For some of us, the stresses of 2020 were far too much to handle some days. Whether it was fear over contracting the coronavirus or anxiety over making sure debts were paid off in time, it was certainly a taxing year mentally for most.
However, 2021 brings a chance for a renewal with some normality in site, and the opportunity to put ourselves back at the forefront and make mental wellness the pinnacle for the new year.
Know Your Resources
Everyone’s stress levels have been different throughout the pandemic. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and asking for help is okay. Bruce Rubenstein, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist, is among a litany of mental health professionals that have opted for Telemedicine appointments during these times of social distancing. This allows patients to still have the comfort of someone to talk to, while not having to worry about the potential spread of COVID-19.
Of course, therapy sessions and professional care may not be affordable to everyone, but there are still free resources available to assure mental health is kept as a priority. The Centers for Disease Control and the National Institute for Mental Health have access to proper treatments and support 24/7/365. You can also look into what your current health care plan provides for you in terms of behavioral health services.
Self-care Is Key
The best way to boost our mental, emotional, and even physical health is to take the time each day to practice some form of self-care.
This can be anything for anyone from getting some daily exercise to giving yourself a manicure with stick on nails. Be sure to consider healthier behaviors. Avoid drugs or alcohol as a crutch to make yourself feel more at ease during these difficult times. Deep breathing exercises and focusing on positive thoughts can alleviate some of the stresses of the day. It is also recommended to limit screen time to get distracted by the negative news and comments that could be popping up on your social media feed.
A certain scent like lavender from a candle, or some fresh flowers, can provide some easiness, and had been linked to having calming properties. You can also take on a DIY project to make a house feel more comfortable. Transforming your bedroom into your personal hideaway can create your personal oasis to take a breath from all of life’s qualms. Whether it is new pillows, artwork, or decor, you can create a calming, soothing environment that will ease you into sleep at the end of a stressful day. You could also turn your bathroom into your own spa, with a luxurious bathtub to soak out the stresses of the day.
Connect with Others
While sometimes stress, depression, and anxiety send us into ourselves, it is best to keep connected with family and friends as much as you can.
Yes, you may be sick of the Zoom happy hours and FaceTime meals, but staying connected to the people that bring joy to your life is essential. Don’t be afraid to set up a meeting with a friend for a socially distanced walk, or a masked meet-up with just the two of you.
There are online support groups that can act in conjunction with telemedicine to provide you with some newfound peace of mind. Several churches and other religious venues have offered services through the pandemic to connect spirituality with a sense of being.
Thankfully, a “new normal” is on the way that will allow us all to resume setting up weekend plans and deciding on vacation getaways. For now, do what you can to keep open lines of communication with those you love.