This past year has been full of its fair share of surprises and challenges. The term ‘unprecedented’ has been beaten to death and sends shivers down my spine at this point. But despite the fact that society is constantly talking about the struggles associated with life in a pandemic, it can still feel incredibly daunting and lonely.
It can also feel like everyone around you has adapted perfectly fine to this new normal while you’re still struggling to get out of bed in the morning and can’t remember the last time you stepped outside of your apartment. Let me let you in on a little secret: we’re all struggling. No matter what we image we portray when we post on social media or communicate with our family and friends, we all have some days that are harder than others.
Whatever challenges you’re dealing with behind the curtain, it’s always a good time for a mental health check-up. Here are five ways you can self-evaluate and take charge of your wellbeing in 2021.
Set a Few Goals and Keep Track of Your Progress
Sometimes all you need to boost your mood is a little concrete evidence that you’re moving in the right direction. Start by setting a few goals for yourself. They can be long-term or short-term, big or small, it doesn’t matter what they are, just that you have them. Maybe it’s something as simple as ‘I will make my bed three times per week’ or ‘I will treat myself once per month’. Then, record what steps you’ve taken to achieve those goals on a daily or weekly basis. Seeing your progress will help you see all that you’ve accomplished in spite of all the challenges!
Add Something New to Your Routine
Change can be overwhelming and hard to incorporate into your habits, but it can also be an exciting refresh on your daily routine. Think outside of the box on hobbies you could play around with. Try reading a new genre of book or discovering a new walking trail each week. If you need some inspiration, check out this list of the top hobbies people have adapted during quarantine.
Check-In on Your Physical Wellbeing
Your mind and physical body make up one holistic being, meaning that your mental health can have large impacts on your physical health and vice versa. Take a moment to reflect: have you been nourishing yourself with good foods and giving your body breaks to release energy? Your body has worked hard to keep you going each day, treat it with the same level of care and respect, in whatever way that means to you.
Reconnect with Friends and Family
The people in your life can make a huge difference in how you feel. Quarantining has encouraged us all to be a little anti-social, which just means we have to work a little harder to stay connected. A phone call might sound exhausting, but it will make you feel much better, guaranteed. The people we love have a magical way of making everything okay, even when it feels like the world is falling apart.
Seek Help if You Need It
There’s strength in being able to acknowledge when you need help. Talking to a professional can help you uncover the root cause and overcome challenges you may be facing. Despite the societal stigmas surrounding therapy, it can be beneficial for anyone and everyone – not just those facing diagnosed illnesses. And if you’re concerned about venturing into a physical office in COVID times, take advantage of telehealth!
Celebrate the Little Wins
We spend way too much time beating up on ourselves, it’s time to rewrite the narrative. Start opening your eyes to all the amazing things you do on a daily basis and take the time to truly celebrate them, even if it’s just with yourself. Maybe you checked an item off your to-do list or did something a little outside of your comfort zone. Acknowledge these feats for what they are: victories.
Remember that you are much stronger than you know. You have already come this far and each struggle the past year has served you has allowed you to grow in unimaginable ways. Love yourself for that and don’t give up hope now.