May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s so important now than ever to take a moment and check-in with yourself. Mental health is equally important as your physical health and considering the circumstances of this virus, you should be conscious of both. The majority of Americans have been in lockdown since the end of March leaving us without the ability to practice our normal self-care routine/rituals that could include visiting friends/loved ones, exercising at a gym, hiking, catching a movie, eating out or even retail therapy.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, KPG Healthcare wanted to share some helpful tips and tricks on how you can manage your mental health during COVID-19.
Tip #1: Breathe/Meditate
In times of stress, it’s always important to remember to breathe. Taking a minute or two to take some deep breaths will help calm your nerves and allow you to refocus your energy on tasks that matter. Practicing daily meditation provides many benefits like reducing anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, promotes emotional health, reducing stress and more.
There are many ways to meditate too! Some like to practice yoga with their meditation, there are helpful apps like HeadSpace or Insight Time that provide guided meditation (some require in-app purchasing) or simply finding a quiet space free from distractions.
Tip #2: Exercise
There is no doubt that exercising has many benefits not only for your physical health but your mental health as well. Studies have shown that exercise can help treat mild to moderate depression, relieves tension and stress through the release of endorphins, relax your muscles for any tension in your body, increasing your self-esteem, increasing your energy levels, and so much more.
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean heavy weight lifting or 20 mile runs. Taking a walk through the neighborhood or doing jumping jacks is a great stepping stone into incorporating exercise into your life. Remember: everyone starts at square one and it can be easy to feel discouraged when you don’t see results, but don’t give up! Nothing in life comes easy but if you keep at it then there’s nothing you can’t do!
Tip #3: Pick up a new hobby
Finding or rediscovering a hobby is a great way to improve your mental health. Research has shown that people with hobbies rarely suffer from anxiety or depression because these activities will get us out, make us feel happier and more relaxed. Plus, who wouldn’t want to come out of lockdown with a new hobby to show off to your friends?
Check out this great article that breaks down how different hobbies can help different aspects of your mental health!
Tip #4: Plant Therapy
Plant therapy is not only another great hobby to incorporate into our lives but it’s a great way to help your mental health. There have been numerous studies showing how caring for plants (or even looking at plants) can reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect. Caring for plants allows us to have a sense of responsibility, feel connected with other living things besides humans, aid in relaxing and letting go of whatever is burdening us, release happy hormones and plants remind us to live in the present moment. Plants are also another great way to purify the air in your home!
Next time you’re at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, make sure to take a stroll into the Garden Center and check out some of the great indoor/outdoor plants! Here’s a helpful guide/quiz for which houseplants to get!
Tip #5: Virtual Hangouts
With current lockdown restrictions and guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we aren’t able to visit our friends or loved ones like before. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is impossible to see them.
With applications like Zoom or Houseparty, we can see our loved ones and connect with whenever we want. It’s important to check-in with your friends and family to see how they’re doing during this time but it’s also a great way to relieve whatever emotions you’re feeling. We are all going through some sort of lockdown and your loved ones will be there for you through thick and thin. Go call your mom!
Tip #6: Adopt a Fur Baby
Adopting a pet has many benefits, whether that be a dog, cat, hamster, rat, snake or a bird, pets are known to help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness and social isolation. With COVID-19, some pet shelters are temporarily shutting down, leaving many animals without a home, but you are still able to adopt or foster!
Another study found that adopting a dog can increase your task performance, improve your self-esteem, keep us calm and can help keep you from going to the doctor! How amazing is that?! Go adopt a fur baby there are plenty of animals in need of a home!
There are a handful of ways to improve your mental health, but we hope you found some of our tips & tricks to be helpful during the COVID-19 lockdown. Whether you decide to take a walk, adopt a pet or buy a new plant, KPG Healthcare wants to make sure everyone remembers to take care of themselves. We will get through this difficult time as long as we look out for one another. Your mental health is important to us.
Please be safe.