5 Ways to Boost Your Mental and Emotional Wellbeing During Stressful Times
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition and Job Search Coach | Stress Management and Sleep Science Coach
There isn't a person in the country--in the world, for that matter--who is unaware of what is happening all around us right now. We are isolating ourselves to the extent that it is possible to keep ourselves and others safe.
It's such an irony because in the past, during times of trouble, we gathered together to seek protection, didn't we?
Now, our best bet for protecting ourselves and our loved ones is to keep our distance.
And here's another irony. In the past, like during the mobilization of World War II, people rushed to work to start making things, and the economy that had been in a depression suddenly sprang to life, and people began to prosper and thrive.
Now, we are told to work from home if possible. But that isn't possible for everyone.
We are in the midst of a global health crisis that has also fast become a global economic crisis.
Right now, while we each guard our physical health, we also need to be mindful of safeguarding our mental and emotional wellbeing.
In fact, taking care of our psychological wellbeing right now is critical.
It should not be news to you that you need to tend to your mental and emotional wellness all the time. In fact, there has been much talk lately about the need to improve mental health services across the board.
Many of us were at a point of feeling highly stressed and anxious even before this latest situation that has all of us in its grip. Part of the reason I became a stress management coach is that I wanted to help people learn how to manage and reduce their stress.
Taking care of our psychological wellness is an essential part of maintaining our health overall. So when you start to feel your thoughts running away with negativity, worry, and fear, it's time to do something to stop those thoughts in their tracks. Develop a mantra or a positive affirmation that you can use to interrupt the negative thoughts.
Turn your negative thoughts around.
Taking care of your mental health is not unlike looking after your physical health. You need to feed your mind kind thoughts and healthy input.
It's been said that "thoughts are things."
Given that, isn't it a good idea to concentrate on thinking positive thoughts instead of negative ones?
As a Science of Mind minister, I strive as a practice to see the positive in all situations. Sometimes that is challenging, I'll admit. I am human, after all. And I have my moments of uncertainty and doubt.
But I pull myself up pretty quickly because I recognize the doubt and anxiety as negative thoughts.
I turn things around in my head and start thinking of a positive affirmation or mantra.
If you are struggling to maintain a positive attitude during this challenging time, you're not alone. But that's just it. We are all in this together.
So we need to stick together even while we are keeping ourselves apart for legitimate health reasons.
In the meantime, while you strive to keep your body well, maybe it will help to use the following recommendations to keep your mental and emotional state well.
1. Get the Sleep You Need
Nothing negatively affects your mental wellness more than not getting enough sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in your ability to cope with stress.
Sleep helps you balance your emotions. Getting enough sleep to keep you going is critical to your ability to focus and process complex thoughts. It also enables you to make healthy choices regarding nutrition and exercise.
Here's the thing. The more sleep-deprived you are, the less likely you are to realize how much it is negatively affecting you.
Start with the basics.
Are you getting at least seven hours of sleep every night? Do you feel rested when you wake each day?
Make sure you go to bed at the same time each night. Create an environment that is conducive to sleep. Stop the use of electronics at least one hour before bedtime. Creating a nighttime ritual will convey to your brain that it is time to rest.
2. Spend Time with Others Virtually Until You Can Get Together in Person Again
Human interaction is an essential part of maintaining mental and emotional health. That is being challenged right now because we are cautioned to stay away from one another. "Social distancing" is a term we hadn't heard or used just a few weeks ago!
The good news is that in today's world full of ways to stay connected virtually. Facetime, Zoom, Skype, and all the other platforms help us to connect with our loved ones in ways we couldn't have done even a few years ago.
We can even stay connected with celebrities through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin, just to name a few.
So, while we stay home, we don't have to remain isolated.
What a blessing that is!
Also, consider. Now is a perfect time to bond with your family. Make the time you are at home with your spouse and children quality time. Your social support system is a vital part of your mental and emotional wellbeing. And right now, while you are all stuck at home, you can strive to make the best of it.
3. Perform an Act of Kindness
When you are feeling down or need a boost, try doing something kind or helpful for someone else. Do you have an elderly neighbor that you could check on? Do you have a grandparent who could use a call to make them feel remembered?
You can always donate money to an organization that is going to be stressed to provide resources during this crisis. Food banks, for example, will continue to need donations.
The Salvation Army and other charities that help people will also need contributions.
There are many things you can do to help others who may be less fortunate than you. If you are reading this message, I am going to assume you have a roof over your head. You have heat and electricity and running water.
Think of the millions of people who don't have those luxuries.
Count yourself blessed even while you may be wanting to be out with your friends. Consider one small act of kindness that you could perform that might ease the burden for someone else.
4. Find Proactive Ways to Better Manage Your Stress
Stress influences your mental wellness. So find ways to reduce your stress or learn how to cope more effectively.
You must do that right now.
What we each find relaxing and stress-relieving is different. What works for some people may not work for you. Explore your strategies for stress management and relaxation.
And you might consider these popular choices as a starting point if you have trouble thinking of something:
• Take a hot bath and add some bubbles for good measure.
• Work out. Even if the gym is closed, you can go for a brisk walk.
• Do some yoga or Tai chi.
• Talk with someone about what is bothering you.
5. Don't Forget to Have Fun and Laugh
Sometimes, what you need to release tension is a good laugh! Laughter releases feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters. Their release improves your outlook and helps you feel more balanced.
Find something that will make you laugh and indulge in it. Watch a funny movie. Do something that makes you feel young and carefree. Laughter is the best medicine!
Whatever you do, the important thing is to be proactive and avoid letting yourself get down right now.
To state the obvious, we are living during something that we have never experienced before.
Everyone is making up their response as they go. It's unnerving, to say the least.
But it is also out of our hands.
The best thing we can do is stay put and make the best of the situation. As I said, we are all in this together. We are connected in ways we may not have thought about before.
Perhaps it is time to start thinking about it.
Until next time.
If you are looking for something to do with the extra time you have on your hands these days, take a look below.
My friend Miki Shelton has invited me to speak at the It's YOU Time Summit! I'm incredibly excited because, along with that invitation, I was offered the chance to extend to you the opportunity to listen in.
If you're searching for the secret to shifting from feeling lost and quietly sad all the time to waking up every day with confidence and joy, doing what you love and feeling successful, this opportunity is for you! ... this is your answer!
And you don't have to pay a dime to attend. (It's completely FREE!)
Beginning March 30th, you'll get exclusive access to an all expert panel as we equip you with invaluable skills and strategies which will help you...
Connect with your vision for your life.
Tap into positive habits that cultivate confidence and Joy.
Understand how health and wellness plays a role in your overall success.
Stop comparing yourself to others and focus on your own progress.
And much more…
All you have to do is reserve your "virtual seat" by going here:
Don't pass this opportunity up to change your life for the better right now.
If you are ready to make a change, then I'll "see" you at the It's YOU Time Summit. I already have every session booked on my calendar!