My life has become so busy that I find myself not having the time to take good care of myself. I do the basics in terms of diet, healthcare, and exercise but I still find myself feeling overwhelmed. Life feels like it is flying by at warp speed during this pandemic. I have a good support system that I utilize often but I still feel overwhelmed. Is there anything else I can do to lessen the burden I feel?
The pandemic has certainly left a cloud of added stress on all of us and everything we do. Even when we do something enjoyable, we are aware of an invisible enemy out there and constantly questioning whether we are safe. I commend you for taking good care of your body and utilizing your support system. However, what are you doing for your mental health? Mental health prevention is something that is often overlooked. We make sure to shower daily, brush our teeth twice a day and take our vitamins but we often only pay attention to our mental health when it becomes a problem. I encourage you to take 5-15 minutes a day to be quiet and focus on your mental health. If possible, go outside in the sun or find a quiet place free of distractions to be still and focus on any thoughts or feelings you might have. Notice if they are about daily tasks or bigger worries. Just notice them and then put them aside. There are many ways to do this but a few of my favorites are to “swipe” them away (like a phone) or visualize putting them on a shelf. It may take a few tries, but the goal is to keep them at bay for your 5-15 minutes. Then pay attention to your body. Do you feel tension anywhere? Notice if your breathing is shallow or deep. Try to control your breath by breathing deeply and letting the tension out of your body as you try to relax your muscles. Let yourself just be during this time as a check in with your mental health. This exercise can become as routine as brushing your teeth if you make it a priority. Our mental health is as important as any other body part. Look at it as taking a moment for yourself to get off the merry go round of life for a mental break. If you continue to feel overwhelmed or have any new concerns, you may want to speak with a licensed therapist to help you explore possible ways to reduce your stress and gain positive coping skills.
You might also want to consider adding a ribbon to the JFS Mental Health Matters art display at the JCC. It can also be a great way to release thoughts or feelings that might be weighing you down. I added my own two ribbons to the display, and it felt liberating to walk away from the art while my leaving my troubles behind.