It’s been easy to forget about how important our mental health is when wearing masks, social distancing and keeping ourselves physically safe from the coronavirus have been on the top of everyone’s minds. But your mental health isn’t something you want to leave unattended for too long, or it could have a significant impact on your well-being.
In my previous blog post, Mental Health Isn’t a 1-Person Battle, I briefly highlighted the importance of finding an activity that helps you relax.
This is your reminder. It may be difficult, but find a way to carve out some “me time.” And that doesn’t mean just mindlessly scrolling through your social media news feed for three hours – and that’s coming from someone who makes a living creating content for social media.
Let’s brainstorm, shall we? I’ve compiled a list of some me-time activities that could lend a helping hand during these crazy times.
Take pen to paper. It doesn’t matter what you write – just write. It could be a journal, poetry, or just some doodles on a page. Getting your feelings out there on paper can be a cathartic activity. Who knows, your doodle could spark an idea for a project around the house or for your career.
Bring out your inner architect. Did the kids leave the Legos on the floor again? Instead of getting frustrated and throwing them in a big bucket, why not try to build something for a few minutes? Like Will Farrell’s character said in The Lego Movie, Legos aren’t just a children’s toy. They are a “highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system.” Putting focus into a building activity like this can become a form of meditation and help you de-stress.
Order up! Try your hand at cooking something new. Back in May, the Simply Well blog shared some tips on planning and preparing meals during the COVID crisis. So prep your ingredients, and fire up the oven or grill. It’s cooking time!
Add a new skill to your repertoire. One of my favorite things to do is to watch YouTube tutorials on something I’ve wanted to try for a while. I’m not suggesting you should learn how to rebuild a car’s transmission – you can if you really want to – but maybe start with a more achievable goal. It can start out as just play, but maybe try to target something that can help you professionally. Personally, that’s how I learned how to use Adobe Photoshop; now it’s something I use daily.
Find your own go-to activity. None of my suggestions catch your eye? Think of something that helps you relax. Go for a run, mow the lawn, plant a garden. It can’t be understated how important a change of scenery is – whether it’s two miles away or just in your very own back yard. While writing this very blog, I was introduced to Geocaching. Look it up. It seems pretty cool and something everyone can do! No matter what you decide, find YOUR happy place, and visit as often as you can.
If you’re overwhelmed and looking for ways to cope, you can always head over to CDC.gov. Their Coping with Stress page provides resources to help take care of your mental health and assist others who may be feeling isolated and lonely.
Join the conversation. Share some more ideas of “me time” activities in the comments below.
Guest Blogger: Danny Quin, Associate Digital/Social Media Specialist, UMass Memorial Health Care