In these bizarre, chaotic, traumatic times, it’s normal to feel mentally exhausted—and it’s easy to fall into the habit of mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds, or compulsively watching the news for hurricane and pandemic updates. While these habits may keep you updated on a world that feels like it’s constantly on the verge of shifting out from under our collective feet, they aren’t the best self-care practices. Here are a few ways to unwind when life feels overwhelming.
Unplug and unwind
All screen time and no book, meditation or music time makes Jack a dull boy…and an anxious one. Limit your media consumption to trusted news sources that don’t sensationalize the headlines, and spend time focusing on the positive things in your life, as well as those issues that are within your control.
Take care of yourself physically
Whether you’ve been stuck in Zoom meetings all day or you’ve binged Lovecraft Country, sitting down and consuming media all day is disastrous for physical and mental health. Get out of your head and into your body by doing something active, whether that’s going for a walk around the block or weeding your vegetable beds. Exercise every day, and be sure to get seven to eight hours of sleep and eat a healthy diet, while you’re at it. Crisis intervention counselors use the acronym HALT, which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If you exercise, get adequate sleep, and eat right, you can go a long way in preventing a meltdown. Of course, there’s also the social requirement, which applies to the Lonely descriptor. Which brings us to the next point…
Reach out to a friend
Lots of people may feel lonely and isolated during a time when social distancing and limited one-on-one interactions are necessary for mitigating the virus’s spread. If you find yourself in a dark place, pick up your phone and send a text to a friend. Chances are, they’ll be glad to hear from you. Social support is a valuable thing to give and receive, and if you’ve been feeling unmotivated to practice self-care activities like meditation or exercise, you might find a buddy or accountability partner in a friend. Plus, everybody likes to feel cared for, and a message that says, “Checking in. How have you been?” is an easy, thoughtful way to care for yourself and others.
More and more studies are revealing the stabilizing effects of CBD on mood. The non-psychoactive compound of the cannabis plant has beneficial effects when it comes to promoting a peaceful mind. There are many different ways to take CBD, whether you want to eat it in a tasty gummy or roll some on after a long, hot bath—after all, isn’t that the quintessential self-care activity? Find a reputable manufacturer and choose a CBDmethod and strength that works for you.
Do a good deed
Helping others is one of the best ways to get out of your head. Not only does it help snap you out of your own day-to-day drama, it also offers a mood-boosting benefit: More than 21 studies have shown altruistic acts have a noticeable effect on happiness. Another plus? Helping other people can be as simple as clicking a GoFundMe link, or handing a dollar to a person in need. It also doesn’t have to cost anything. There are ample opportunities to help struggling communities during a pandemic, which range from organizing food drives to donating blood.
These times aren’t easy for anyone, but the good news is that certain rituals can help you promote a peaceful mind, in yourself and in the people you encounter.