By Rebecca Richardville
With the events of this past year, our eyes have been opened to a whole world of issues brought to light by the COVID-19 pandemic.
They have always been there, but self-isolation tends to expedite problems that normally would not be noticed.
Those already suffering from anxiety, stress and other emotional situations have seen an increase in these feelings this past year along with new thoughts and emerging conditions. Now more than ever it is important to “check in” with yourself. If you have had bad times in the past, learning about your mental health and discovering ways to care for yourself and others can be a great way to help you cope.
Develop a set of goals you want to accomplish this year. Think about your interests. What brings you joy and keeps you motivated? Create a journal or take pictures that inspire you to maintain those goals.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Make it a goal to eat healthier, get more sleep at night and exercise more. Research shows that participating in group fitness classes can help you reduce the risk of heart disease, keep you mobile, improve your mental health and keep you accountable for your fitness goals.
A study published in the 2016 Journal of Obesity found overweight people tend to lose more weight if they spend time with their peers in a group class setting. Visit your local YMCA. Explore the types of group classes they offer.
Group fitness classes can help keep your mind sharp! You are learning, thinking, and becoming more coordinated.
Things are always more fun in a group! The social aspect of group exercise makes it easier to build relationships with others that have the same fitness goals.
Practice good hygiene. It is not only important for psychological reasons, but for social and medical reasons. Improving the way others view you and how you view yourself can boost your confidence.
If you have had bad times in the past, learning about your mental health and discovering ways to care for yourself and others can be a great way to help you cope.
Find ways to connect with family and friends. They are so important for self-care. Being around loving, positive people you trust can ease stress and anxiety.
Do something for yourself every day. Doing little things that you enjoy can boost your mood significantly. Read a book, watch your favorite TV show, listen to your favorite music. Rewarding yourself every day can put a smile on your face and keep you positive.
Find ways to relax. It can lower your blood pressure, relieve tension, and reduce your heart rate. You can learn how to meditate, take yoga classes, take a bath — the list goes on.
Connect with your community. Join an organization that inspires passion and connects with things you care about. Volunteer for community events. Join a local club. Find what creates joy and satisfaction.
Learning to care for yourself helps you in turn, care for others and help teach them how to care for themselves. Strengthening your connections helps develop resiliency with your mental and physical health.
Remember the four C’s:
- Connect with yourself
- Connect with others
- Connect to your community
- Create joy and satisfaction in your life
Remember, living with emotional/mental issues can be taxing. Following these guidelines can motivate you to a more fulfilling and happy year. You will become an expert on self-care and help others develop their own methods of caring.