For just about every American right now, life has been turned upside down. There are many unknowns ahead and day to day life may seem like it’s on a perpetual cycle of the same. If it’s taking a toll on your mental health, you’re not alone! Here are 10 ideas for improving your mental health during these challenging times.
1. Cook a New Recipe
You may feel like there is a lot out of your control right now. Cooking a new meal or making some baked goods is a great way to have a sense of accomplishment and completion of a task. Dig out the old cookbook and try something new and unexpected, even if it’s just for one.
2. Tweak Your Hobby
Maybe you love live sports or theater, but because of the cancellations and postponements, you are unable to enjoy your hobby. It may not be exactly the same as taking in a show or a game, but try exploring some of the other aspects of your hobby. For example, read up on some baseball statistics or learn the history of your favorite Broadway shows. You’ll likely learn something new and appreciate the craft more!
3. Rearrange Your Space
Getting tired of spending time in your own space? Try a new furniture layout. Move a couch, TV, or artwork and gain a new perspective. You may find a great new way to arrange your things and have fun in the process.
4. “Meet Up” with Friends and Family
Think “Zoom” meetings are just for work? Host a family reunion or happy hour with friends for some socialization. You may feel self-conscious on camera, but it’s a great mood booster and an “occasion” to look forward to.
5. Take a Drive
Maybe your climate is starting to see better weather. What a better way to feel a little freedom than to roll down the windows and take a leisurely drive. Explore a new area or head out to a scenic area to feel a little carefree for a few hours.
6. Find Something Funny
The news is heavy right now. Of course it is important to be informed, but sometimes we can become over consumed by negativity in the media. What makes you laugh? Rewatch a funny sitcom, check out a comedy special on Netflix, or explore YouTube to watch an old favorite video clip.
7. Plant Something
Spring has sprung! It’s a great time to start a garden in your yard or patio. No outdoor space? Set up some small pots and grow some herbs. It’s a great reminder that things are still blooming and moving forward, even when it feels like everything is at a stand still.
8. Join a Virtual Book Club
Miss engaging your mind with others? Join a virtual book club. A simple web search reveals book clubs for any kind of genre you can imagine! Want something more local? Check out your local public library’s website to see if they are hosting any virtual book clubs or webinars.
9. Go Outside
This one may seem obvious, but it does get overlooked. It’s amazing what going outside, taking a walk, or just enjoying some sunshine can do for your mental health. If you’re working, take a call outdoors or even move your workspace out onto a patio.
10. Contact a Professional
Things are really tough right now. That may seem like an oversimplification, but everyone’s experiences are different. The CDC has a page regarding “Stress and Coping” during the COVID-10 outbreak. If you or a loved one are feeling overwhelmed, visit the page for resources or contact your state’s health services department.