Taking mental health care actions to overcome the pandemic blues is the new “let’s go to the spa!”.
It’s ok not to be ok
You probably already know what I’m talking about if you wake up in the morning with no enthusiasm.
If you can’t help but cry as soon as you start thinking about how useless you feel.
Or if you start having anxiety as soon as you think about everything you should have accomplished if all of this didn’t happen.
I belong to these people. And if I talk about it openly, it’s because I’ve felt very lonely dealing with this.
Especially when seeing that people around me were having normal lives at the same time I was struggling.
Or you know these people who say on social media that “it all lies in your mindset”. And that if you’re weak it’s your fault?
I partially agree with this.
It is ok to feel down. Yes, even if you’re a strong person. Struggling with a situation that you don’t have control over doesn’t make you weak.
So if you can relate to everything I’ve said, please know that you are not alone. And please come back to this article if you convince yourself otherwise.
Taking care of your mental health
My number one priority for the past months has been to take care of my mental health.
Believe me when I say that having seasonal affective disorder doesn’t help.
Related post: How to beat winter blues
I try my best to put this situation into perspective, go beyond the negative aspects we see and hear daily.
But it isn’t always easy. No one said it was.
It requires you to step back (from like 3 km away), and in the middle of a freaking pandemic, it’s actually pretty tough to do.
What is certain though, is that better days are coming. In the meantime, let’s try our best to go through this as better as we can.
Today, I’m sharing 10 steps to follow every day to help you overcome the pandemic blues.
I’m not here to tell you “Do this, and you’ll wake up feeling fresh and motivated, just like one year ago”. I wish – but let’s be real, this won’t happen overnight.
Putting these into action, day after day, helped me bounce back little by little. And I hope they will help you too (-:
10 steps to overcome the pandemic blues
1. Practice gratitude
Being grateful is, in my opinion, the beginning of happiness. You will always find that you’re privileged, in a way or another.
The goal is to notice what it is that you have and take for granted without even realizing it. Because what we consider normal, others see it as a luxury.
Acknowledging how lucky you are to have a home, to be healthy, and to be able to entertain yourself while waiting for better days… well, it will make you think twice before complaining again.
It will help you see the great in the bad and focus on what truly matters.
Related post: How to start journaling
2. Connect with people
Avoiding social interactions can feel lonely sometimes. And I can tell you that as an introvert, I thought I was going to be ok not seeing people.
Well, now I realize how human interactions contribute to happiness.
For this reason, it’s so important to keep in touch with people, whether it’s by messages, Facetime, or by joining online communities (such as Facebook groups).
Unlike wartimes, we don’t need carrier pigeons to carry our letters (ding! gratitude). So let’s make the best out of technology!
Also, if you feel like you don’t have anyone to talk to, make sure to send me a DM on Instagram @vlourish. I’m always happy to talk with people, and remember, my mission here is to prevent people from feeling lonely!
3. When possible, get some fresh air
As much as I am a homebody, I know how much going outside benefits my mental health. Yes, even if it’s on a 3m2 balcony.
What matters here, is to breathe some fresh air and get some sunlight to get your dose of vitamin D.
I would lie if I told you it wasn’t easier to do when the weather was warmer (you know what I mean if you’re cold as soon as the temperature drops under 15°C).
So dress warmly and do it for yourself! You’ll feel way better after, trust me.
4. Plan your day
There’s nothing worse than waking up at random times and not knowing what your day will be like.
Even if you don’t work, make sure to have an organized schedule by planning daily activities. Yes, even if it means planning when you’ll wash your hair.
5. Set yourself goals for the day
The to-do list my friend! Once again, even if you don’t have important things to do, still write them on a list.
Without goals (as small as they are), you can easily feel useless or unaccomplished. And we all know how satisfying it is to cross something off of a list.
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself
I’m the best at putting myself down when thinking about what I was planning on being at the age of 25.
This is obviously not the solution and you perfectly know this if you constantly put pressure on your shoulders.
I repeat this over and over again but; talk to yourself as if you talked to your best friends. Be compassionate, kind, and empathic.
I know it can be hard. But it does have a real impact on the way you see yourself.
7. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Because there’s nothing worse than feeling sluggish when you’re not doing your best mentally.
I KNOW how tempting it is to snuggle in your furry blanket all day while eating chips and cookies.
But at the end of the day, feeling like a potato isn’t ideal, right? Taking care of your physical health will have an impact on your mental health. So, let’s go!
Dedicate some time to cook nutrient-dense meals (if you need inspiration, find healthy and easy recipes here) as well as 30 minutes for a HIIT or pilates session.
8. Limit social media consumption
You probably already know my thoughts on social media and their impact on mental health.
Nowadays, I feel like we spend too much time scrolling, comparing ourselves, questioning our lives…
Related post: The impacts of social media on mental health
It’s well known that social media were supposed to help us to get connected. But all it’s doing is making us feel more lonely when faced with perfect-looking lives.
It’s now more important than ever to keep in mind that what we see isn’t real. We are so far from imagining what’s lying behind the content we consume every day.
Make sure to fuel yourself with real connections, real stories, with authentic people. Put your phone down and do something that makes you feel good about yourself.
9. Do something that makes you feel good
Even if you spend your days at home, it doesn’t mean you should be 5x more productive. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time for yourself either.
Take some time, every single day, to make something that benefits and refreshes your mind. Whether it is reading a book, taking a bath, making music, or journaling.
Small things count. And after all, the canceled events need to be compensated in some way!
10. Start this new project you’ve been thinking of
You know this project you constantly dream of but always put off because “you don’t have enough time”? Yes, it’s your time now.
I like to think that everything happens for a reason. What if this pandemic was your chance to give your life a turning point or simply to start new things?
New projects and beginnings always give you some kind of hope. I think this is something we all need now.