We are social animals, so the stress, anxiety, and isolation that accompanies this COVID new normal are trying for us all, especially during the holidays, and especially if working from home.
Here are a few tips to stay mentally healthy whether you are working at home, spending more time than you would prefer at home; seeing less of your friends and family than usual; or just feeling isolated or alone.
MAKE YOUR HOME ENVIRONMENT PLEASANT
- Make sure your lighting is good. You may need to purchase more floor or table lamps or hang a center lamp from the ceiling. Thrift stores can be great, inexpensive sources for this.
- Clear or reduce clutter wherever you can. A tidy, clean space reduces stress, anxiety, and procrastination.
- Make your home as beautiful as you can: Fill it with things you love, and things that remind you of what you love most. Coordinate your color scheme. This is very uplifting. Let your home reflect the best of you.
- Adopt some plant-pets, to purify your air and create a calming atmosphere. Essential oils in a diffuser also create calm energy in your space.
- Check out Spotify playlists or sound apps and queue up some music to create the atmosphere and energy you want/need. If you are working, play tunes without words to help you pace yourself as your work without being distracting. Classical music really does it for me! If you are just alone, how about holiday music, dance music or sing along with karaoke?
- Clean and reorganize your space at the end of each day, so you start off fresh the next day. Your sense of control, organization, and ability to cope with whatever life throws at you, will increase.
MENTAL HEALTH TIPS
- Make/Keep A Routine: Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you can’t have a routine. Routines promote time management and have been proven to lower anxiety. Use the remainder of the day to create balance in the other areas of your life.
- Start At-Home Exercises: Being physically active is a great mood booster and decreases depression and anxiety. YouTube has hundreds of free, at-home exercise or yoga videos; Dance in your living room; or go for a walk or bike ride.
- Take stock of your nutrition. Sugar is one of the worst exacerbators of Mental malaise. Most cooking oils are too. They contain hardly any Omega-3 oils, excessive Omega-6, and are excitogens to the brain. Replace them with raw coconut oil, olive, avocado oil, or sesame oil. Throw out as many processed foods as you can. Add as many fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit as you can. Eat healthier and you will feel healthier in body and mind.
- Draw up a Meal Menu for each day of the week. This will not only ensure you eat healthier, but you will be able to shop easily and more economically using this schedule, won’t have to think what you are going to eat, and will feel more organized, accomplished, and capable of handling anything that comes at you.
- Listen to YouTube videos on your phone, on any subject you are interested in, while you do your housework. Today, you can get a first-class education on YouTube, with lectures by top professors, authors, entrepreneurs, and experts.
- Creative Activities: Paint, draw, color, do embroidery, knit, fix your clothes or anything in your house that needs fixing. Listen to music or videos while you do so.
- More Creative Hobbies: Do something creative around your home. You could start a herb garden in a tray; make kombucha from the mother; or grow yogurt from the mother – most products sold as yogurt in the stores are not even yogurt, and any beneficial bacteria are killed during the pasteurization process; make ginger beer; or home-made lemonade. Bake cookies and share them with your neighbors and friends.
- Develop your Social Network: Utilize video chat rather than texting or phone calls. Seeing and interacting with other people outside your home will help you maintain healthy relationships in and outside of your home. Join a church, interest group, political interest group, sports or exercise group, volunteer at a community event or non-profit. Some of these activities may be curtailed, so join online communities meanwhile. It is important to stay connected!
- Spend time unplugged and doing an activity you love: Turning off the TV and other electronic devices is a healthy way to take a mental breather. Draw, read, or pick up a new hobby or skill. This will create a diversion that could bring the joy and fulfillment you need away from school and work.
- Meditate: YouTube also has all kinds of meditations and guided meditations you can use to really give your mental health a boost. You could also do this while taking a luxurious bubble bath. Add a few candles around the bath and the mood will be set. It’s good to pamper yourself sometimes — take care of you.
- Watch some Comedy or Join a Joke Page: Laughing is healthy and uplifting. Also knowing some jokes or funny events will make you a more engaging conversationalist.
- Have a Pet: Not everyone can keep a pet where they live, and not everyone is a responsible, loving, and caring pet owner, but there is nothing like a pet to improve your mental health. Dogs also force you to walk when you take them out. If you are not prepared to do this, don’t get a dog! Also, never leave your dog in a crate; this is cruel and inhumane treatment. Even cats need to go out, and not be cooped up in the house all day. Once we have that out of the way, animals will love you unconditionally, and always be your friends, and are thus wonderful emotional support.
- An Attitude of Gratitude: Spend time feeling gratitude for what you have; counting your proverbial blessings engenders a feeling of well–being and raises your emotional vibration. Abandon feelings of shame, guilt, worry, victimization, jealousy, or resentment. If you have done something shameful, make amends and resolve never to do that again. Most of these emotions are totally worthless and really hurt you. Make restitution, and/or move on. These other emotions will chain you to a negative life.
We do hope that these tips for emotional well-being help and set the tone for a much happier New Year in 2022.
Thank you for being a friend of the Grapevine Center, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that your 2022 will be your best yet.