Written By: Christina Noonan | Co-Creator – Liberty Life Yoga
Most of us are now close to the two month mark of our stay-at-home time in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means that some of us have had time to process what is going on, take personal inventory of our emotions, and make a plan for what the next steps might include. It also means that for others, there has been little time to reflect due to working, home-schooling, personal and family health and well-being issues, food and safety issues, and the list goes on. While each of our situations can be very different, it’s important to show compassion for one another and be there to emotionally support those in our close circle and community. One of the most profound ideas I have seen throughout this pandemic is the idea that we are all in the same storm, and our boats may be differently equipped to handle the struggles at hand.
While we navigate each day simultaneously alone and together, it’s important to take note and care of your personal mental health. Again, this can look very different for each of us; a parent or caregiver of three might have only a bathroom break to take stock and check-in where a person living alone might have an entire afternoon or a luxurious quiet walk to be able to check-in and assess their mental health.Regardless, our mental health is an important piece of our overall health. We are moving through these uncharted waters as a human collective, so be kind and know that you don’t have to have this all sorted out and make sense of things that make no sense. Instead, focus on yourself; on what you can do to help keep yourself healthy, which in turn, helps keep those around you healthy.
Here are a few things that I have done and think are worth sharing:
1. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself! Listen to your self-talk and the things that you say to yourself. If it feels challenging to be nice to yourself, think of the things you would say to a loved one or friend going through a tough time and say them to yourself.
2. Create a Routine: Take control of what you can! With so many unknowns out there, try waking up at the same time each day, setting structure to the day, and going to bed at the same time. Can you schedule a workout or a walk so that you know you have prioritized time to take care of you? Our brains favour the consistency of routine and it helps us to feel less anxious.
3. Lean on Your Community: We’ve heard so many times that we are all in this together. While each of our days and situations can vary drastically, it’s important to stay connected. Reach out to your friends, family, and community at large. Perhaps your worship community is connecting online, or your regular bridge group still meets virtually; find ways to stay connected to your circle. When moments or days get tough, reach out to them and ask for support. It’s ok to not be ok, and to lean on those who care about you when you need them.
4. Get Creative: Spark your creative juices, or keep them flowing! You might do this by experimenting with new ingredients in the kitchen or find a new recipe. Perhaps you are finding new ways to exercise in your home (is anyone else doing counter push-ups and chair tricep dips?) or have dusted off something that used to spark joy and then you got “too busy” for.
5. Take a News Break: There is news everywhere! Pay attention to when the news starts to feel overwhelming. With constant updates on our phones, televisions, and computers, give your brain a much-needed break.
Of course these are just a few thoughts that have worked for me, but the ways to support your metal health can encompass so much and be a very individualized plan. Mental and physical health have always been deemed as important, but we may see even more value in it as we navigate this global pandemic. Be sure to take excellent care of yourself and to manage the things that you can control. We will make our way through this, alone and together.
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