Life is stressful, we all know that. But sometimes it feels like the whole world turned upside down overnight and we may feel as if we are spinning wildly out of control. Its hard to imagine we would wake up one day with a worldwide PANDEMIC.
Daily routines are a thing of the past, schedules are a non existent, and fear is skyrocketing. It’s time’s like this that we may feel we are losing control, and in some ways that might be true. But now more than ever, you need to have good self care.
*keep a good sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even if you don’t need to. I even set an alarm clock on the weekends! Good sleep is vitally important for mental and physical health and well-being. Especially in times of stress. Consider taking melatonin to reset your “sleep clock”.
*get dressed everyday. Sure working from home may allow you to wear pajamas and slippers everyday, but that behavior can lead to feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and a lack of motivation in other areas.
*Healthy eating. Sure comfort food SOUNDS like a good idea, but what your mind a body really need it good health nutrients without excessive fat, additives, and calories. Make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein. Drink plenty of water. Consider a daily multivitamin.
*exercise daily. Move your body, preferable outside, for at least 20 minutes daily. Exercise will help you sleep well, fight chronic fatigue and pain, and boost endorphins, those healthy chemicals you need to experience joy. Exercising outdoors provides addition mood boosting benefits and provides your body with vitamin D. If you are unable to spend time outdoors, consider a daily supplement of vitamin D3 5000 mg/iu daily. Your doctor can order a vitamin D level to determine if you are deficient.
Seek out comfort and joy. Find time for things that make you feel good.
*play. Grab the dog, pack up the kids, go for a walk, ride a bike, put on skates. Anything you liked when you were a kid, you’ll probably like now
*take a bubble bath
*Do a puzzle
*watch a funny movie or tv show
*listen to uplifting music. I listen to Christmas music all year long. It’s hard feel down when Jingle Bells is playing
* call a friend. Building a good support system is fun and makes you more resilient to stress.
* tap into your spiritual base. Prayer, meditation, doing the rosary, or having quiet time can quiet a restless soul.
* get your daily dose of awe. Awe boosts happy brain chemicals and only comes from experiencing art, music and nature. Arrange some flowers from the garden, watch a sunset, go birdwatching, or check out an online art gallery.
Things to avoid.
*the 24-hour news cycle. Consider limiting news shows to twice daily. Most of us don’t need to have a constant stream of news updates to get through the day, but our devices and television programming serves it up to us nonstop. Consider ridding your devices of apps and tune in at designated times, and not near bedtime.
*Substances. A glass of wine once in a while is nice but overdoing it can have serious consequences on mental and physical health. Chronic cannabis can actually increase anxiety symptoms and cause a serious lack of motivation. Limit yourself to 1-2 glasses/drinks 3 times a week and with cannabis, less is best.
*overeating- who wants to come out of this pandemic overweight and unhealthy
*when lifestyle management and good sleep aren’t enough, you may need professional help. Contact your mental health provider for further information, evaluation and/or treatment.