For many of us, daily routine and planning help keep anxiety, depression and other mental health issues at bay. We use structure to ease stress, and organization to understand the future. But during these times of uncertainty, many of us are unable to use these tools we have used in the past, to help keep our mental health at ease.
So what do you, to adjust?
Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve used to help me feel that structure I need…
1. Break down goals into smaller windows
Since we are unsure about what is to happen in even the next month. You need to break down your goals into small windows, to allow yourself to feel accomplished sooner. This will help you keep determined and will be easier to make more realistic goals, that you are able to adjust if needed.
2. Try new things
Now is the time to pick up that guitar you’ve never played, that you bought yourself 5 years ago. Now is the time to pull out that sewing machine and hem those 10 pair of pants you’ve been telling yourself you’d hem one day. Trying something new, is a great way to push yourself. Since you are unable to achieve some of the goals you had planned this year, why not take this time to focus on a new hobby, or master one that you half ass started before. Challenging yourself will help keep your drive strong and might even show you just how powerful you are.
3. Join an online Social Group
You may not think this sounds fun, but believe me it is rewarding, powerful and a great way to keep that community feel. I recommend these groups because at the moment, meeting new people is a little tricky. When you meet someone out of your social circle your perspective changes on your situation and you gain great gratitude for what you have. Additionally, the online meet ups are way less intimidating than going to a physical event. Its a great introductory into opening your mind, heart and ears to others.
I recently met a 78 year old woman, whos husband of 56 years passed away 2 weeks before the shut down. She had a very tough time being in stuck in the house, that she has shared with him for so long. But she reached out online, joined a community and was asked if she wanted to start biking. She is now downhill mountain biking and has found joy in redoing and cleaning up the house.
You could see her sadness, but you could see just how powerfully strong this woman was. She decided to take this time, to focus on her and find things to make her happy, in a time where too many people are focusing on the sadness. This moment made me step back from my perspective on what I feel I am suffering from, and really be grateful for what I have during these times. At first I was sad for her, I definitely teared up listening to her story. But once the meeting was done, I felt empowered, grateful, and proud to be so independent.
From that moment onward, my look towards this lockdown completely changed and my focus shifted. Meeting new people out of your circle, can really help change your perspective and snap you out of your narrow view of your situation.
I highly recommend Meetup for your local and online social groups.
4. Go outside!
There are hundreds of study’s that show that even just walking outside can help with memory, blood pressure, depression, lower cortisol levels, alleviate stress and even boost your immune system. So if you’re feeling lethargic, down or stressed, force yourself to take the time to go walk,sit or run amongst the trees. I can’t say I’ve ever heard someone come back from a walk in the woods saying they wished they never did.
If you’re living solo and not much of a solo adventurer, maybe now is the time to learn to enjoy doing things on your own. Step out of your comfort zone and do that hike you’ve always wanted to do.You don’t need a crutch, you can accomplish anything on your own. My fondest hikes and nature walk memories have all been on my own. If I want to stop and just sit and listen for a while, I can. You’d be amazed what you can see and find when you’re so quiet.
If you want to know more about some health benefits and studies, check out this article here.
5. Still plan your holidays and trips.
It may be hard to organize a few parts of it, but making the plans and organizing, gives you excitement for the future. You may have to cancel it, closer to the date, but you’ll be happy you planned it, rather than last minute racing, while everyone else is booking theirs as well. Maybe take this time to travel closer to home. I have been bad at planning trips around the world and not seeing the beautiful area around me. Get your camping stuff ready, grab your fishing rod, or rent an RV and go on a little road trip. These are things that aren’t closed, and you likely will not have to adjust. Plus, why not help local businesses in need.
6. Take this time to focus on you!
When the world is so hustle and bustle, we tend to forget to focus on ourselves. Take this time to just breathe, relax, and maybe listen to those self help podcasts that you secretly have been wanting to listen to. We all have our stories, we all have that something we wish we could work on, so why not take this time to finally listen to your heart and your mind and truly take care of yourself. Instead of turning on that TV, grab a pen and just write how you’re feeling at the moment.
You’ll be amazed by how open you can be with yourself. If you’ve already been writing, maybe go back to a year or so and re-read some of your inserts. This is by far my favourite part about writing. Going back to a few months ago or even a few years and reading over my journal or even blogs. Seeing just how far I have come, can trigger so many positive emotions about being proud of where I am now and how much I have really accomplished. Even reading about things I was striving to do, and maybe did not succeed, can encourage me to look back at that goal and maybe shift my plans.
So grab a pen or even your computer and just open up fully about how you feel.
I hope these tips and tricks help you. If anyone ever has any questions, comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear your opinion. If you even just need an ear, please know that I’m always here to chat!