This time of year can often put a strain our mental health. Less sunshine, colder weather and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can make things more difficult at the best of times, but throw in the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders and things get even harder.
Here are ten quick tips on how to improve your mental health and find the joy in every day activities.
- Get Out in Nature - Fresh air is always good for our physical and mental health, and it’s especially important when we don’t get out of the house as often. There are many places that still allow people even when parks and other public areas are closed. Check out walking trails inside and outside of the city and bring your pets too! https://g2grailtrail.com/
- Eat a Good Meal - A balanced diet not only benefits your body, but your mood too. If you’re getting bored with your regular meals, check out Pinterest or other websites to try something fun and new. Make it a family affair!
- Make Your Bed - Messy bed messy head! Start your day off on an organized and productive foot, even if you are working/schooling from home.
- Learn Something New! - Create something artistic and remind yourself that it doesn’t have to be good! You might find a new hobby or interest that you really enjoy.
- Find something that makes you laugh! - Whether it be a new TV show, book, podcast – a little laughter goes a long way for positive mental health.
- Start a Gratitude Journal - Start and end your day by writing in a gratefulness journal (there are a ton on amazon!), or make it a family affair at the supper table to share what everyone is grateful for that day.
- Acknowledge - Whether its acknowledging that COVID is a difficult time for everyone or that you are struggling with SAD – acknowledging that it is real is the first step. Talk it out. Just because we are all experiencing similar things with COVID doesn’t mean it isn’t affecting people differently.
- Make a Joy List - Create a list of things that give you joy. Incorporate a few of these things into your daily life as much as you can. It could be listening to music, dancing, reading, playing video games or talking with friends on the phone.
- Stick to a Routine - Even though we are working/schooling from home, it’s tempting to just go with the flow. Keeping a consistent schedule is helpful. Eating consistently, and keeping a regular sleep schedule are beneficial for our mental health.
- Avoid the News or Social Media
It’s ok to acknowledge that constantly hearing COVID information can bog our brain down… and it becomes even harder when we try to decipher what’s real and not real. Give yourself permission to turn it off and turn to your trusted medical professionals for the real deal!
"I was 17, confused and thought I was a lost cause. I became homeless. I heard about Safe Haven's youth shelter, but was skeptical and scared. [But] the staff are extremely friendly and so supportive...I wasn't judged. They showed me how to cook, do a budget, and even helped me with my homework."