiene habits. Once you’ve reached the limits of what you can reasonably control with your own behaviors, then it is time to shift toward implementing coping skills to manage or reduce the anxiety that is no longer helpful to you.”
Allow Yourself to Feel
Pleasant and unpleasant emotions are all natural and healthy parts of the human experience. While it can be tempting to avoid painful or uncomfortable emotions, some research indicates that this can actually increase our experience of suffering. Others experience a numbing of emotions through avoidance, but the result is often a numbing of positive emotions such as joy and happiness. Observing our emotions mindfully, letting ourselves feel the emotions as they arise and processing them in healthy ways such as journaling or speaking with a trusted professional, will ultimately lead to more effective coping and overall improved mental health.
It is normal for you to experience anxiety and stress during these times, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or your feelings escalate to disrupt your daily life, it may be a good idea to reach out to one of our licensed professionals for help. To learn more about how we can help, contact us by filling out our form or call us at (719)-572-6100. Get started on your wellness journey today.
For more information on how you can cope with stress during COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus resource[MA4] page.
If you or a loved one needs immediate help, call our Colorado crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text TALK to 38255. Colorado Crisis Services provides immediate and confidential assistance, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.