Being home all the time, and not participating in our normal everyday activities like going to theme parks, shopping, restaurants and hanging out with friends has really taken a toll on me physically and mentally. I found myself feeling really anxious all the time because there were so many things I was not able to control anymore.
I didn't know if my kids would be going back to school in person. I worried for the health of my friends and family. I was concerned about overall job security and questioned things like: would my husband be a part of a company COVID lay off, would business slow down for me?
There are so many questions during such a questionable time. It’s not surprising that this can have a negative impact one's mental health.
But during this time, I have learned to really become in tune with my own mind and body to recognize the faults. I've been able to implement certain things into my daily routine to help take care of my mental health.
I'm doing these things so I can give my children, my husband, but most importantly myself, the best version of me.
Social Media Breaks
Spending time on social media for extended periods of time can impact your mental health if you're not using it in a positive and uplifting way.
Ideally, I would love to do a 1+ week break from social media completely. Unfortunately, social media is a part of my job, so that's not feasible.
But what I have started doing to help manage my perspective is having a cut off time for social media. Every night, I log off at 9 pm, and don't open it again until the morning AFTER I have had breakfast with the kids. To me, it's more of an evening cleanse, so I can dedicate my time to working out, and spending that time with my husband.
Starting your Day with Prayer or Introspection
Before my feet hit the ground, I give thanks to God for another day. I spend time praying and just talking to God. And I promise you, if you do this before ANYTHING, your day will go so much smoother. I feel calm, and at ease when the kids wake up and the chaos begins.
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I work out about 4-5 times a week in my home gym. This time in the gym with my husband is our alone time, free of any distractions.
Another thing that's great about exercising aside from the physical benefits are the mental benefits. Exercising releases stress-relieving and mood-boosting endorphins both before and after the workout. If you can, get outside and workout (like a 30-minute walk) to get some vitamin D.
Change Your Environment
Spending time outside in nature is a great stress reducer. At times when I'm deep in work and starting to feel stressed, or the kids are struggling with their virtual learning, we take the learning outside.
Also, if you're feeling the stress of keeping up with your home, laundry, etc., sometimes a staycation out of your home is really helpful. Spending time in another environment without the responsibilities of home always puts our family in a better headspace.
Write Down Things That Make You Grateful
I love making gratitude lists. There are times that everything feels like it’s falling apart, nothing is going right or I just can't win. Those types of emotions can quickly and easily spark up anxiety, ultimately affecting your mental health.
Whenever I feel like this, I make a list of things that went right for the week/day, what I'm grateful for, or just some small wins. That alone grounds me and reminds me that not everything will go as planned, but you can't let those bad moments outshine the good.
Lack of sleep will have you feeling 20 different types of ways. Whenever I have a late-night, the next day is never any good.
Having a good night's rest is key to giving your brain time to rest and refresh for the next day. Start making it a habit to go to sleep at a reasonable time every night and shut off from devices (blue light within an hour of bed can disrupt your sleep).
Eat Wholesome Meals
When I eat bad, I feel bad. It's as simple as that. Feed your mind and body. Make sure you have a diet filled with:
- Healthy Carbohydrates (in moderation): carbs increase serotonin- which can have a calming effect on your mood
- Protein: helps increase norepinephrine, tyrosine, and dopamine, which can help keep you alert
- Lots of fruits, veggies, and food rich in Omega-3’s: all of these nutrients can positively affect your brain and mood
Do something for yourself that takes your mind off of whatever is stressing you out, or something that helps you decompress and detach yourself from the day.
I love swimming, drawing and taking baths with music playing. Here are some examples of self-care ideas:
- Go for a walk or get some exercise
- Try cooking a new recipe
- Read a book
- Watch a feel-good movie
- Plan a trip
- Order dinner to-go from your favorite restaurant
- Go on a bike ride through a park
- Start a garden
- Get dressed up and go somewhere with a loved one
Talk to Someone
I share whatever is on my mind and my heart with my husband.
When he sees that I'm visibly stressed, or just tense, he sits me down and lets me dump it all out on him. I usually end up crying, but that's my emotional release to stress, and sometimes it happens when I just talk about whatever is bothering me.
Make sure the person you are opening up to is someone that you trust and will be an open ear, with an open heart. But also, be that open ear and heart for someone else.
Avoid Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Often times it can feel easier to turn to unhealthy short-term solutions when you’re feeling off.
Maybe it’s oversleeping, spending compulsively or avoiding the issue altogether. These negative coping mechanisms only mask the issue for a moment. You can’t heal what you don’t face. Allow yourself to feel whatever is going on so you can address it and move past it.
Find What Works for You
I hope you found my 10 tips for taking care of your mental health helpful. All of these things have helped me personally and may help you find what works for you, too.
Writer: Aseky Bonnaire
Aseky (Ah-she-key Bow-nay-air) is a follower of Christ, wife to an amazing man and a mother to three handsome little boys and one little girl. She shares her favorite family travel tips, and her everyday life as a family of five. She’s self-proclaimed guilty of roaming the aisles of Target, bargain hunting with her hubby, stalking the baby bling website for new bows, and adventuring through Disney World.