There is no doubt that we are in uncharted territory. The question is, how do we navigate it? We sat down with Licensed Professional Counselor, Joe Wittmeier, to get his advice on how to handle these times of uncertainty. Here are five tips he gave us to maintain control over our mental health.
Take the middle path.
It is important that we don't blow the situation out of proportion, but at the same time, we don't need to under estimate its impact. Using good and careful judgment will be key in navigating this situation. So what does that really mean? Joe suggests, be prudent, but don't be paranoid.
Filter the noise.
This one is going to be the hardest one for all of us, but in the end, it will most likely be the most beneficial. Turn OFF the news and social media. I was reading an article about a family who had caught the virus and they asked the wife what she did to recover. She said, "We shuttered the windows, turned off the internet, and stayed strong and in good spirits."
Now, before you quit reading this blog, he is not saying turn it off completely, but he is suggesting that we limit ourselves to 10 minutes a day, preferably at the end of the day, to get caught up on the news.
Don't listen to too much information.
Learn something new.
Put your time to good use. Allow your brain to focus on a new hobby or interest. Have you always wanted to try something but haven't had the opportunity because life got in the way? Now is your time!
Do a yoga class on Youtube. Read a book that has been sitting on your side table collecting dust for months. Teach yourself how to knit. Try new recipes. Bake some fresh bread. You never know what you may discover when you accept the change and start exploring new opportunities.
There is no doubt that we can all benefit from a deep breath or two; especially now that we are spending more time at home than ever before. We need to slow down our bodies and mind, and we can do this by focusing on our breathing. There are many physical and emotional benefits to breath meditation. Not only does it reduce stress, but it also helps improve immunity, increase energy, and reduce depression.
If you are wanting to follow a guided meditation, Joe recommends the app Headspace.
A few minutes could change your whole day.
Like deep breathing, gratitude also improves physical and psychological health. Gratitude reduces toxic emotions and it effectively increases happiness. It can also help with your sleep! Spend 15 minutes journaling what you are grateful at the end of the day, and you may sleep better and longer.
Don't live in the "what if"; focus on the "what now."
All we have to decide is what to do with the time given us.
— J.R.R. Tolkien