We’re coming up to two months in isolation and while we might not ever liken to this ‘social distancing’ thing, we’re certainly used to it now. With some extra time at home on our hands, it’s safe to say we’ve been faced with some extra pressures alongside it. Whether it’s becoming a better cook, learning a new skill, reading a book a week, upping your creativity, nailing the art of meditation, getting "prison fit", or starting up a side hustle, it’s no wonder many of us are feeling overwhelmed on how to ‘best’ use our time.
So, with some help from Think Mental Health, we are here to let you know, there is no ‘best’ way, there’s just ‘your’ way. Whether you want to spend your Friday night with some guilt-free Netflix bingeing or you’re dying for a virtual Saturday night vino with friends or devour a pizza in the park, do it—your mental health is a top priority, so don't deny yourself some 'me time'.
Here are our tips to help you end your weekend feeling content, refreshed, happy and ready for another week.
Two Is Company
While we can’t have our usual end of week catch ups, sometimes all you really need is to see one friend or spend some quality time with a family member or roommate to feel the energy that comes from human connection. There’s no need to force yourself to see friends because you feel like you should or make plans you really don’t want to keep, just do whatever it is your mind and soul feels it needs. So whether you feel like calling your best friend to unload on the newest Bravo series, or simply planting yourself on the couch to watch TV with a roommate, there is no denying the injection of energy that comes from spending time with someone other than yourself. Even if it is only for a few minutes or in complete silence.
Move For You
If there’s one thing we’re feeling pressured to do right now, it’s to get our iso-body in ‘check’. Social media has us constantly bombarded with sped-up workout routines in lounge rooms, endless no-equipment exercise programs from gyms and Instagram personalities showing off their bods—and,of course, the very popular Apple Watch photos, exhibiting *subtle* brags of calories burnt and steps taken. It’s enough to make you sigh. While the heading of this paragraph is to ‘Get Moving’, we're advocates of doing whatever feels good for you on any given day. If you’re bursting with energy on Saturday morning, tackle that HIIT workout you saved on Instagram that one time, if you’re feeling sluggish come Sunday afternoon, take the dog for a short stroll around the block. It’s important to keep your body moving, just try not to let the noise dishearten you before you’ve even started.
Let The Belly Laughs Ensue
We all know laughing is scientifically proven to make you feel good, like really good. So with that said, let’s ensure we’re doing more of it. Whether it’s that one friend who always manages to serve up comedic gold, or that family member we always seem to be laughing ‘at’ (lovingly, of course), it’s important to get around these people that can seem to make light of any situation and have you feeling good. If you’re after the on-screen version, we’ve got a nifty little list here of our favourite laugh-out-loud Netflix shows—the kind where you’ll find yourself snorting, clapping like a seal or even shedding a jovial tear. One of the keys to finding happiness is an easy-going and playful approach to life. So, if you know you’re struggling with your own supplies, stress less knowing there’s plenty of other resources to lean on.
Effortlessly Occupy Your Mind
We all know how important it is to work on the muscles and organs we can't see and keep them in check, but often we forget about how important it is to keep your brain healthy. If you find that this pause on regular life has you thinking a little more than you’d like to, make a list of simple, yet satisfying things you enjoy doing to help relieve your mind of some of that surplus thinking time. We don’t mean doing an online course, learning a new language or starting up a side hustle, we’re talking about life’s simple pleasures, like reading a book, playing a new computer game, or even simply chatting to a friend. We personally love finding our dog in the house and taking 20-30 photos of them sleeping in the same position.
Catch Those Z’s
Ever had a terrible night’s sleep and then proceeded to feel irritated by pretty much everyone’s existence the following day? Well, we’re here to tell you that that’s no coincidence. Sleeping properly is so important when it comes to the array of emotions that fall under the huge umbrella that is happiness. A good night's rest will have you waking up feeling energised, ready to get moving and your endorphins pumping, it will have your brain ready for another productive week at work, it will stop you from compensating your lack of energy with excessive amounts of sugar and carbs (that only end up leaving you sluggish), and it will help you to tackle your days and your relationships with patience, kindness and vibrance. So although it might seem like a great idea to ‘just’ finish off the season and go to bed at 1am, we can assure you that getting a good sleep will work wonders in ways you never eve realised.
Change Up Your Scenery
It’s certainly strange to think that most of us have probably never spent this much time in our homes in our whole lives. We’re sure we will look back to this time retrospectively and relish those months we were forced to be homebodies. But for now, you’re probably looking at your makeshift office-living room-home-gym with the same disdain we are—which is why the weekend is the perfect time to switch up your scenery. Whether it’s making the journey to a new coffee shop you’ve never been to before, heading to the park with a few mates for (what should be) a harmless game of bocce or even heading to your parents' place for a lovingly cooked meal or afternoon tea with mum, there’s plenty of good that can come from mixing up your setting and taking a much-needed vacation from your house.
You heard it here first. It’s time to forget societal pressure and simply let you do you. Head to Think Mental Health for more information and resources on staying happy and healthy during COVID-19.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Think Mental Health and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.