Struggling to focus on one thing while hundreds of other distractions are flying over your head? Anxious about your future? Feeling alone amidst a global pandemic? Having a hard time adjusting to drastic changes? Don’t know how to feel better?
In the middle of this painful time of political chaos, climate change, COVID-19, tragedies, injustice, violence and more, it’s not unusual to overlook our mental health. You are not alone! Here are some of my tips and strategies on how to start prioritizing your mental health.
Go to your happy place: You know, that place that just makes you feel so good inside? Whether it’s metaphorical or physical, escape from reality and go to your happy place—the mountain, your car, a viewpoint, your bed, your imagination and anywhere else. While you’re there, identify your feelings and brainstorm how you can feel better.
Do one thing every day that makes YOU happy: It’s normal for us to depend on other people for our own happiness, which isn’t a terrible thing, but it can get out of hand. However, you need to know how to make yourself happy before giving all your energy out to someone around you.
Make a list of things you love: About yourself; about life; about today; about your boyfriend or girlfriend or partner or best friend; about the world; about your celebrity crush; about your favorite sport; about your music playlist; about all of the above! Pin it up on a wall or place it on your nightstand to remind you of the good things in life.
Treat yourself: Cook your favorite meal, cleanse yourself, go out and get Crumbl or simply give yourself a break.
Be your own superhero: Love yourself. Look in the mirror. Strike that superhero pose like Amelia Shepherd in episode 14 of season 11 of “Grey’s Anatomy.” Tell yourself that you are awesome because YOU ARE.
Cry it out: This one is probably my favorite. Crying feels GOOD. It really does help. Don’t be afraid to cry about everything and anything going on in your life. Just let it out. We all deserve a little (or humongous) cry sesh.
Get outside: Get out of bed. Go on a bike ride or walk your dog. Exercise. Go on, go get some fresh air.
Put a rubber band (or hair tie or bracelet or scrunchie) around your wrist: Every time a negative thought about yourself or the world pops into your mind, take the rubber band and put it on the opposite wrist. This will make you more aware of what you’re thinking about and WHEN you think about the bad things in life.
Distract yourself: Do something else for a bit. Listen to music and have a dance party. Write a poem. Read a book. Sketch your favorite scene from your favorite movie. Meditate. Practice yoga. Make a TikTok. Play video games. Just do something!
Sleep: Take a nap! Sleeping is one of the best ways to rejuvenate and relax. It allows you to forget about any of the bad thoughts roaming around your brain. When you wake up, things will be monumentally better.
Breathe and meditate: Literally just close your eyes and breathe. Inhale for 9 Mississippi’s, exhale for 6, repeat! Look up some guided meditation videos on YouTube or download a meditation app on your phone. Just take a couple minutes out of your day to separate yourself from the world.
Reach out: You don’t have to necessarily barf out all of your emotions and problems and thoughts in front of someone else (you can if you want, that also helps me), but just say “Hi!” Ask a friend about their day and how they are doing. Tell your sibling about a show you’re watching. Talk to your pet turtle or ferret. Go out and buy a turtle or ferret if you don’t already have one!
These 12 things have gotten me through a lot in my life. They work for me and I hope they work for you too! Please try at least one of them out. You never know, you might start feeling a lot better about yourself and the world. You can do this! I believe in you! You are awesome!