Introductory blog - Alyssa Attrill
None of us anticipated 2020 to turn into the turbulent year it has become and by this point, you may feel overwhelmed from all the events that have shaped the last 6 months. Our team at For The Ones wants to remind everyone that it’s okay if you’re not really feeling yourself right now. Remember you are not alone and there are people and resources to help! You might be looking for some new ways to get back on track and we’ve created a list of some mental health and wellness activities that can help you continue to discover yourself, cope and heal during these times. Despite social distancing, there are still ways to practice self care and safely connect with the people in your community so we can all become closer than ever.
If you have an old notebook lying around from that class you dropped, you want an excuse to go buy something new or you just use scrap paper, journaling can be one of the most personal and helpful things you do for yourself right now. This doesn’t mean you have to sit down every night and write in a glittery gel pen “Dear Diary…”, journaling can be a 5 minute brain dump on your phone’s notepad or sitting down and writing three things you’re grateful for before bed. If you’re not sure where to begin, you can Google some “journal prompts” to help you think of questions you’ve never thought of before. When was the last time you wrote down your favourite thing about yourself or where you want to live in 5 years? You’re living during some wild times, whether you write down memories to look back on later, or to help your brain roll with the punches that come your way- you wont regret taking some time to flush your thoughts out!
Control and Utilize your Feeds
A lot of us have been super-glued to our phones more than usual. Your social media feeds are your newspaper, your library, your contacts and your reference guide. Now is the perfect time to make sure the things flooding your feeds, are things you actually need to be seeing. Social media is one of the biggest influences on our mood, the information we are seeing and the people we are letting into our mental space. If you find yourself exhausted after putting down your phone, try to figure out what things aren’t vibing with you and create boundaries about who you’re receiving content from. Fake influencers, ignorant people and your ex that you had a bad falling out with aren’t what’s best for you. Take some time to transform your feeds so they invigorate you, and reflect the person you want to be. Now, this doesn’t mean you should delete every person who has disagreed with you, but if there are pages or people who continually make you feel uncomfortable- make those accounts sashay away! Try finding new sustainable clothing brands, talented artists, life coaches or positivity pages to follow instead. Make sure your phone remains a tool for connection, and not a trap for negativity. *Tip: You don’t have to fully delete people, you can“mute” or “unfollow” them so their content is just hidden.
After months of online interaction, video calls and texting might have lost their novelty. Loneliness can still feel very real even when your inboxes are full, and whether you’re back to your regular routines or still distancing at home it’s important to connect with your community. Take some time to write a letter to your grandparent, or residents at a local seniors home and make some new cross-generational friendships! If you have a business in your community who’s going above and beyond, or a neighbour who has been extra overwhelmed send them something small to remind them how much you appreciate them. Maybe you found a poem that reminds you of a coworker you miss, or you drove by an old hangout that made you think of your childhood friend. Reach out to those people, even if it’s just to say “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you lately. Hope you’re well.” During global emergencies, the smallest acts that show you’re there for people can benefit you and others more than expected. Connect with charities in your community that speak to you and see what you can do to help. Whether it’s donating, spreading awareness or volunteering you can always be part of something bigger.
Food is more than just about nutrition as we often associate it with our social lives! If things are feeling a little weird since you haven’t been able to hit up Sunday brunch with the lads, try exploring ways to bring excitement back into your meals. Find a new ingredient or experiment with your weekly meal prep. Ask your friends about their favourite crazy snack combos to try with your Netflix night. You can play jazz, or find a coffee shop playlist while you enjoy your lunch. Find foods that make you feel something. Does smelling fresh citrus in the morning wake you up when you have oranges? Or maybe finishing off your dinner with a piece of dark chocolate really satisfies you. You can even change where you eat- try your patio or a socially distanced park picnic and get some vitamin D. This could be the time to master your mom’s famous spaghetti recipe, or turn your balcony into a French restaurant for the evening by adding some lights and a tablecloth. If you’re not much of a cook, try a DIY meal delivery from your favourite local restaurant or a boxed meal service free trial with instructions included!
Learn and Relearn
We all have some skills we used to have mastered that have gotten a little rusty, now is the great time to pick up that old trumpet or remaster your three point shot down at the outdoor court by your house. There could be something new you’ve always wanted to explore but never had time for like horticulture or darts. There are tons of discounted online courses being offered, or check out local businesses that are offering online classes you can tune into from home. YouTube has tons of things you can learn in a day- like how to open a bottle with a piece of paper, imagine showing off that party trick! Learning can be integrated into your day, simply replace rewatching that sitcom with a new documentary or instead of skimming through Twitter again go find that article your friend shared about tax tips and actually read it. Whether you use an app to learn a new word a day, or take an hour to practice walking on your hands, your future self will appreciate it!
