Right now, the world right feels like a simulation, and many people are feeling the effects of being with loved ones for an extended amount of time. Whether you are a freshman in college or a senior graduating, coming back to live with your parents or siblings is really difficult. They probably don’t know a whole lot about your life at school, and you are used to a very different lifestyle than they are.
It can be really challenging to stay positive and keep sane under such stressful and bizarre circumstances. What can go under our radar is our mental health, and with times like this, being mentally healthy is just as important as staying physically fit.
Although keeping up with your mental health is crucial in times like this, it is also entirely okay for you to feel stronger emotions. Mental Health America, an organization for helping with mental health awareness, shared on its Instagram account that it is reasonable to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry in a crisis.
While we do live in a digital world, what is happening is very much real. For this reason, it is essential to acknowledge your emotions and remind yourself that this is a complicated situation. So, make sure you can check in with your feelings and make sure that you are putting your mental health right with your physical health.
You might be wondering how you could keep up with your mental health during these tough times. Mental illness should be treated like a physical one, and it is recommended to seek professional help if you feel like you might be struggling with an illness. However, there are some things that you can incorporate into your daily routine to check up on yourself.
Ask Yourself the Essential Questions
This might sound weird, but assessing somewhat of an “essential need” checklist can be super helpful when dealing with times of slow-moving. We probably forget about how important routines and habits are in our ordinary lives, but when our distractions are removed, we might find ourselves skipping essential steps in those routines.
To help with this, try asking yourself questions about what you have done today like, “Have I showered in the past 24 hours?” or “How long have I been on my phone today, and is there something I need or want to do?” These questions can help you maintain a good routine and make sure that you are remembering to do things that can help you stay grounded.
If you find yourself really overwhelmed with a situation or even just find yourself spending a lot of time on electronics, try creating. Creating anything is perfect for creating a distraction from stressful situations, and it is a healthy outlet for you to experience a positive emotion, according to the Brain and Behavior Foundation
Some examples of creation could be playing an instrument, writing, drawing or painting — or really anything that brings you joy that requires you to create.
This “quarantine” is proving to be a great challenge to staying active and eating healthy. While staying active and eating right is good for you, remember that what the world is going through right now is unique to our time. So, if you find yourself eating more and eating less nutritious foods than you usually do, or being more stationary than usual, just know that is perfectly OK. However, if you find that your new habits are becoming mentally damaging, try to change a few things to move a little more.
Try going for a walk by yourself, with your dog, or whoever you may be quarantined with. Walking is good to get some fresh air and just clear your mind of all that you might be thinking about. If it is too cold or not your cup of tea, try to do some yoga in your room (VALLEY recommends checking out Yoga by Adrienne for easy-to-follow videos), or try just getting up and walking around in your house.
Not a popular thing to do, but definitely useful if you are struggling with your mental wellness at home. Reading is a good escape from reality, and it can allow you to place yourself away from the situation you are in. The best part about reading is that your options are endless and you can even use your phone to purchase books to read online!
Zoom or FaceTime School Friends
Another thing that has been really hard on college kids is the fact that we were stripped of our typical environment, clubs we are involved in, and our friends that we have made away from home. This can be a significant contributor to mental health decline because our friends are often far away. To lessen this distance, FaceTime or even use the beloved Zoom to reach out to your loved ones. Catch up or just vent to them about any problems you are experiencing at home — it can be refreshing for you to see a new face that brings you joy.
We are all in this together, so keep in mind that things will get better, and the world will get back to normal. If you are really struggling with your mental wellbeing at this time, VALLEY encourages you to use online resources to talk to a professional about your situation. Some good online resources are the crisistextline.org, RemedyLIVE and the Suicide Prevention Hotline.