This post was made in partnership with Depend® brand. All opinions are my own.
As the days have turned into months and the months are now going on a year, it has been a long time that we’ve been dealing with quarantine. Each month has felt twice as long and while you can’t remember what you had for breakfast, you are probably really enjoying old television shows because it’s like watching them for the first time again (or is it just me who has no memory left?).
Plus, the weather has not been cooperating. Many of us are coming off of major snow storms and power outages, and our friendly groundhog declared 6 more weeks of winter. So we are almost there, but not quite yet.
All of this said, it is incredibly important for us to be tending to our mental health. Being inside even more than we have been (and we’ve been inside a lot!) can really weigh on one’s state of mind. It is normal and it is natural, but there are ways to help yourself – right now and throughout the year.
Nature Is Your Friend
No matter what the weather looks like outside, you need to experience nature. First and foremost, open the blinds and let the sun in as often as it peeks through the clouds. Exposing yourself to the sun (even from inside your house) has calming and body regulating properties that are good for your mental health. You may sleep better and feel less depressed and isolated, all of which is extra important at this time.
If it is warm enough for you outside (or not too hot during the summer), get a little fresh air. Consider hiking or sledding if you’d like to get out for some fun, but even standing outside on your front porch is enough. Remind yourself that you are a part of nature and it is a part of you. Seasons will change, so experience the current one for what it is, if even for a few minutes.
Be More Social
I know that through quarantine everyone has encouraged Zoom calls and phone calls, but it’s time to take it up a half-step. Make some real (digital) plans or something socially distanced in the backyard. Organize a Netflix party where you all watch the same movie and chat about it afterward. Plan a dinner where everyone has to make the same recipe at their house and eat it together online. Compare success and horror stories about how the process went. Do things that remind you of life before quarantine, but with a safe twist.
When you are out in public, say hi to people or pay them a compliment. Wish the stock boy at the grocery store a good morning or strike up a short conversation with the checkout person. If you are going through a drive thru to pick up food, find something that you like about the cashier (hair, nails, shirt) and tell them. Everyone can benefit from a little more socialization and you can make someone else’s day a little bit brighter.
Find a Way to Laugh
I know that right now laughter may be scarce, but it is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself. Laughing can actually help to alleviate stress, calm your body, and relax your mind, among other health benefits.
When we are under a lot of stress, it can be difficult to find those funny moments, so if you don’t have funny opportunities or people around you, help to set yourself up for success. First, take a shower or make some tea – do something that will help you relax naturally. Then put on Friends, Black-ish, Bridesmaids or something else that you get a kick out of and try to sink into it. Help yourself have a laugh.
Take Care of You
It can be really easy to get overwhelmed with taking care of other people and all of their needs. After all, we have been in this every single day for 24 hours per day for nearly 12 months with no break. I get it. Which is why it is extremely important to find even the tiniest ways to take care of yourself.
What was it before all of this started that made you feel “normal?” What made you feel like you? Going grocery shopping by yourself (unless that is your jam!) is not what is going to heal you. Do you have a favorite coffee drink you’d pick up on occasion? A favorite drive thru breakfast? Did you work on a laptop outside your children’s school in the car before pickup (like I did)? Do what you can to mimic the behavior. Find an hour where you pick up the drink, get the breakfast or sit in the car outside your house on your laptop. Give yourself a little bit of “normal you.”
If you manage incontinence, make sure that you have your Depend Silhouette Underwear already in your cabinet at home. There is so much to manage right now that the last thing you should have to be stressing about is bladder leakage.
Help a Neighbor
One of the best things that you can do for your mental health is to help someone else. Not only does this encourage a bit of social interaction (which gets you out of the house and thinking about something different – different is good right now!), but it naturally improves your mood.
During the winter months, mask up and offer to shovel a neighbor’s walkway (or just do it!), help shovel someone out of their parking space or team up with a few people to shovel the block. During the warmer months, rake a neighbor’s leaves, or offer to help weed their garden or mow their lawn.
If you have an elderly neighbor, mask up and help them carry their groceries to their doorstep. If you are going through a fast food restaurant, pay for the order of the people behind you. Doing good for other people will make you feel good.
We are living through tough times, my friends, and it’s okay to acknowledge it. Sometimes doing just that is a release. But there are things that you can do to help maintain your mental health throughout the year until we reach the other side. Be strong and remember that we are all in this together.