There’s nothing more important than taking care of your mental health by adopting some self-help practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time of uncertainty and increased stress, you can avoid becoming depressed or even hopeless by keeping up with some basic self-care.
Check out these 10 self-help practices that are easy to perform, easy to maintain, and will lift some of the weight resting on your shoulders during these difficult and often unsettling times.
1. Distance yourself from negative social media content.
Social media platforms are brimming with hateful, negative, and completely inaccurate content that is stirring up arguments on every post, causing people to delete their accounts due to cyberbullying, shaming, and so many more unnecessary outcomes.
Nothing good comes from reading negative content and other users’ arguments, which are condemned to a loop of back-and-forth where no one listens to anyone. Don’t surround yourself with this negativity; run from it the second you come across it!
2. Stretch and exercise every day.
As you know, exercise releases endorphins and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment and contentment. Your body needs exercise to stay healthy, which will make you feel better from the inside out.
Stretching, on the other hand, is essential for implementing into your pre- and post-workout routines. There are countless stretches for every muscle, joint, and pain you might have, and stretching helps prevent injury during and after workouts.
3. Jot down your daily thoughts, challenges, and reasons to be thankful.
Internalizing your emotions, fears, and concerns is a one-way ticket to a nervous breakdown. If you don’t have anyone you can talk to or confide in on a daily basis, write down all your thoughts, struggles, and concerns in a diary or journal. Even if no one is listening, just getting your thoughts down on paper will help you sort out what you’re feeling and relieve some of the burden you’re carrying.
It’s also a great idea to write down what you’re thankful for and document every positive experience you have during this time so that you remind yourself that good things are still happening and there’s still plenty to be thankful for!
4. Practice meditation.
Meditation is one of the best self-help practices for relieving all the tension, anxiety, and fear that will start to take a toll on your body and your mind. Anxiety is one of the most common issues people are dealing with right now, and meditation actually improves blood flow and slows your heart rate, which can effectively prevent panic attacks and prolonged periods of stress.
Other benefits of meditation include pain reduction, strengthened immunity, reversal of heart disease, increased energy, and reduced chronic stress.
5. Pick up a new hobby or two.
When you don’t have enough on your plate to keep your mind and body active, you can easily start slipping into feelings of hopelessness and despair. To avoid these feelings and keep yourself productive, pick up a couple new hobbies that you’ve never made time for in the past. One hobby I picked up during COVID-19 involves watching Bob Ross reruns on Hulu and painting along!
Whatever hobbies you do decide to try out should stimulate your brain, challenge your abilities, and provide satisfaction both during and after the activity.
6. De-clutter and organize your space.
Many self-help specialists believe clutter is a hindrance to personal fulfillment. Although a messy room might seem harmless, clutter can actually induce anxiety, influence poor eating habits, and negatively impact your ability to sleep and focus. The general rule is to hold onto useful things that kindle joy and get rid of everything else!
One way to make this self-help practice more beneficial is to donate all your unwanted clothes and personal items to those in need, especially those suffering from unemployment due to COVID-19.
7. Get enough sleep—but not too much.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body and mind don’t function properly. Your brain and your body both need sufficient sleep to restore energy, fight off infection, and maintain an effective immune system. You can, however, sleep too much, which can have adverse effects like depression, fatigue, and obesity due to prolonged inactivity.
The optimal amount of sleep varies from person to person, but researchers suggest that 7 to 9 hours per night is a good rule of thumb for adults.
8. Volunteer to help others.
Volunteering isn’t just an amazing and selfless act that benefits others; it also benefits you by providing you with a sense of purpose and personal fulfillment. This is a great activity to add to your weekly routine, especially if you’re not working or attending school in person and have plenty of free time on your hands.
Some easy volunteering opportunities in your community include food banks, blood donation centers, grocery delivery to seniors, and food and school supply distribution to school-aged children.
9. Watch comedy podcasts.
Laughter truly does work wonders on your mental health. It stimulates your heart, relieves stress and tension, releases endorphins, and improves your oxygen intake. Laughter is one of the easiest and most effective self-help practices you can adopt, so check out some comedy podcasts on YouTube, Facebook, and countless other social media platforms!
Check out this list of this year’s top 25 comedy podcasts to get a head start!
10. Go on a road trip.
Traveling is an effective way to take a break from a stressful home environment, a stressful job, or even toxic people you’re surrounded by. Traveling also has a link to overall well-being because it can relieve stress, increase happiness, and boost mental resilience.
You don’t have to travel far or stay at a luxury hotel to get all the mental health benefits of traveling. All you need is a change of scenery, exposure to different cultures, and a travel buddy. So, if you’re limited on funds or you’re banned from flying due to COVID-19, take a road trip somewhere that you can unwind and take in some beautiful sights with a friend or two!
Are these 10 self-help practices helping you manage your mental health during COVID-19? Comment your thoughts below!
Featured image source: https://urban.co/editorial/relaxing-instagram-accounts-follow/
Jamie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is an aspiring writer, professional editor/proofreader, and piano player. In her free time, Jamie enjoys reading classic literary works, composing music, and playing Xbox with her husband!