3 Ways To Make Mental Health A PriorityCOVID-19 has been an unwelcome addition to our lives for over a year now, but the effects are still revealing themselves. The health crisis has had a particularly outsized impact on mental health. Around 30% of Americans have experienced anxiety or depression during the pandemic, according to the CDC. Whether the mental health struggles stem from the social isolation of lockdown, illness, job loss, financial difficulties, or the death of a loved one, the virus has touched everyone. Perhaps one of the toughest aspects of the fallout from the coronavirus has been coping with the extended period of uncertainty it’s caused. In fact, human brains aren’t actually wired to readily comprehend or deal with uncertainty from an evolutionary standpoint. So, how do you calm your racing lizard brain as the pandemic continues to impact our daily lives? Well, the first step is to work on what you can actually control. Below, we’ll dive into some different ways to manage and boost your mental health.
Step 1: Adopt Healthy Coping Mechanisms
- Exercise: When you’re stressed and tired, it’s unlikely that exercise is at the top of your list of priorities. But it should be. Even a twenty to thirty minute walk can give you a boost of happy chemicals like dopamine. Whether you hop on a bike, explore a local hiking trail, or just walk your dog around the block, activity can help your brain reset.
- Try CBD: Taking a CBD supplement can help soothe an anxious mind. SeaBeeDee’s Calming Blend delivers full-spectrum CBD coupled with other calming ingredients. Third-party tested for purity and made in the USA, this CBD blend can help you relax and unwind, no matter how many meetings-that-should-have-been-emails you had.
- Meditation: Meditation actually helps rewire your brain’s neural network. But meditation is like a muscle: to strengthen your meditation practice, you’ll need to practice regularly. Aim to meditate for at least five minutes a day, three times a week.
Step 2: Reach Out To Your Support Group And ProfessionalsIf you find yourself overwhelmed by loneliness, stress, anxiety, or racing thoughts, suddenly everything can seem like a burden. Even getting out of bed in the morning can suddenly require a herculean effort. There’s still a widespread stigma around mental health, but you might be surprised by how many of your friends and family have experienced similar struggles. So, reach out to your social network. And if you can, even a virtual visit or social distant outdoor gathering can provide the social connection essential for emotional wellness. Although outdoor gatherings aren’t completely, risk-free, with masks and social distancing, you can reduce the likelihood of transmission. It’s also important to recognize that your social support network can’t do all of the emotional labor for you. In some cases, you might need the help of a professional to help develop your toolkit for coping with depression or anxiety. There are many ways you can connect with professional therapists in your area, but you might prefer the convenience of online therapy.
Step 3: Delegate What You Can And Say “No”Many people are used to hearing phrases like “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and other cliches of rugged individualism. Unfortunately, it can cause you to burn out if you’re not careful about how much you exert yourself. When it comes to your work environment, make sure that you’re setting proper boundaries between work life and home life. One study found that Americans are working 48.5 more minutes at home compared to their pre-pandemic in-office workdays. So, what can you do? Give yourself a hard shut-off time where you no longer answer emails or calls. Eventually, your body and mind will learn your routine and naturally start to relax when 5 pm (or whenever your hard stop is) comes around. It’s also incredibly important to learn to say “no” when necessary. Although it’s natural to want to make others happy, especially when it comes to your professional, familial, or social relationships — make sure you don’t overextend yourself. Feel ragged? Say “no.”
Takeaways: Prioritizing Your Mental Health
There’s no magic bullet for relaxation and stress-relief. However, with the right lifestyle changes, you’ll be able to cope with stress and anxiety without feeling overwhelmed