The past few months have been stressful for many, resulting in uncertainty, increased anxiety, and depression. Social distancing, while keeping us safe from COVID-19, can result in social isolation for some. Within the last month, the country has erupted in civil unrest caused by racism, which affects all members of our communities. During these difficult times, self-care is extremely important, and here are some practical tips that can help.
Connecting with others helps to encourage healthy relationships, especially at times when we feel more divided. The age of technology has made this easier by increasing our options for making connections, whether through phone, video platforms, or simply writing a letter. Connecting with others increases the likelihood that stressors will be coped with in a way that reduces adverse health consequences. Plus, social support can influence a person’s ability to activate their own individual coping skills.
Sometimes, people aren’t always available for us to reach out to, and a journal can be a way to practice some healthy introspection. A journal provides us with a safe space for us to record and discuss our feelings. When journaling your feelings, remember that it’s okay to not feel okay amid the things that are happening in the world. It’s also a good idea to remind yourself how you have managed difficult times in the past.
Make gratitude part of your daily practice. Plan to do positive things such as offering help to others. Many people find that volunteering can boost your sense of connectedness and self-esteem. According to Dr. Taylor-Desir of Mayo Clinic, studies have shown that the practice of gratitude can shift our focus from negative emotions to more positive ones. In addition, gratitude increases neural sensitivity in areas of our brain linked to learning and decision making and can contribute to improved mental health over time.
Less Screen Time
Some people may turn to social media and news feeds during this time to stay up to date with current events, however, too much of this can be detrimental. Take time to get away from social media and unplug from the news. Try spending more time in nature, doing yoga, or meditating. If you’re feeling exhausted by the news, it may be a sign that you’re spending too much time exposing yourself to too much negative information.