It’s hard for many to believe that it has been nearly an entire year since the start of the global pandemic. On the top of many people’s minds when the clock struck midnight on New Years’ Eve is whether this year will be as bleak as the last. The combination of social distancing measures and overall economic and social changes brought by the pandemic has created a whirlwind of emotions for just about everyone. How can we better tackle the uncertainties of 2021? What are some ways we can better prepare ourselves mentally? I found that having a self-care routine has vastly improved my mental and physical health. It has created a sense of resiliency that will be valuable for my personal growth. The resilience mindset is a habit or lifestyle rather than an isolated event. Reinforcing positive self-care habits will go a long way regardless of where the pandemic takes us. So for me, here are five habits that that have helped me through 2020, and will into 2021.
- Journaling: one of the best ways to mentally detox is to jot your intimate thoughts on paper. Regardless of whether you are a writer or not, the physical act of putting pen to paper opens up our thoughts, hopes and fears. Even a short, ten-minute journaling session can reduce stress and improve your mood.
- Meditate: While many sources refer to meditation as an excellent distressing tool, few blog posts share exactly how we can learn to meditate. I found that meditation is an art rather than an agenda item. Because it takes months and years to perfect this art, we become more mentally resilient over time. Starting with just a few minutes a day with apps like HeadSpace can go a long way. I found that since starting a meditation routine before bed, I have drastically improved my sleep routine.
- Ten-minute workout routine: One of the most challenging goals I set for myself during 2020 was maintaining my physical health. Sadly, when our mental health takes a toll it can also impact our motivation levels to stay active. Ironically, working out also improves our mental health. I’ve often found the biggest hurdle was the thought of a long, dedicated workout. However, taking small steps with ten-minute cardio sessions will trick our brains into starting the activity rather than putting it off.
- Bubble baths: If you think you’re too old for bubble baths, think again! After consulting older peers working in highly stressful environments, one secret I’ve learned from their lifestyle is taking more regular bubble baths. In fact, visual cues (such as bubbles) that encourage us to turn off our working mind and turn on our relaxation mind acts as a physical cue to rest and relax.
- Eat a homemade breakfast: Starting the day on the right foot means treating ourselves in small ways such as making a hearty breakfast. This doesn’t always mean a complex, gourmet meal that takes hours of preparation. In fact, something as simple as an egg omelet or breakfast sausage with pancakes can drastically improve our mood and motivate us to check more off the to-do list.