When setting our goals and vision for 2020, very few of us can say that we saw a global pandemic in our near future. However, without question, this is the right time to prioritize your mental and spiritual health. Be kind, gentle, and loving to yourself and your body as you move through this season. Please remember our lives from two months ago have drastically changed; you must realize for the sake of your emotional wellness, you do not have to keep up and try to do it all. Because amid the trials and tribulations we are all experiencing, it’s vital to save room for ourselves.
So, whether you are working on the frontlines or adjusting to your work from home schedule, here are some tips to help you manage your mental capacity.
Setting and maintaining personal and professional boundaries is a critical step to managing your mental capacity and wellness, especially during the pandemic. Toxic relationships can drain your energy significantly, and setting the proper guidelines for when and how you will interact with others is a great way to honor yourself and prioritize your mental health. Consider eliminating or decreasing the number of phone calls, emails, and video chats you engage in, particularly with individuals that leave you emotionally depleted. Processing the pandemic itself has taxed us all of some of our energy, and it is critical that we reserve what we have left for the activities and people that matter most.
It’s easy to assume that you should have extra energy to engage in more activities online than you would in person. This is definitely not the case! While video and phone conferencing may not require you to travel or commute, the amount of psychological energy expended is significant. Instead of taking on extra projects or tasks, consider using any “extra” time, you may have to intentionally slow down and check-in with yourself. Requests for virtual social gatherings can become overwhelming as well. So, if you are experiencing videoconference or Zoom fatigue, consider swapping them out for a traditional telephone call to catch up with friends and family.
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Become One With Nature
Embrace the outdoors but do so safely by taking the opportunity to step outside for some fresh air (and while practicing social distancing, of course). Taking in the sights and sounds outside of your own living space can help to ground you if you feel isolated, overwhelmed, or frustrated. Studies have shown that being around nature can reduce stress, decrease anxiety, improve memory capacity, and creativity.
No trees or other greenery in your vicinity? Consider bringing the outdoors inside by investing in an indoor plant, which can brighten your space and increase your productivity. The color green has also been shown to increase emotional balance, and flowers are a well-known natural mood booster.
Do What Makes You Happy
There is something to be said for being strategic when it comes to your mental health. Make a list of what you love for each of your senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. Is there a scent that brings a smile to your face? An old recipe for a meal you love to eat? A particular piece of clothing that feels amazing against your skin? Now is a great time to envelop yourself with all the seemingly small things you know for a fact makes you feel better. And if you know you have a particularly stressful day coming up? Consider having some of these items on hand or waiting for you when you get home to ease your bedtime routine.
Schedule Intentional Breaks
While working under stressful circumstances, the hours can easily blend all together, and before you know it, you’ve missed lunch completely. Like any other important work event on your calendar, schedule time everyday to take short breaks and slightly more extended rest periods for lunch. Taking the time to nourish your system, hydrate your body, and give yourself a break will provide you with the energy needed to get through the rest of your day. Going for a walk or engaging in other physical activities are also great uses of your break time.
Trade Technology for Meditation
With so many messages coming from traditional media, social media, text messages, family, and friends, it can be challenging to sort out your thoughts and feelings. Instead of watching the news or scrolling social media for hours, spend some quiet time each day listening to your inner voice and being physically still. If negative thoughts come to your mind, spend some time re-framing those thoughts into actionable steps, you can take to address what IS in your control.