It goes without saying that times are tough right now. Stress from work, sickness, and overall uncertainty is taking a toll on Americans, with more than 4 in 10 struggling with mental health issues from the coronavirus, according to a new survey from the CDC.
Now more than ever, it’s incredibly important to check in on your wellbeing and be proactive in managing your health and happiness. If you or someone you know is under stress right now, check out the below tips to help cope and keep a clear mind during the pandemic– and beyond!
If you’re familiar with Marie Kondo’s philosophy, you’ve heard that tidying up can give you a happier, clearer mind. In fact, two psychologists at Princeton University agree that clutter can reduce our ability to focus on a task. Who can concentrate on their work with a messy desk? And if you’re like me, you’ll procrastinate doing your work by cleaning so you still feel productive.
So now you’re thinking, “Great, now I have two jobs to do– clean, then work.” While a deep house cleaning can help let out energy and make you feel accomplished, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done. My advice is to take it one step at a time. Do laundry today, re-organize a messy drawer tomorrow. You can even try completing small chores while doing everyday tasks: wipe the counters after making lunch, clean the mirror when you go to the bathroom, etc. And if you don’t have the time or energy to deep clean your home, try a maid service like North Texas Maids to get the job done while you focus on your other responsibilities.
Stick to a routine
Chances are, your pre-pandemic routine got interrupted, or even permanently changed. Our brains tend to find comfort in routine and familiarity, so even small changes to your schedule can be stressful. Try to make a new daily routine for yourself and actually stick to it. Writing down tasks (and especially crossing them off) can feel therapeutic. Leaving sticky notes around the house to remind or encourage your future self can also help you commit to your new routine.
Additionally, add in small feel-good things to your new routine. If you’re still working from home, take the time to make your bed each day. It takes about a minute and can be your first accomplishment of the day. If you have a busy day ahead of you (or even if you don’t), be sure to eat breakfast each morning. Giving yourself time to wake up and fuel up before your daily grind can help you focus and feel less stressed.
Engage your body
We all know exercise is a stress reducer, but working out can be difficult right now, especially with some gyms closed or at limited capacity. Fortunately, there are some resources with free online exercise classes, which can be easier than working out alone. If you can’t exercise, try stretching and taking deep breaths throughout the day to get your blood pumping and your mind relaxed.
Another way to engage your body is through your senses. Light a candle, dim the lighting, and put on music that relaxes you or makes you want to dance. And don’t forget your brain needs some exercise too! Try a new hobby, or return to an old one. Pick up that book you never finished, or do a puzzle.
At the end of the day, give yourself a break. Didn’t get that chore done today? There’s always tomorrow! Didn’t do that virtual yoga class? That’s perfectly fine. Celebrate the small wins, and know you’re not going through this stressful time alone. Your mind will thank you!