The last year has been more than a little strange, hasn’t it? From a virus sweeping the globe upending everyday life and multiple crazy (and scary) political events demonstrating deep divisions in society, to witnessing the rapidly increasing effects of climate change and extreme weather events, it’s been difficult to maintain a solid grip on reality and keep spirits up. Despite this difficulty, it’s never been more imperative to look after your mental health and well-being, so we’ve collected some tips aimed at helping you to feel grounded, organized, and mentally-prepared for whatever life has to throw at you (well, within reason)!
1. A Doable Daily Routine
As you’ll know from the various daily routines shared by celebs and politicians alike, everyone marches to the beat of their own drum when it comes to building a personalized routine. From Mark Wahlberg’s insane 3am starts, cryo-chamber trips, and rigid blocks of ‘family time’, to Marie Kondo’s much gentler routine that emphasizes starting your day in a peaceful way, it’s evident that we each need a routine that fits in with our personality and chosen lifestyle.
The past year has thrown the daily doings of most into disarray but adding some structure into life will ensure that you set aside time for yourself whilst also ensuring you get everything you need to be done. For those Apple devotees with an iPhone, Mac, or both, there’s a fantastic app that can help you to build a doable, personalized daily routine. Setapp, an all-access pass to specially designed Mac and iOS apps that are unique to Apple devices, contains a plethora of apps created to help you organize your day – ‘Be Focused’ and ‘HazeOver,’ for example. Even better, the first 7 days of this app are free, giving you the opportunity to test and choose a plan that suits you.
2. Step into the Sun
Sunlight is essential to human survival. Whether covered by clouds or pinned onto a vibrant blue sky, it helps to provide us with much-needed vitamins, boosts serotonin, and increases energy. Now that spring is on its way and the sun is showing its face, there’s even more reason to step outside for a bit each day! Go for a walk, hang some washing out on the line or sit in the garden for 10 minutes with a coffee, and we promise you’ll soon start to feel the mood-boosting effects. Just make sure you wear sunscreen!
3. Get Moving
As tempting as it is to veg in bed or on the sofa all day when you’re feeling overwhelmed by external events, it’s days like these that you really need to try and get up and move your body. Some exercise, no matter how little, will help produce endorphins that keep your mood elevated and boost your energy levels. So, whether you enjoy some early morning downward dog, a kitchen boogie, or some high-level cardio, make sure you get yourself moving for a bit each day.
4. Reach Out, Speak Out
Everyone is finding the current climate – personal and political – difficult. Low mood, lack of motivation, excessive levels of apathy, and general malaise are affecting everyone in some way or another. In times like these, your mental health can benefit so much from sharing your problems with those close to you and commiserating together. Although some alone time is good to reset and refresh, don’t shut yourself away too frequently, as this will only increase your sense of isolation from the world. Send someone an unexpected message, set up a zoom call, or organize a park walk with coffee – but whatever you do, keep it real with your loved ones. It will make all the difference.
5. Some Super Shut-Eye
Getting a solid 6-8 hours of sleep each night does wonders for your mental and physical health. Endless time at home and a lack of exercise can lead to a build-up of unused energy, leaving you wide awake with a racing mind right at the time you’re trying to sleep. Setting up a flexible daily routine, sharing worries with loved ones, and staying active in mind and body will help you prepare your body for a good night’s sleep. Still struggling? Spraying lavender scents on your pillow, using an eye mask, or listening to some soothing music can be incredibly useful!
6. TLC (not the girl group)
Go on, give yourself some tender loving care – you deserve it! Draw a bubble bath with candles and pour a glass of wine; meditate when you wake up; paint your nails and put on a face mask; binge episodes of Ru Paul’s Drag Race – do whatever you need to do to fill yourself with calm energy and rid yourself of the knot of stress and anxiety in your chest.
7. Work that Wardrobe, Girl
Get. Dressed. Every. Day. Show up for yourself. Who cares that no-one else is privy to your fashionably put-together outfits? Or to admire your daring use of clashing patterns and colors? Fashion should be fun, individual and, most importantly, just for you! Now is also the perfect time for you to try out daring, quirky clothing combinations alongside different jewelry and make-up looks, with no one else to judge you or make you feel self-conscious.
Even if it means swapping your PJs for other loungewear, simply putting on a different outfit will lend some purpose and order to your day, stopping each one from blending into another without change.
8. Jump on the Journaling Bandwagon
Journaling, alongside self-care, has become a bit of a mindfulness trend. It is, however, a super introspective and useful one. Setting aside time each day to make a quick note of the day’s events helps to differentiate your days during lockdown and is also a way of helping you to explore your feelings – good or bad. From your journaling, you can identify triggers and patterns that lead to negative thoughts and feelings, whilst simultaneously helping you to note what things make your heart sing. For the more literary amongst us, you can even record your days in the form of poems! This is one trend that you definitely want to give a go.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel – with the various Covid-10 vaccines being produced around the world, it looks like life will begin to shift back to some form of normality soon. Until that time, test out some of the tips above to help maintain your sanity; which one works best for you?