re you exhausted but still have difficulty falling asleep? Are life’s daily annoyances becoming huge obstacles? Are you having trouble concentrating and seeing things through?
Under normal circumstances, you might answer no to all those questions. But these are not normal circumstances and the stresses you might be experiencing are likely not normal, either.
Sometimes everyday stresses can be handled with a strong cup of coffee. But if that doesn’t help, and they are persistent and recurring, don’t ignore them.
Your mental health is one of several factors that comprise your overall wellness. The others are dietary, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, financial and environmental health – and they all need to be maintained.
“Mental health is your ability to properly think about and process information,” said Dr. Keith Randolph, a fellow with Amway Global Discovery. “It affects how you interact with others, make decisions and react to stress.”
Serious mental health issues should be discussed with your physician, but there are some self-care strategies you can try immediately.
Head for the woods
Research shows that spending 90 minutes in nature as opposed to an urban setting decreased brain activity associated with depression. While following all your local rules about social distancing and limiting travel, consider visiting your neighborhood park or heading to your local beach. You could also sit down and plan a camping trip for when traveling is not restricted. (Research also shows that planning a get-away gives you a mental boost, too, because it offers something to look forward to!)
Write it out
Putting thoughts on paper and writing is a powerful tool. You can vent about experiences that upset you, but also remind yourself of things that make you happy – things you’re grateful for or personal accomplishments.
Smile and laugh
Even if you don’t feel like smiling, the act of doing it can lower your heart rate and have a calming effect. And laughter helps reduce anxiety, so don’t feel bad about watching the latest cat video going viral on social media – it’s self-care!
Mitigate your stress
A warm bath, a good workout, or feeding your artistic side with drawing, painting or coloring are all ways to soften stressful moments. Make sure to make time for them. Click here for some stress management tips!
Fight the ‘winter blues’
Some of these issues can seem magnified during the winter when days are short on sunlight or when you’re stuck inside for long periods of time. Click here for some tips on fighting the winter blues, including getting enough vitamin D and omega-3.