It has been about three months since the pandemic started and for most people, their lives have been turned upside down. In most cities, masks have become compulsory in stores and public areas. Businesses are still attempting to adapt to the situation, leaving workers laid off. Many people are relying on government funding for their bills and daily expenditures. Regular outings like going to the mall, heading out to the movies or spending time with friends are not an option or changed due to social distancing rules. This disruption in people’s routines has created a marked uptick in stress, and anxiety.
We don’t know how long this pandemic will last, but we are here to give you three simple tips that will help you become happier and healthier in your life, whether we're on lockdown or not.1. Maintain a healthy routine and make time for fun activities.
Even when we are all stuck at home, it is better to stick to our sleep, eat, work, or school schedule. This can distract you from the current situation and help you prepare for the normal lifestyle when it ends.
With gyms closed, it is a good idea to do some exercises at home. Whether it’s a bodyweight workout or a yoga session, it’s proven that physical activities can improve both our physical and mental health. Even as little as a 15-minute exercise everyday can tremendously enhance our physical state and boost your mood.
Perhaps your normal lifestyle was too busy for you to spend time on your hobbies. Take the time you would have spent commuting, working, or doing laundry for fun. Watch that movie that your friends have been posting about on Instagram. Play some board games with your family or even try out a simple Gordan Ramsay recipe that you didn’t have time to test. Use this time to explore interests that you may have not been able to otherwise.
2. Use social media to improve your mental health.
Social media reminds us we are not alone in this messy situation. Since we are unable to meet our friends outside, we can still connect online. Video chatting apps have also advanced during this time, giving us the ability to do group chats and play games. These apps can substitute in-person visits, which helps fulfill our need for face-to-face contact. Since face-to-face contact is considered a “vitamin” to our mental health, reducing the risk of depression and helping ease stress and anxiety, we would want to get as much of it as we can.
In addition, taking the time to curate your feed will help your experience. Unfollowing or muting accounts that may encourage negative thinking or debates and, instead, following accounts that are light, funny, inspiring or playful, will help improve your mood and keep you feeling positive.
Social media can be a double-edged sword for your mental health
3. Start journaling!
You may be wondering: “How can journaling help me with my anxiety?”.
Firstly, journaling helps you focus on the good things around you. We all know it is easy to be caught up in negativity and stress during this pandemic. This is explained as the “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon" or "frequency bias". You've told your brain that this thing is important to you, so it adjusts it's filters and highlights when it occurs. The same happens when you focus on bright and positive things around you. Pay attention and feel gratitude for the meal you just had in the morning, the bed you woke up in, and the different opportunities you have now that our regular way of living has been changed.
In doing so, you will notice that your life is actually better than you thought, and you’ll find yourself enjoying more of the little things that you may not have ever noticed before. There are so many things that are taken care of for us that we don't have to focus on, and we have the opportunity to feel joy and appreciation for.
Simply speaking, let’s look at the journey that is called life. We have been through so many ups and downs. If you are reading this article, let’s all take a minute to feel gratitude for ourselves, our family, and for everything that has happened to us. It’s OK to ‘fail’ and learn, and it is even more important that we recognize and celebrate your effort and your value.
When you take the time to look at things in your infrastructure, people, places and things that were created and put in place to make your life easier, you feel more relaxed, cared for, and supported. Difficult things will always happen, and it’s up to us to decide how it’s going to affect us. In training your brain to focus on the positive, you become more solution-oriented, and you move through negative emotions easier. This leads to your autonomic nervous system moving through it quicker, therefore lowering the frequency and long term impact of stress-related effects and behaviors.
There are many additional benefits to journaling and Gratitude Journaling in particular. Setting intentions, getting insight from your dreams, manifestation, visioning and so much more. If you're looking for easy ways to start and stay consistent with your gratitude practice, look no further. Get an accountability buddy, make it a fun 5, 10, or 30-day challenge with a juicy prize at the end, make it a recurring appointment in your phone calendar, and get a Guided Journal to help make your new practice easy. Get 10% off any PleaseNotes product with the code “Magic” for a limited time.
So what else are you waiting for? Pick your favourite journal and start writing to see how it can help you. We truly believe that a change in perspective can lead to a more fulfilling life with more opportunities.