• Elizabeth Listerman

Mental Health Care

This year has been painful for all of us. School has been frustrating, work has been difficult, home life has been lonely, and our social life has dwindled. 2020 has been a defeating year-- a whirlwind with issues hitting us from every direction. Covid has not been the only problem: wildfires, hurricanes, the upcoming election, social justice matters, and much more have affected our mentality this year.

Mental health has been a major implication of this year’s antics. It’s important that we realize when we feel like we are falling apart and get the help we need. We have to take the time to sit back and readjust in order for us to get through the rest of this year on a positive note. Making time to destress and relax is an essential task that needs to be a priority in our lives. Especially during this turbulent, depressing time.

There is no time like the present. Check-in with yourself and see if you need to address the anxiety, stress, and negativity that might be occupying your thoughts. Here are a couple of ways to reduce those feelings and take that mental break away from reality.

Start A New Day

First, wake up feeling refreshed. Take a shower and enjoy the shower. Don’t feel rushed and actually enjoy the hot water and time away from people. Play some music while in the shower that soothes you-- or keep it quiet. Whichever you prefer. But don’t play fast-paced music that calls for action. Take a calming shower that lets your mind enjoy the moment. Keep your thoughts away from your to-do list.

Next, try to have breakfast without a cup of coffee. Coffee = caffeine and that is meant for a day when work must be done and energy is needed. Today is a stress-free, mental health check-in day, so don’t worry about that cup of coffee. Try caffeine-free tea, chamomile with honey would be the best option for a relaxing day at home.

Eat Healthy and Enjoy a Homemade Meal

Eat food and take the time to enjoy it. Make yourself a breakfast you love: a bagel, omelet, a waffle with bacon, hash browns, anything you like. Take your time and don’t worry about rushing through the process of making or eating it. Sit down by yourself on the couch, at your kitchen table, or outside on the porch and take it all in. Stay away from your phone and eat in peace. Do this for all your meals that day. Make sure you eat all your meals that day. Don’t skip. There’s no need to go hungry that day. It’s a day to take care of yourself.

If you do decide to get takeout or delivery. Make sure the meal is worth it. If you want to upgrade to sweet potato fries instead of normal fries, then do it. If you would rather have HopCat over West Side Social but West Side Social has a shorter delivery time. Then divvy up a small snack and get HopCat. It’s alright to treat yourself once in a while.

Self-Care Matters

Take some time and focus on yourself. Pluck those pesky strays in your eyebrows, lather some new scented lotion onto your legs, give yourself a manicure, shave for a cleaner look, do a face mask, put self-tanner on, or do a facial steam. It’s okay to go all out. Make yourself feel better by treating your body better. It always feels great to catch up on those pesky tasks that you normally skip over after a morning routine shower.

Self-care isn’t just meant for women. It is meant for everyone. Do what makes you happy and let yourself feel rejuvenated. If masks and manicures aren’t your cups of tea then try being active. Go for a run, practice meditation, do some yoga, take your dog for a walk, or work out with some weights. Do anything to try to make yourself feel normal and healthy.

Pick Up those Lost Hobbies

Reading is huge. If you used to be an avid reader before your hectic and crazy work, parenting, or college life then start again. You can do this by picking up a book and finding a cozy spot to settle into for a couple of hours or you can try audiobooks. Listen while you cook, clean, or just chill out on the couch. Either way. Bring your mind elsewhere by diving into a good book.

If reading isn’t a hobby you normally would partake in, then try something else. Paint, draw, start a new Netflix series, shoot hoops outside, take a bike ride, embroider, play the piano, or write some poetry. Take up a hobby you enjoy and do it for a couple of hours that day. Nothing you must commit to, just something to ease your mind and reduce your stress. A creative outlet for your mind to wander to.

Take a Nap

Napping is healthy and normal. Do not feel that you’re wasting time or being lazy. That’s not the case at all. For today take a long, much-needed nap and don’t set that alarm unless absolutely necessary. Alarms are stressful and annoying so try your best to just let yourself go to sleep with no worries. If you end up getting up hours later then you know you needed it.

Close your shades, dress in your comfy lounge clothes, pile on the blankets, close the door, and enjoy a midday nap. Just know it’s okay to take that time for yourself, and don’t worry about missing out on anything.

Reflect and Talk About It

When your day is coming to an end and you feel that a weight has been lifted off your shoulders—reflect on what is important to you. Write down the names of the most important people in your life, write down your passions, and write down goals for the rest of the year that matter to you and your mental health. Now understand how happy and meaningful these aspects are to you and compare them to the fleeting, worthless stress that might be hounding you day to day. Ask yourself, “is it worth it?” Understand nothing is more important than family, friends, your significant other, your passions, and your goals.

If you still feel stuck—talk to someone. Choose one of those people in your life that is especially important to you and talk to them about your mental health stressors and ask them about theirs. Everyone struggles. You are not alone.

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