How do you prioritize your mental health? Taking care of your mental health has always been important but during these times where there is so much change and much left to the unknown, its become even more important to check in on those around us and most importantly oursevles.
Putting yourself first may sound selfish to some but I consider it selfless. When you take care of your health both physically and mentally, you are allowing yourself to be at your best to take care of those around you. I have always prioritized my mental health and in the last few years, learned how important it is to preserve your energy, slow down and engage in activities that truly fuel your soul while allowing you to recharge and even heal.
A recent poll conducted by CAMH found that 50% of Canadians reported worsening mental health since the pandemic began with many feeling worried (44%) and anxious (41%).*
One in 10 Canadians polled said that their mental health had worsened ‘a lot’ as a result of COVID-19.*
Substance use is also on the rise in Canada during COVID-19. A recent poll found that 25% of Canadians aged 35-54 and 21% of those aged 18-34 have increased their alcohol consumption since social distancing and self-isolation due to COVID-19 began.*
5 Things I Do to Prioritize My Mental Health
Before the pandemic, being social and being around the people I love was truly one of the best things for my mental health but with social distancing and reduced social gathering numbers, its getting harder to do. Here are 5 things that I do (on my own) that help me disconnect and check in with myself:
- Get Outside – the weather is getting colder so lately I’ve been taking advantage of any nice day by taking a 30 minute walk at lunch time. I’ve found this important and beneficial for three reasons. 1) it gets me outside for fresh air, some movement and away from my screens. During the work day we can get so consumed by our work that before you know it, you’ve been sitting for hours. 2) i’ll try to run a few errands during my walk and then my weekend isn’t spent tackling my to-do list, it can just be spent relaxing. and 3) it’s a welcome change of scenery
2. Write/Journal – this one is not as easy for most people but I find it so therapeutic. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or sad or even anxious, I’ll take out my journal and just spill my thoughts out on a page. In its most simplest form, taking a few minutes and writing down 3-5 things you are grateful for can create a significant shift in your mindset.
3. Exercise – pre-pandemic I used to workout at least 4-5 times a week and now its been harder to find the motivation to get a good sweat in. I do notice a big difference in my mood and how I feel in my body when I engage in just 30 minutes of physical exercise. I’ve been running, taking online barre classes, taken up yoga or, as I said earlier, just going out for walks.
4. Cook – I’m sure everyone has been cooking a lot more since the pandemic has hit! I guess you can say I have a love hate relationship with cooking. I love it when i’m in the mood to do it but when I’m not it truly feels like a chore. What I also love about cooking is how I can just slow down, focus my mind on the task at hand (those veggies aren’t cutting themselves!) and create something for me to enjoy. Trying new recipes, playing with new ingredients makes the experience that much more fun!
5. Read – this is one of my favourite things to do not just because I love to read but I can truly shut my thoughts and mind off while diving into a new story. I have often spent afternoons just curled up on the couch fully immersed into a book. It’s also something I do as part of my sleep routine so that before bed I’m not looking at a screen and just letting myself relax.
- turn off the news
- pay attention to the activities that allow your mind to focus and not think about the worries of the world
- play music when you’re in the home
- find a podcast that interests you
- meditating or deep breathing
- calling someone to talk/human connection
- reduce your screen time
- establish a sleep routine
- aromatherapy – find a scent you like to use in your main rooms for a mood lift
Leave a comment below and let me know what you do for your mental health!