Between endless Zoom meetings and a stacked social calendar, it's easy to put our mental health and well-being on the back burner. Add in a hefty dose of COVID-chaos, and you've got one spicy recipe for feeling more than a bit 'meh.'
There's a reason the Stoics said 'well-being is achieved by small steps, but is truly no small thing. It's about showing up for yourself consistently, boosting your mind and mood with small strategies that actually make a difference.
But don't just take our word for it; we've teamed up with the experts over at Think Mental Health to understand how to show our mind some love. Here are six practical ways to look after yourself.
1. Treat Yourself Like A Mate
You wouldn't tell a friend going through hard times how to feel or pressure them to react differently. So why do it to yourself? This tool is about honouring your emotions, being kind and giving yourself a break.
The Tip | When uncertainty comes along, create a safe space to feel all of the feels. Try to label these emotions honestly; scared, annoyed, sad and so on. Because no matter what you're feeling, it's okay. Most importantly, do this with kindness and absolutely no judgement; your experience and thoughts are valid. Head over here for some prompts on how to kick start this process.
2. Reset And Focus On The Good Things
It's natural for us to dwell when things go wrong. We've all had a time where overthinking a problem ends up worse than the issue itself, leaving us feeling all sorts of overwhelmed. As the saying goes, you can't control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. This tip will help you do just that.
The Tip | After you've acknowledged your feelings and the situation (see point one), take back the power. One way to do this is by focusing on the good things—the sun being out, catching up with mates, or even picking up a delicious afternoon snack. Hit reset on negative thoughts to help you create a more productive and creative headspace. For a step-by-step on this tactic, check out ideas for shifting your thinking here.
3. Schedule In Self-Care
Raise your hand if you can't remember the last time you had a free weekend? We feel you. Life is mega busy, so it's easy to feel like your days consist of ticking off admin and dealing with problems. This one is for the person with an endless to-do list.
The Tip: Make self-care a non-negotiable. Just like hitting the gym or getting your morning coffee, self-care needs to be a part of your daily routine. Whether it's moving your body, catching up with mates, looking after your mind or treating yourself, self-care takes plenty of forms. Remember, there's no pressure to make self-care productive—simply doing something that brings you joy is more than enough. Get some ideas for your next Sunday reset over here.
4. Get Comfy With Plan B (Or C Or D)
If the last few years have taught us anything, we need to make like Ross in Friends and get comfortable with pivoting. Things change, they don't go according to plan, and that is all so okay. If you still have whip-lash from the last two years of constant change, this might help.
The Tip | Define what is inside and outside of your control. Sounds simple, right? It's a habit that takes constant practice to build up. Focus on what you can influence; even in unexpected situations, you'll feel calmer and more confident. A gentle reminder; you've totally got this. Check out these prompts to help you get into that headspace.
5. Rally The Crew And Connect
Feeling lonely can look different for everyone. It's one emotion that encourages us to look at our social circle and ask if we're really satisfied. You might be booked out every night of the week, but craving a deeper connection. Or, you could have a close group of friends but want to expand your relationships to meet different needs, like new hobbies or interests.
The Tip: Identify if you need to strengthen and broaden your relationships—and then take action to do so. This might be opting for a social activity like a group workout over a solo walk. Or, firing up the old group chat to reconnect with friends from afar. Get creative growing your relationships with these tips over here.
6. Don't Go It Alone
Here's the thing; you're not in this alone. If you can't get the support you need from family or friends, or you're looking for expert advice, there are people who have got you covered. On the flip side, it's worth checking out the services available so you can best advise anyone close to you who may need support.
The Tip | Get clued up on the support services offered across WA. There might be more than you think, from general mental health and wellness to helplines for specific groups of people or mental health conditions.