Half a year ago, we were thinking about where to travel for the next holidays, how to get that promotion at work, or perhaps even how to cancel on dinner after a tiring day at work. Then like a sudden tidal wave, we were all plunged into the depths of an unprecedented global pandemic; from retrenchment to some not even being able to meet family members. This distressing situation, coupled with struggling to adapt to a new normal inevitably takes a toll on our mental health.
Many of us are feeling some level of anxiety, stress, and even despondency. That is why, on August Berg, we want to breathe some positivity and encouragement to you, our readers with five simple but alleviating tips for good mental well-being.
- Create a new routine
Creating a new daily routine kills two birds with one stone as it increases both our current and long-term productivity levels. Penning down a list of important things to do, structuring your time and even getting into specifics like ‘1 hour of Vinyasa’ is a good way to prioritise and look at your daily habits at a glance. It helps us find where we are most free or most lacking in and adding it into our routines (IE: lack of exercise and wide free space in the late afternoon -> add some exercise time in the afternoon), making our days more productive than before.
Tip: One way to make routine creation fun is to jazz it up with washi tapes and stickers as well as colours! You can try some of these with a quick search on Pinterest. - lookup “Bullet Journaling”
- Listening to music
Being quarantined at home could bring up unpleasant thoughts and feelings that we have kept at bay by socialising and making ourselves busy. Many of us become uncomfortable with the sudden burst of feelings and rather than bottling them up, one can express these feelings through listening to their favourite music.
Countless researches have shown how music lowers cortisol in the body, a hormone that contributes to stress and anxiety. Furthermore, an article by Harvard Health Publishing writes how music can even improve cognitive functions apart from just reducing emotional stress, showing how it really is a medicine to the body and soul!
Tip: If you are looking for some soothing music ideas, we have curated a list of music along with beautiful imagery to help with distressing at different times of days called ‘Time of the Day series’. Take a look at one of them here.
The pandemic has displaced most of us from our usual routine and suddenly, we’re left with an abundance of spare time every day. This is generally a good thing for some who can finally have some much-needed rest, but for others, it can be a source of anxiety. Well, a good way to let off some steam is through exercising! From yoga to at-home HIIT workouts, being active releases endorphins that reduce the feeling of pain while triggering pleasant feelings. What’s more, with the right exercise, we could give our bodies a makeover that would astonish our friends and family the next time we see them.
Tip: You don’t need a killer workout routine to feel good. A short, low-impact exercise can help you feel better and get you in better shape, many of which can be easily found on Instagram. (Try #workoutathome)
- Spring clean
Did the first image trigger some unpleasant feelings? As you may have guessed, clutter is not good for the mind and the body. For one, it makes us more prone to injuries from stabbing into that table corner or that one LEGO lying on the floor, and second, a cluttered space often distracts the mind from focusing and relaxing. Take advantage of the current spare time to do a thorough clean of that cabinet in the corner of the room and maybe even throw out some stuff to make space for some new knick-knacks and furniture pieces that alleviate your mood. There are many experts and veterans like Marie Kondo who can help you through this journey!
Tip: Apart from the physical spring cleaning, it’s good to do a virtual spring cleaning to unfollow toxic people and unused applications to make space for better stuff that brings in positivity!
- Acknowledge that its okay to not be okay
The first step to bettering one’s current situation is to first acknowledge it as a problem. It’s alright to not feel fine. We aren’t robots and there will inevitably be periods in our life where we just want to cuddle in our warm, soft bed, or even just cry and let it all out.
Acknowledge that feeling and embrace it rather than pushing past our breaking point. In fact, did you know that crying releases oxytocin that relieves both physical and emotional pain while activating the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which aids with relaxation?
Tip: There is an acupressure point in between the big toe and the second toe that helps to increase the feeling of relief after a good cry by massaging the point in a circular motion with the thumb and then without releasing the pressure, push the thumb away from the body for 5 minutes.
You would not let your phone be on low battery so likewise, do not let your mental health be on low battery. Take this opportune moment to recharge your inner self for the multitude of challenges in the coming months.