There’s a lot out in the world causing fear and anxiety for people. From money woes to impending conflicts, it’s hard sometimes to achieve mindfulness and focus on yourself. But taking the time for your mental health can be a great benefit. Try some of these steps to help you practice self-care.
Breathing exercises are a good way to help calm you down. Doing some simple exercises can make you feel better right away. You’re probably familiar with some common techniques such as counting to ten. It’s also a good idea to find a calming environment to help you truly focus on your breathing.
Meditation is a simple, effective, and inexpensive way to give you a sense of peace, calm, and balance that can benefit both your emotional health and reduce stress. You can meditate anywhere. A popular form of meditation involves focusing your attention on a specific object, image, or just your breathing. The idea is to eliminate the stream of thoughts that have been overwhelming you. Find a quiet place to sit and meditate for 10-15 minutes. Commit to meditating a few times a week to make it routine. Try pairing meditation with everyday habits such as taking a shower or brushing your teeth to help you get used to doing it.
Being active increases your overall health, both physically and mentally. Exercise boosts your endorphins, which are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Moving your body will help distract you from daily worries, improve your mood, and relax you. Consider taking a walk, running, stretching, or climbing stairs in your apartment building or house. If you have exercise equipment, dust it off and make time to use it. Or consider getting social and exercise with a friend of in a group class. To stick with an exercise routine, think of exercising as a regular task on your to-do list. Any kind of movement can help increase your fitness and decrease your stress.
Expressing your feelings or thoughts through creativity can provide a good outlet for stress, and reduce anxiety and depression. Try drawing, painting, coloring, playing music, or making photo albums of trips you’ve been on, or even try learning how to cook new recipes.
While social media can help connect you to friends and family, and news can be informative, it can be overwhelming. Try turning off social media and the news for a little while to give yourself a mental break. Switch off social media notifications on your phone and your laptop. You may also consider deleting the apps from your phone entirely. When you’ve unplugged, spend the time you’d normally use to post or tweet to relax and re-center. Try reading, exercising, or starting a new activity.
Spend some time getting lost in some music. Throw on your favorite albums or songs, or look for some new music to enjoy. Explore some music websites to find something new to stream. Try listening to soothing music to help relieve stress and anxiety.
Video games, puzzles, board games, or cards are all great ways to spend your free time. They will help keep your mind off bad news and help to keep your brain sharp. Plus, games are fun! There are many solo-games you can do and puzzles like crosswords and Sudoku help keep your mind occupied. You can also get creative! If you and a few friends have a board game or video game you like, trying playing it in person or via video chat.
Spending time with friends or loved ones is a great way to distress and take your mind of things. Use video chat apps to schedule conversations, meetings, virtual happy hours, online movie nights, and parties. Or go old school and give someone you want to connect with a quick call on the phone. You could plan to meet with an activity in mind, or just spend time with someone on whim. Other things like letters in the mail or just a simple check-in email are great as well. Seeing and talking to people can go a long way toward alleviating stress, boredom, and loneliness.