As restaurants begin to open, social distancing and mask regulations start to lift, it's important to reflect on the ways in which we can take care of our mental health during this transitional period. Life has been far from ordinary, and it’s important to acknowledge that going back to a “new normal” will be a significant change from what we’ve grown accustomed to. In order to ensure a healing transition, we must look after ourselves and our mental health. This article provides ways in which you can work to manage stress in our new post-covid lives.
Journaling is one of the most powerful tools you can use to reduce stress and induce mindfulness. Jotting down your thoughts allows for reflection, self-talk, and the prioritization of your goals, all of which are critical to maintaining good mental health. By writing through your emotions, your brain is better able to clarify the importance of your worries and solve them as they come. Physically articulating the ways in which you’re feeling as we transition back to our old lives will not only help in the present, but provide for an interesting read in years to come.
Taking a Walk
Exercise has long been known to be one of the fastest-acting stress relievers. Taking a walk around your neighborhood is enough to allow your brain to refocus, your lungs to get a breath of fresh air, and your body to get moving. Walking around the block is also a great way to acclimate yourself to your surroundings, much of which are most likely changing now that covid restrictions are being lifted. Seeing greater amounts of gathered, chaotic crowds may be overwhelming. By situating yourself away from these groups and calmly, routinely observing, you will become acclimated to these social settings as you were pre-quarantine. The key to this transition is taking your time. There's no rush for you to partake in anything you don't feel comfortable with just yet.
Connecting With Others
Something that we’ve been forced to put on hold for the duration of this pandemic was meeting in-person with others. Zoom and facetime will never completely encapsulate how it feels to spend time with another. Now that guidelines are being re-written and restrictions disbanded, it’s important to try to make an effort to reach out and connect with others. Making time to continue to build and restore relationships will make you and your friend feel heard, cared for, and accepted. Having others to rely on will provide you with an outlet for stress, in that all you need is a good listener. By being able to verbalize your feelings to someone, you’ll be better able to target the causes of your distress and create positive solutions. Spending time with friends also provides a nice distraction to some negative emotions you may have had.
If you are to take one thing away from this article, it is this: be kind to yourself. You’ve survived a global pandemic! When talking to and thinking about yourself, give yourself the break that you would like people to give you. Before long, COVID-19 will be in your rearview mirror, and that’s an unforgettable view.
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