This year has provided many new opportunities and many challenges As humans we are wired to socialize. To gather, to touch, to engage each other. And in this COViD world, well, we can't.
This lack of ability to gather in ways we knew has really begun to affect our mental health. Depression, anxiety, and mental health issues are on the rise. And because things are so hard for everyone, many people don't want to talk about their feelings with friends or family due to worry of becoming a burden. If you or someone you know is struggling, you are not alone!
Some things we can do during this time to improve our mental health are:
Take up a new hobby. Find ways to enjoy your time and develop your creativity. One of the first things to diminish when depression increases is our creativity. Involving ourselves in creative experiences helps keep depression at bay. There are also many online communities for different hobbies to engage others and build new relationships.
Eat healthily, feel better. We have serotonin receptors in our stomach which communicate with our brain. Eating real food that grows from the ground or lives on the planet improves our wellbeing. Add in some Vitamin D, K, and B12 to help improve mood and mental clarity.
Move your body! Take a walk with your dog or a bike ride. Start a yoga practice. Lift light weights. Keeping our body moving helps signal to our brain to produce chemicals that make us happier and more energetic instead of lethargic and down.
Check your thoughts. What are you thinking about? Are you looking for truth? Focusing on positive things happening? Make a list of your blessings. Take note of what you are in control of and things you have the power to change. Then decide what you want to do differently and take steps to move in that direction. Take notice of your feelings, but recognize they are NOT facts.
Talk to a professional. Everyone needs counsel from time to time. Especially when you are socially disconnected from others. Seeking a therapist can be one of the best things you do to improve your mental and physical health. Seeing a therapist does not mean something bad or that something is wrong with you. In fact, seeing a therapist means you are taking care of your needs in an intelligent way.
This has been a long, tough season of life. But there is hope. Listen to yourself and have the courage to take the steps needed to feel better, improve your overall health, and learn new ways of relating to yourself!