A healthy life starts with a healthy mind. In this hustle and bustle of our busy lives, we often bury ourselves in work, responsibilities, and routines. As such, most of us look past what really matters, like family time, sleep, and “me-time”. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and circuit breakers cooped us up in our homes, blurring the lines between our work space, and our living space.
Adding all of this up, it’s understandable why you have neglected your mental health.
But you’re not alone. According to a report by the CDC in late June 2020, around 40% of U.S. adults claimed they were struggling with mental health or substance use issues. Furthermore, the report noted that young adults, ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid caregivers were especially affected by the coronavirus situation.
With the backbone of our nation having mental health issues, how much longer can they hold before they collapse – along with our society? If you’re someone facing mental health issues or have a friend who needs help, here are some practices to hold on to your sanity and keep your mental health in check during the COVID-19 season.
Let it Go
As a spiritual blogger Ann Voskamp once said, “Shame dies when stories are shared in safe places.” Indeed, don’t try to hide your shame, dark secrets, or depressing situations. This will just make your life burdensome, pulling you deeper into the recesses of despair. Don’t try to bear the problems of the world fully on your shoulders, other humans exist for a reason too.
Instead, muster up your courage, and try to share your secrets with somebody you trust. This could be your long-time friend, your family member, your partner, or anyone you know has good intentions for you. If you really can’t find anybody to rant to, there are many mental health organizations out there to help you.
Mental health organizations like Mental Health America (MHA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) have an overarching mission: To promote mental wellness, for the betterment of society. Literally just one call away, you can reach out to such organizations or even join mental health-related groups, finding your safe space to share your story.
Focus on the present
In meditation, one of the hardest things to achieve is not that “zen” pose, but thinking solely about the present. To keep your mental health in check, you should try to focus on the present, distancing yourself from your past, and trying not to get distracted by the future. A good way to put this is to live in the moment.
Don’t get me wrong, you definitely shouldn’t completely forget what you’ve learned in the past, nor adopt a YOLO mindset and disregard your future. Focusing on the present means that you should not overthink what has, or will happen, but set your mind on what you can change now.
Some good practices to adopt will be to exercise. Exercise not only keeps you fit, but it also clears your mind and relieves your stress. It’s all related to stimulating the production of endorphins, reducing your stress level, and whatnot, but well, it works! Meditation and nature walks can also help to relax your mind and body, benefitting your mental health as well.
To make sure that you don’t have “free time” to mull over your dismal past, try creating a timetable. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but your timetable should include meaningful activities that take up 24 hours in a day. Try an online scheduling calendar, or even iPhone’s Calendar app for effective time management.
Your Pursuit of ‘Happyness’
I’m a big fan of the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness”, based on the true rags-to-riches story of Chris Gardner. In case you haven’t watched (or read) it, Mr. Gardner had nothing but motivation (his son), his bone density scanner (a costly mistake), and an undying, hard-working attitude.
Although “The Pursuit of Happyness” and coping with mental health may sound totally different, they’re actually the same thing. Happiness is not a destination, but a way of life. Instead of constantly wondering when you’re going to achieve happiness, focus on what you do that makes you feel happy.
Whether it is doing charity work, helping the needy, or even helping other victims facing mental health issues, your pursuit can take on unlimited permutations. Today, you should set a goal, work towards it, and your journey to bring change to the world will undoubtedly be a happy one.
Your mental health is important, and it is your responsibility to keep it in check. If you’re facing any mental health issues, even if it seems insignificant, you should take action now. I hope this article will help you pull through these tough times, and spur you on in your pursuit of happyness!