2020 has certainly been a year for the books. On top of a national pandemic, many people are facing personal challenges with work, relationships, mental health and so much more. Burnout is real and it affects your creativity, motivation, and mindset. For National Mental Illness Awareness Week we wanted to take a minute to give our community a few ideas on how to slow down from the daily hustle and take some time for yourself to nourish the mind and body.
Focusing on the present — without judging how we feel and what we think — can be both a liberating and healthy practice. This is known as mindfulness, and it has become an ever-more-mainstream practice. Studies show that getting in tune with ourselves through mindfulness improves well-being and brings down stress. It’s also something that you can easily add to your daily routine.
Looking to go a step further? Try 30 minutes of meditation. There are many types of meditation and relaxation techniques that have meditation components. Finding an app that takes you through a guided meditation is a great way to clear the mind. Meditation is proof that it doesn’t take a ton of time to do a mind and body good; just a few minutes of quieting your mind can help relieve stress.
Take 30 minutes to go for a walk in nature – it could be a stroll through a park or a hike in the woods. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression, and boost well-being. If walk or exercise doesn’t fit in your day, then do your best to enjoy at least 15 minutes of sunshine. Sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D, which experts believe is a mood elevator.
Unplug from Technology
Having a healthy relationship with technology is an important part of today’s world, but how do you know when it’s time to unplug? Technology has provided huge strides in information sharing and helping humanity to solve big problems. Unfortunately, it can also cause stress, loneliness, physical ailments, and sleep deprivation. Make a point to leave your smartphone at home for a day and disconnect from constant emails, alerts, and other interruptions. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face instead or getting time out in nature.
Plan a Trip
Did you know that the act of planning a vacation and having something to look forward to can boost your overall happiness for up to 8 weeks? With Shelter in Place taking a large toll on regular travel plans, many have found it hard to escape the tribulations of daily life. While a grand tour of the tropics may not be in store, there are other “staycation” options to feel like you’re getting away. Be a tourist in your own town. Often, people only explore attractions on trips, but you may be surprised what cool things are in your own backyard!
Remember, self-care is your opportunity to serve yourself; so find something that is for you and you only. Treat yourself to something shiny, special, and new (it doesn’t have to be expensive!); get a massage; take a cat nap; re-read your favorite book; indulge in a warm bath; play with a cute furry friend or anything else that is something you truly enjoy.
Taking time for self-love, self-reflection, and self-discovery has proven to boost your mood and have a lasting impact on mental health. What self-care practice will you try this week?