If there is anything the past year has taught us, it is how to learn to stop and smell the roses while we are still here. The ripple effects of the isolation and lockdown on our collective mental health will still be felt as the world comes to terms with the COVID-19 virus. So, you need to know how to take care of your mental health in 2021.
Although there is good news with regards to the development of the vaccine, it will still take a while for the world to adjust and with that in mind, we must continually seek how to keep our mental health our top priority.
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Tips on How to Take Care of your Mental Health in 2021
1. Most people tend to begin the new year setting goals and mapping strategies in different areas of their lives. As you seek to take care of your mental health, approach personal growth, habit change and these goals with kinder self-talk that cares for your mental wellbeing.
2. Be intentional with life & bring intention into your actions. The pandemic has highlighted just how important it is to be intentional. In this vein, while setting your goals, do not forget to ‘Write the vision, make it plain so you can run with it’. Writing is powerful and it brings a sense of clarity as you pour down your thoughts and shape the vision for your life in the new year.
3. Accept who you are. With self-awareness comes acceptance. Remember to love and accept yourself even as you make bold steps to overcome your shortcomings.
4. Evaluate the relationship you have with yourself. Ask, would you speak to somebody else in the way you speak about yourself? The relationship you have with yourself is crucial to your own wellbeing and to creating healthy and happy relationships with others.
5. Practice self-compassion. Being kind to yourself regularly is one of the best things you can do. Invest in yourself by spending 15-30 minutes each day doing something you enjoy. Self-compassion gives us space to breathe and take the time to take care of ourselves in a healing and kind way.
Write down positive things about yourself when your inner critic finds faults. Act as if you were your own best friend and be kind and supportive when you stumble or feel you have failed.
6. It is important to practice gratitude. Even in the midst of uncertainty, recall and focus on positive life events. Spend time thinking about some of your best memories. Whether it’s a vacation, an award you received, or a special time spent with a friend, recalling the happiest times in your life can bring more positivity to your mindset. Take a few minutes each day to appreciate the small wins you have achieved.
7. Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.Taketimeforyourself.Do something to wind down and relax at the end of each day.
8. Nourish your body. There is a lot of truth to the statement ‘garbage in, garbage out’ especially regarding one’s nutrition. While it is easy to rely on snack and quick bites for sustenance, one must cultivate the habit of mindful eating by deliberately curating one’s diet in a healthy & balanced manner. Your physical & mental health is intertwined so it is encouraged to eat and sleep well as well as engage in physical activity.
9. Remain flexible: One lesson that has been highlighted in 2020 is how fast things can change. It is important toremember that although you are committed to your goals, one should never be afraid to change plans in the direction of a goal or even your goals in light of new information. Regrouping, recalibrating and changing direction is not a failure. You just know better and want better.
10. Stay connected While the world still navigates the terms of physical engagement given the pandemic, make a conscious effort to stay connected with friends & family. Schedule check-ins regularly and enjoy the beauty of connection. 11. Learn to hack into your happy hormones such as the dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins (D.O.S.E). This can be achieved by doing the following;
-Eating proper and adequate meals.
– Having adequate hours of sleep (7-9hours) and learn to rest. There is no award for the busiest person on earth.
– Exercise, 30-45mins for 4-5days a week. This can be a brisk walk. – Having a healthy support group and staying connected with them.
-If you understand the statement, “in life, problems no dey finish”, try to laugh and have good times.
12. Lastly, remember to take each day at a time and think of well-being as a journey rather than a destination. This simple shift in concept allows for grace and patience if we find ourselves distracted or having fallen off the path along the way. Well-being as a journey recognizes improvements come gradually and if we maintain a sense of purpose and direction, in time, we will reach our desired goal.
In conclusion, the new year will come with its ups & downs but let us endeavour to approach each day with curiosity, compassion, grace and empathy for ourselves, for others and for the journey that we are on.
The fear for Covid19 should be the beginning of – Intentional and deliberate living.- Self-care and self-love.- Most importantly, guarding, protecting and prioritizing our mental health. So, you should take all these tips on how to take care of your mental health seriously this year.