Nurturing Mental Wellness In A Pandemic
Updated: Jul 27, 2020
This one's a bit of a deep one, but v important!
NGL, Miss. Corona has done a bit of a number on my mental health. She's taken my brain out for a spin. It's something I've been learning to cope with and navigate through in these unprecedented times and I know I'm not alone. Being 100% transparent about the ups and downs has always helped me actualize my feelings and release some of the weight of stigma.
These are the things that I actively do in order to nurture my mental wellness.
For The Love Of Plants
Some people have pets, other people have children. I have plants. Over the course of this entire lockdown, most of my spending has centered around buying and caring for plants. It's not worst thing you can spend your money on. For one, I've developed a skill (gardening) which gives me a sense of purpose and not to mention, the obvious aesthetics of an indoor jungle. There's something peaceful about being surrounded by living beings whose growth depends on your caring hand. I can imagine this sentiment is what being a mother is like?
Therapy has been a godsend for me for years but I recognize that it's unfortunately not a viable option for everyone due to cost/accessibility. The silver lining is that there are many resources out there that provide free or reduced rates—for example non-profit counseling centers which I partake in. I've linked my IG highlight of LA resources here plus a free subscription to Headspace provide by LA County. I'm a huge advocate of therapy and I believe anyone can benefit from the perspective gained from speaking to an expert if you don't feel comfortable talk to your peers.
Endorphins + Serotonin
Being told to exercise is the mental wellness equivalent to being told to drink water to clear your skin up. It's annoying and redundant, but there's a reason the former is so prevalent—it works. Nothing beats the rush of feel-good chemicals after a good workout and the feeling of accomplishment. Starting is always the hardest part, but I've never met anyone who regretted a workout after the fact. My favorite low-impact apartment friendly workouts are courtesy of MadFit on Youtube.
The greatest thing you can realize about mental health struggles is that you're not at all alone. There are millions of other people that feel or have felt what you feel at one point.
It's easy to lose sight of this in social isolation, but it's critical to realize that plenty of others share your struggle. Beyond the facade of spon cons and self-absorption on the Gram, lie genuine communities of people who seek to connect on a spiritual level. There are loads of blogger friends who lift my spirits and make my IG experience all the more positive who I've yet to meet them IRL due to COVID. Bottom line: unfollow people who disturb your peace and engage with genuine people who uplift you. These are a few accounts I love:
Nourish Mind + Body
Mind and body are in many ways interconnected. What you consume, how you talk to yourself, and what you put inside your body will have an affect on how your mind functions. You were born in one body so why not nourish it wholly? Practice self-love by writing or speaking positive affirmations. Take multivitamins, drink water, cut out alcohol and stimulants, get daily Vitamin D and follow a strict sleep regimen. When your body feels good, your mind follows.
*side note: after recently sharing with my mom that I've been having increased anxiety & panic attacks, she went out and bought me some anxiety support supplements (she's so cute!) from the health food store. Upon taking them, I almost immediately felt a sense of calm wash over me. Looking at the glowing reviews on Amazon confirmed my belief that these supplements work. If you have anxiety or occasional stress, I plead that you give these a try for yourself.
Meditation is not easy nor foolproof. Hell, I'm still trying to figure it out myself. It's one of those things where you can't really explain the benefits—you just have to experience it. Nevertheless, guided meditation is a practical way to become more mindful and appreciative of the present moment. I've made it a ritual to use the Calm App before bed in order to ease myself into a more peaceful sleep and help with stress. Def worth checking out.
Laughter As Medicine
When I'm feeling down, the last thing I want to do is watch something grim or sulk. I prefer to dive into a nostalgic coma or watch comedy as a mood booster. A few lighthearted picks on my queue are That's So Raven, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, The Powerpuff Girls, and Pixar movies to name a few.
I personally find solace in knowing others share some of the emotional waves that I have felt during this pandemic, which is why I compelled to write this post. I hope that by being transparent about those waves, I can breakdown any lingering taboos about mental health and lend my hand in support to anyone who hasn't felt their best during this global pandemic.
Thanks for reading