It’s been a hard year for mental health. Not that I have to tell you that.
No matter how the pandemic has changed your life — losing jobs, losing people, working overtime, parenting overtime — odds are it’s starting to wear on you as we continue missing family, friends, and any sense of normalcy.
Most people have spent the past 18 months just trying to get by. But going forward, we need to think seriously about how not to just tread water, but to propel ourselves forward despite this strange world we’re living in. There’s no telling how long it will be before we’re back to our old habits and routines. In the meantime, how can we take care of ourselves so that life doesn’t pause while we wait? The Fit Dallas Mom Blog explains how.
Schedule that therapy appointment
First, I want to address how hard it is to change your mindset on your own. It’s possible to undergo radical transformation through self-help, but it’s also slower and prone to setbacks. That’s why I’m a huge proponent of therapy.
Therapy isn’t just for fixing something that’s broken. It’s a means of getting a new perspective on old problems and a tool for changing patterns of thinking and behavior that hold you back from where you want to go. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is great for people who get stuck in cycles of negative thinking. Acceptance and commitment therapy helps with mental flexibility, mindfulness, and aligning values with actions. Psychodynamic therapy promotes self-growth by exploring the deep-rooted reasons underlying behaviors.
Don’t get discouraged if your first attempt at therapy isn’t a good fit. It usually takes a few tries to find the right therapist and modality for you. Luckily online therapy makes shopping around easy (not to mention COVID-safe).
Set and keep goals
Set your mind on achieving goals you’ve been putting off, like going back to school. Low-cost, flexible programs are available, and when you enroll in career-relevant online coursework you’re opening the door to career advancement and a higher income. Going the online route has many benefits, including the ability to go at your own pace wherever you wish, which allows you to continue working your job and tend to family matters without having to attend in-person classes on campus.
Pick up an outdoor activity
Are you spending more time indoors during the pandemic? You’re not alone. Some of that has been positive; however, all that time inside isn’t great for our health — and I’m not just talking about catching COVID-19. Indoor environments are a major source of air pollution and the more time we spend at home, notes The Verge, the worse it gets. Time indoors also promotes a sedentary lifestyle, contributes to vitamin d deficiency , and over time can even lead to a buildup of negative energy, stress, and unhealthy coping behaviors.
An outdoor hobby gives us a reason to spend more time outside, moving our bodies and soaking up the sunshine and warmth that’s so good for wellness. Walking and hiking, outdoor yoga, bicycling, rollerblading, gardening, and contact-free sports like tennis are safe options that don’t require a lot of money or experience to start. Of course, if fitness tops your agenda, working with a dedicated personal trainer can open a new door to customized fitness plans that work inside or outside.
You can also invite the outdoors into your home. Open your windows daily to clear out stale, negative energy and let fresh air in. Invest in a few houseplants and remember to open the curtains each morning. It makes a bigger difference than you think.
Stay intentional about your relationships
In the beginning of the pandemic, we were hosting virtual game nights, video chatting with extended family, and sending postcards to old friends. But when restrictions began to lift, a lot of our efforts to stay connected slowed down.
As tempting as it is to fall back into solo time, relationships are important for our emotional well-being. I know that for me, the harder it feels to call a friend, the more I need it. Make a point to keep social engagements on the calendar and get into a safe social routine with your closest friends. Even if it’s just meeting up for a virtual coffee date once a week, seeing a friendly face boosts your spirits and makes life in a pandemic feel a little less lonely.
Make a point to also stay intentional about your relationships with coworkers, which is especially important if you’re all working from home. Isolation can be very difficult to manage with remote work, so finding ways to interact can boost morale, and it can add a regular dose of positivity that everyone needs right now. Consider too what else you can do to create more inclusivity for everyone, even if you’re far apart.
Living through a pandemic has taught us a lot about ourselves and each other — like how resilient we are, how compassionate, and how much we can come together in a time of crisis. Yet there’s no denying this crisis has challenged us in many ways. As you look to the future, learn to let go of the things you can’t control and instead, focus on what you can do to keep life moving forward for yourself and the people you love.
The Fit Dallas Mom Blog is written by a mom, for moms. Read more informative articles today!