Find Ways to Revamp Your Old Routines
If you’re missing a certain part of your pre-quarantine routine, try finding ways to add it back in with some revamping! Replace that Wednesday morning latte at the cafe with a homemade one your friend who’s a barista taught you how to make! If you’re missing activities that involve certain people like soccer practice, try scheduling a safer weekly activity you can all do together to keep up with each other.
Replace Events You’ve Missed, Don’t Just Ignore Them
A lot of things have been cancelled, and it’s important you allow yourself to be a little, or even a lot disappointed about the things you’ve missed! Didn’t get to take that trip to Hawaii? Ask your friends if they would like to spend a day safely enjoying a socially distanced beach day. If someone postponed a wedding or had their graduation cancelled, send them the card you bought for the big event anyway to let them know you’re excited to celebrate with them when you can. Replace that big conference with a relaxing weekend camping trip with a loved one. If you really need to, give yourself a scheduled time to let yourself be sad. It can be an hour to vent to a friend or taking the evening to reflect on how much you really wanted to be at the hospital when your nephew was born. If you set a time to feel your emotions you will be less likely to have negative thoughts interrupting you throughout the day while still giving yourself the time you need to.
Yes, we know. People keep telling you to get off the couch without giving you many suggestions on how to get yourself motivated. If your physical activity for the week used to look more like dancing at your favourite live show or running between meetings at work then you might feel a little lost on how to get moving right now. “Commercial Cleaning” can be a good way to get some things done while enjoying your favourite talk show. Take those 5 minute commercials, or the break at the end of a Netflix show to wipe down the coffee table or take some glasses to the kitchen sink. 5 minute cleaning spurts can get you moving while tidying up your space, this helps your head feel less cluttered too. If you and your pet have been stuck in a cuddle puddle, try grabbing their favourite toy and playing together. You’ll both appreciate the entertainment! You can also ask one of your friends to FaceTime while you watch the same workout video together, or dance even to just one song like nobody is watching.
Take Notice of How You Talk to Yourself
People have been letting others know they appreciate them. From taking extra time to tell your kids that you love them on the phone or coming together to cheer for essential workers- people have been spreading the love. At the same time many of us have had more time with our own thoughts and this might be particularly difficult for some. Use this ‘quieter time’ in life to really take notice of how you talk to yourself on a daily basis. Are you forgiving when you mess up like you are to others? Do you tell yourself how awesome you are in the mirror everyday like you always remind your friend they look fantastic in their photos? Do you give yourself the same compassion you show others? This can be one of the most important steps in feeling ourselves again. Our brains like to choose the path of least resistance, if you have been telling yourself a certain negative thing enough your brain might just start saying it back to you because that’s what it hears most. You have over 10,000 thoughts a day- make sure your inner dialogue cheers you on. You can even try writing them down and sharing them with a trusted loved one or therapist. It can be helpful to have another person remind you that the things you may see aren’t even close to the amazing things others see in you!
Make Mental Health a Daily Conversation
Mental health is the same thing as quality of life, you can’t have one without the other. Mental health also isn’t something we can only talk about on awareness days and then expect people to reach out when they really need it. We have to make mental health conversations part of our daily dialogue, especially now. Practice asking yourself and your loved ones genuinely “How are you doing today?”, and learn to actively listen to what people say. Most people were never taught how to communicate feelings, and it takes practice. For the Ones believes that opening up the mental health conversation needs to happen everyday with every person in order to truly end stigma and create supportive communities. Check on yourself and check on your mates, we are all in this together!
We know there aren’t any magic techniques to fix everything that might be going on right now during this global emergency, but we hope you found something new in this article to add to your wellness routine. Most importantly though, we want to gently remind everyone that you are not alone, you are always worthy of love, and there are people who want to support you even when things feel really rough. The things on this list might help you feel more yourself, but if you are really struggling For the Ones highly encourages reaching out to your support networks and professionals. We always include a list of resources at the end of every blog post so you know exactly where to go if you need it. Remember, to always Keep Going and if you found something helpful here today, we hope you share it with a friend.