May is Mental Health Month
…. But isn’t it hard to even think about our mental health when we are worried about our physical health, our jobs, our families, our parents, our children, our investments?
Of course, these things need attention, but as we roll into week #7, we can’t afford to let our mental health STAY at the bottom of our list.
Take all the precautions you need to stay healthy – take the physical distancing guidelines seriously, get tested if you have symptoms, take advantage of the government support programs to help with the finances, advocate with your workplaces to stabilize your workday, be as creative as you can be with your children to keep them entertained and educated, meet with your financial advisor to protect what you can of your investments, and regularly check in with ageing parents ensuring they are staying inside (many will not because they need to get out and need their independence, but at least advocate for use of early shopping hours)
Take care of YOU!
Build a structure and routine for yourself that promotes good eating and good exercising.
…. You will break this routine, that is normal. We are not meant, as humans to be on “lockdown”.
Especially for 7 weeks! and the best of us can become unmotivated!
Be kind and self-compassionate with the slip-ups and then get back on the horse!
Use the slow down to either get things done you haven’t had time to do (house projects you never get around to) or relax, using the “extra” time to be creative alone or with the family and friends you live with (painting, drawing or writing or games or puzzles) or set up the “House Party”, “Zoom” and “Netflix Extender” platforms to meet with those you don’t!
…. You may find it hard to stay energized, so let yourself have “down” days, and then look for something to inspire you.
Vent your sadness, anxiety, frustrations to trusted loved ones. These are completely normal feelings to have and you will find yourself going back and forth between contentment, fatigue, irritability, sadness and anxiety. We have lost control of our lives and we need to release those feelings, if not by exercise, then by art, if not by art, then by writing, if not by writing, then by speaking to others who will listen and understand.
… There may be some days when you don’t feel like talking, so take “extra” space, but not for too long! There is someone in your life who cares enough to listen, or be an ear for someone else… often times resilience is built on the good feelings we get from helping others!
Look for gratitude. We are now talking more than ever about what some of the benefits have been of being on almost two months of lockdown. Slowing down, resting, simplifying, working from home, pacing, finding mindfulness, appreciating our good health more than before. What are YOU doing differently that wasn’t “possible” before? What were you making excuses for before that you can begin to challenge yourself with once the physical distancing lifts? What is worth taking from the COVID-19 experience into your life afterwards? How will you make yourself accountable for maintaining these?
So yes, May 2020 may be more about COVID-19 then mental health, but how are you giving your emotional well-being a priority?