Taking Charge of Our Lives for Our Physical and Mental Health

It’s clear, by now, that not all of us are faced with the same realities during this “quarantine” and isolation mandate. While some we know claim to be using this time to learn new languages, pick up a new culinary skill, or post endless self-made, how-to videos (who knew so many experts live amongst us!) — some of us are struggling just get by. (Homeschooling, 30th meal of the day, anyone?)

Not even taking into account the financial and health stresses that concern us, some must also juggle our mental health realities. The necessary self-care we’ve implemented to this point to preserve our mental health becomes that much harder to continue during times like these. To say that it’s “business as usual” has taken on a new meaning. Millions of people all around the world are struggling to understand, process and accept the new changes around us. But what that means can look different for your “average” person versus someone who has made tremendous strides and efforts to regain mental well-being.

While some people enjoy getting lost in the kitchen or engrossing themselves in learning something new on YouTube, others need to amp up the methods we have employed over the years to get and stay well. That could mean meditation, mindfulness, healthy eating, talking it through, or a few minutes alone in a quiet room to sort through our thoughts and recharge. Now, more than ever, we have to make efforts to do so. Some of us, understandably, can’t seem to find that alone time, and doing so may seem like an impossible feat. But, if we weigh the costs of not doing so, this “new normal” can pull at our delicate thread and unravel what we’ve worked so hard to accomplish.

How to Make It Happen

Adapting to realities such as these is neither easy nor quick. It will take time and there will be setbacks that feel difficult to the point of depressing. But getting through it requires a series of small steps that can ultimately lead us to the right path. A sustainable way forward. Individually, the following small steps may seem trivial. But taken together they can help us through:

  • Steal 10 minutes alone to meditate
  • Step out the front door for fresh air and a change of scenery
  • Make a difficult decision to say “not right now” to social media – or dare we say — family members who don’t face the same struggle
  • Stop watching the constant drumbeat of bad news on TV or online
  • Start getting enough sleep, eating well and staying hydrated
  • Reach out for help. Just because we can’t physically be around others, doesn’t mean we can’t talk to them when we begin to decompensate. We all know the triggers and the signs, and there’s no shame in working through them with others.

This is the time for us, more than ever, to take charge. There is no need for us to veer off course if we understand and respect the fact that this lifestyle of self-isolation is merely an extension of what we’ve been doing all along to get – and stay – well:  taking pause, focusing on self-care and wellness, and staying the best version of ourselves.

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