How has your mental health been affected over the past year? Life as we know it has been completely turned upside down. Tragic loss, political and social turmoil, economic and financial stress, and the list goes on. It’s overwhelming, and it’s okay to be struggling. What have you been doing to take care of your mental health? Since the pandemic began, one third of Americans have shown signs of clinical depression and anxiety. It is important to acknowledge these negative emotions that you may be experiencing, but it is also essential to be kind to yourself and discover new ways to cope with these emotions. If you’re feeling burnt out, fatigued, or overall depressed mood, here are some helpful tips and ideas to help improve your headspace.

  1. Self-care

Self-care is any action you might take to improve or maintain your emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. Some ideas are engaging in a hobby that you enjoy, exercising, setting healthy boundaries, engaging in positive relationships, journaling, prayer or meditation, receiving counseling, and my personal favorite: taking a bubble bath.

  1. Find a new hobby

Doing activities you enjoy will reduce stress, increase creativity, and improve mood for up to 24 hours after completing the enjoyed activity. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

  1. Stick to a schedule

Research shows that by having a repetitive routine, situations will begin to feel more controllable and predictable. Having a schedule will prevent unnecessary stress and anxiety about making small daily decisions. You might not be able to control the spread, but you can control what your daily schedule will be.

  1. Exercise

Exercise has many benefits, such as weight management, immune support, promoting sleep, and preventing heart disease. In addition to the physical benefits, exercise can also help improve concentration, increase energy level, boost overall mood, and put a spark back into your sex life.

  1. Eating habits

Serotonin is a key hormone in stabilizing our mood and controlling feelings of happiness and well-being. Serotonin is also involved in sleep and digestion. 95% of serotonin can be found in our gut bacteria which is why it is imperative to maintain a healthy balance of probiotics, whole grains, and healthy fats.

By, Victoria Reid, BA, Intern