Today is World Mental Health Awareness Day, and we know 2020 in particular has strained our collective mental and emotional health. Kaiser Center for Public Health has reported between the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impacts, 53% of people report a negative impact on their mental health as a result.
If there is any silver lining in this (and trust me, I know it’s sometimes tough to find), I feel like the conversations around mental health are happening more openly than pre-pandemic. I talk about struggles, effects of isolation, etc. with friends and family with more ease. Maybe because we are all going through it to some degree, it feels less stigmatized, and I really hope that continues post-pandemic.
We’ve been sharing some mental health topics on social this week in preparation for this day. Here are five more tips to protect and improve your emotional well-being.
1) Get Your Body Moving – According to Psychology Today, “your body releases stress-releasing and mood-boosting endorphins before and after you work out, which is why exercise is a powerful antidote to stress, anxiety and depression.” In a previous post, I talked about exercise as a way to close the gap to get you to 100% of your tank.
2) Find (Safe) Ways to Connect – “Humans are social animals: we crave feeling supported, valued and connected” according to Mental Health America. Social connection has been linked with increased happiness, better health (loneliness was associated with a higher risk of blood pressure), and a longer life. Check out our previous post on staying connected during the pandemic for safe ways to stay close to your community.
3) Write Down Something You’re Grateful For – gratitude has been clearly linked with improved well-being and mental health. The most effective way, according to the research, is to keep a gratitude journal or write a daily gratitude list.
4) Positive Affirmations – having a bank of affirmations to pull from or reciting some of the same affirmations daily can have a powerful effect on how you feel. Try coming up with a few that you say everyday and see if the change on how you think about yourself translates to how you feel about yourself. Something as simple as: “I have confidence in myself” or “I make a positive difference in people’s lives” can do the trick. For more examples, check out this link https://www.prolificliving.com/100-positive-affirmations/.
5) Talk to Somebody – one of the biggest misconceptions about therapy is that it’s only for really serious issues. With the pandemic, there has been an expansion of telehealth and other resources to help those struggling with everything from seemingly benign issues to more serious concerns. Telemental health options like Betterhelp & Talkspace allow people to access licensed practitioners over video, phone, and chat messaging to get access to mental health resources. In many cases, your insurance may cover these services.
I hope y’all are able to carve out time this week to nurture your mental health and check in on those around you.
Take care and be well,