Updated: Aug 26, 2020
Who would have thought 2020, the year starting a new decade, would be the year of a severe life-threatening pandemic? COVID has made a new reality for many of us: we social distance, wear a mask everywhere, and feel a little more anxious when leaving the house. Some of us (my husband) have lost jobs, while others have tragically lost lives. COVID has been an isolating year with mandatory quarantining, encouragement to stay at home, and discouragement to physically embrace others.
This year has been hard and has made feelings of hopelessness easy. Having a fear of losing loved ones while being disgusted with the racism that still exists in this country weighs heavily on our emotions. Here are some ways to show yourself self-care, which have helped get me through some of my darkest moments.
1. Develop a routine. Working or not, routines help provide some consistency during a hectic and scary time. Set an alarm each day, eat meals around the same time, and schedule different tasks, such as laundry, dishes, or movement. Routines can help keep your mind busy and give you a purpose each day.
2. Move that body. Movement can be so therapeutic. Not only are endorphins released, but there is nothing like feeling strong in your body. With gyms closed, movement can include walking around your neighborhood, YouTube videos, squats during TV commercials or stretching before bed.
3. Reflect. Sometimes when life gets so stressful, it can be challenging to see the big picture. I encourage you to reflect on the following questions: What are you thankful for? What tough time have you gotten through in the past? What helped you get past it? What do you hope to do in your lifetime? What do you love about yourself? Remember, there is only one you - there may be billions of people, but only one you. You are irreplaceable.
4. Validate your feelings. Sometimes feeling down can cause feelings of guilt or shame. Thinking that things could always be worse, can sometimes increase those feelings. It is ok to feel sad, depressed, scared, angry, etc. If we did not experience such feelings and emotions, we wouldn’t be human. You have permission to feel however you feel. Your feelings are valid; however, it's important that you know, you don't always have to feel this way. You deserve to feel content.
5. Get professional help. I think mental health is so stigmatized, where therapists only ask, “how does that make you feel?” and where only “crazy” people go on medication. Getting professional help has been one of the greatest things I did on my own mental health journey. I am on medication and would argue that it saved my life. Mental health professionals are trained to provide individualized help and support without bias or judgment.
Mental health is health, too. We deserve to take care of it just as we do our bodies with health check-ups, #prettybalanced meals, and movement. I hope these tips help you get through whatever you are going through. I want you to remember that hard times will always pass, I can promise you that. Everyone has a story, but we get to choose the ending.
Wishing you love and inner peace,