Being in a global pandemic for over a year has had tremendous impacts on mental health. Social isolation, lockdowns, travel restrictions and closures has life looking and feeling very different than what we are used to.
The longer the uncertainties, the more it takes a toll on how we think, feel and act. Because of this we need to put extra time into taking care of ourselves and our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.
It’s difficult when we are not able to see our loved ones, go out with friends or even visit sick relatives. It’s very common for people to feel lonely, sad and like no one understands what they are going through. Feelings of anger, frustration, hopelessness are also normal human emotions to feel in times of big change.
It’s important to feel these emotions and let them pass through your body. It’s easy to distract ourselves with our favourite shows or playing on our phones to take our mind off the negative feelings, but if we do that, the energy gets stuck inside of our bodies.
Here are some practices I’ve found that help tremendously with my mental health:
Journaling – writing all my thoughts, feelings, emotions onto the paper, with no filter. The good, the bad and the ugly. It’s a safe space that is free of judgement. I find using a pen and paper instead of typing is much more powerful as it brings your words into a tangible reality that helps discern which thoughts are actually true and which may be pure emotions taking over.
Gratitude lists – when there is so much we wish we could change in the world, shifting our mindset to one of gratitude is one of the most powerful things you can do. Look at any circumstance that doesn’t seem to be working out in your favour and see if you can find even the tiniest silver lining that you could give thanks for. It’s not always easy, but it works if you put your mind to it!
Meditation – taking a few minutes in the morning or when you feel a big emotion to just close your eyes and breathe deeply and slowly into your belly. Counting to 3 in your head for each inhale and exhale will give your mind something to focus on while breathing. After enough time, the wave of emotion will pass.
Affirmations – Creating a positive dialogue to counter negative emotions helps rewire the brain to see new patterns instead of the old familiar ones. Try saying things like:
“Everything will be okay”
“I am safe”
“I am strong”
“I am brave”
“I am loved”
These are a few helpful tips that can get you through hard times of uncertainty and change. Creating daily habits or doing them with family and friends can really make a big difference in any environment.
With Love and Kindness,