developing a wellness ritual during covid-19
Undeniably, the current pandemic has challenged many aspects of our lives within our control. The way we work, interact, and communicate with one another has immensely been impacted both positively, and negatively. For example, our commute times have been drastically reduced/eliminated arguably resulting in a positive impact on our professional lives, but working remotely has also brought a sense of isolation from the rest of the world. Because of multiple challenges that the current pandemic has brought into our lives, be it a financial crisis or personal, most of us, if not all, are seemingly having difficulties in paying attention to personal health and wellness. Pausing and evaluating our priorities, and paying close attention to our mental wellness by focusing on self-care and self-introspection is more important than ever now.
By isolating ourselves from the rest of the world, adhering to social distancing requirements, feelings of boredom, frustration, or loneliness are inevitable. Perhaps the financial crisis that the pandemic has exposed many of us to or concerns around personal well-being in general or that of our loved ones have added to the stress and anxiety. Most individuals who are in quarantine alone or sheltered-in-place without their families present or other support have seemingly undergone added emotional stress.
And it’s perfectly okay to feel a certain way because everyone reacts differently to different situations. The precautionary measures around shelter-in-place or wearing masks and maintaining social distance not only help with protecting ourselves but also others who may come in contact with us. While keeping a positive attitude during these uniquely challenging times might not come naturally to most of us, engaging in healthy practices during this time could help preserve the individual mental well-being and assist in coping with evolved feelings as we navigate through the pandemic for an extended period.
At KarmaHelp, we believe the following helpful tips might be helpful for your overall mental and physical well being:
1. Stay in regular touch with other people
Staying in constant touch with the folks in our trust circle, including our family and friends can help ease the burden of feeling alone. Exchanging sentiments with others could not only help with easing the burden, but also offer others within your circle of trust an ear during these challenging times. Also hearing out your problems aloud can sometimes put things into perspective which may in turn help prioritize and strategize in finding reasonable solutions to the problems.
Scheduling virtual happy hours or dinners on Zoom, or watch movies and virtually chat together on Netflix Party (via the Google Chrome extension) are some ideas of staying connected. Game nights are also a great way to add some fun to your quarantine, you can download House-party that lets you video chat friends and access group games to play like Heads Up, Trivia, Quick Draw, and many more.
2. Take a break from the news
We are all aware of the current political landscape within local and national governments to keep the economy running during these times. In the day and age of social media and group chats, it is becoming extremely challenging to detox from the news. Not only do we hear news about COVID-19 generally, but we’re being subjected to news around various social and racial stigma and other world issues that have surfaced in recent times.
It’s great to keep oneself updated with the ongoing political landscape, especially now, when we have the time to think and evaluate, but limiting or taking a ‘break’ from external issues could help with evaluating our current position amidst all this, which could, in turn, facilitate clarity in thought and process on handling certain issues that may directly have an impact in our lives. Now is the time to be empathetic, kind, and open to listening. Taking a break might fuel our thought process and keep feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, and apprehension at bay.
3. Do things you enjoy
Finding a new hobby or developing a new skill might help fight anxiety. Staying home for an extended period might create a sense of disinterest where we might stop doing things we enjoy otherwise. Reviving an old hobby or rediscovering a new one, or even focusing on fitness might help alleviate the stress and perhaps guide us towards thought clarity and mental agility. Whether it’s your old guitar, or learning to sketch, or signing up for a coding class for free on Khan Academy, try to find something that excites you.
Our physical health has a major impact on how we feel. Eating healthy and balanced home-cooked meals, following self-care rituals, and avoiding falling prey to unhealthy habits, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption are things that one should focus on right now.
Learning and experimenting with healthy recipes from your favorite chef, catching up on sleep that you may have neglected in pre-COVID times, focusing on physical activities by practicing yoga, dance, or strength training or even indulging in self-care rituals could be beneficial. Instead of opting for medicines or alcohol, try drinking your favorite herbal tea, listening to relaxing music, or even a bubble bath to relieve stress.
When you eat healthier and balanced meals it is proven that you will be more focused, energized, and overall less stressed. Try to keep junk and sugary foods to a minimum or at bay. Perhaps start your day with a fruit smoothie or avocado toast or for lunch toss up a Greek salad with grilled chicken. There are plenty healthy and great recipes out there to try, don't be afraid to get creative! P.S. Cooking can also be a great relaxing activity!
5. Engage in relaxing activities
Reserve time for yourself during the day for relaxing activities such as meditating, stretching, breathing exercises, and spending time with friends and family. This can help to manage a variable degree of emotions, assisting with finding solutions and provide thought clarity on our next action plan.
6. Leverage external resources
Reach out for additional external resources, whether it’s talking to an independent, non-judgmental professional such as a psychologist specialized in handling certain emotions/feelings, a social worker, or other professional counselors for guidance and treatment. There are a lot of resources available to help navigate through these difficult times.
For immediate assistance in a Mental Health Crisis or Emergency situations:
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
If your medical provider is not immediately available or accessible, find an alternative healthcare provider for assistance with diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder, or to locate treatment facilities and programs in the United States or U.S. Territories for mental and substance use disorders call:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889
KarmaHelp is also introducing new Mental Health and Wellness programs that are available and open to the community! We are committed to serving the community and are here to help, not just during COVID-19, but as an ongoing support. We have created new resources that you can find here, that currently include wellness webinars, relaxation/fitness sessions, and a buddy system all directed by professionals. You, your friends and family can sign up for these webinars and sessions free of charge! Reach out to us if you are struggling with mental wellness, and we may be able to help you by connecting you to additional resources! Visit us at karmahelp.org/mental-wellness.