Despite it being the middle of April, this is the second time in a week where I look outside and see snow falling from the sky. At least today, it’s sunny. Still, it feels like just one little extra thing on top of a pile of things I could do without.
Honestly, I am so over COVID-19.
Chances are, the majority of us are all feeling this way. While some may be handling this whole situation just fine, for many others, it’s been quite a taxing ordeal. Sure, social distancing is 100% necessary. In some places, it’s even starting to provide a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still suck sometimes.
Whether you’re still working, or you’re stuck at home with little ones or little to do, if this pandemic has been having a negative effect on your mental health, this article is for you. Your mental health matters, and so it’s important to try and take care of it!
So, here’s a list of some recommendations we have to help nourish and support your mental health during this COVID-19 crisis (or any time, really). While we’re by no means medical experts, we’re hopeful that at least one of these tips may resonate with you!
Tip #1: Get some fresh air
Fresh air is food for the soul, and this is a proven fact. Here are just a few reasons why going outside for as little as 20 minutes a day is so good for you:
- It can drastically increase your physical and mental energy.
- It boosts your immune system.
- Just the smell of fresh air can decrease stress levels.
- Clean, fresh oxygen to your brain means more brain power!
- It’ll give you those 10 micro-grams (mcg) of Vitamin D that all adults should get per day.
There have even been studies to show that simply looking at the color green sparks feelings of serenity, comfort, excitement, and a sense of peace! Now I want to go hug some trees.
Note: That being said, if you’re in a hard-hit area, you might be under a strict stay-at-home order that prohibits going outside for any non-essential reason. If this the case where you live, please follow these directives. They’ve been put in place to keep you safe. Don’t be like that one guy in Spain who dressed as a T-Rex in order to go for a walk, and wound up getting arrested!
Tip #2: Get some exercise
Ugh, exercise. Just the word makes me feel tired. I’m one of those people who has recurring daydreams of living the fit and healthy lifestyle. In my ideal world, I’d eat the perfect nutritional foods and actually enjoy working out every day.
I hope to some day eventually. So far, though, I’ve struggled a bit with yo-yoing back and forth between fitness and molding blissfully into my couch.
If you’re big into exercise, you’ve probably already found awesome ways to work out strictly from home. If you’re not so much into the whole fitness thing, you may need a bit of a gentle nudge.
In my experience, exercise can sometimes be difficult at first. But the more you do it, the easier it gets. It’ll start to feel more natural, and even become enjoyable. It doesn’t even need to be all that complicated, either!
From push-ups, to sit-ups, to jumping jacks – there are plenty of ways you can work out from home without needing any equipment. Or, if you’d prefer, you can simply go for a short walk every day, and leave it at that.
You don’t need to go crazy with it, if you don’t want to! Even pushing yourself just the tiniest bit to get active for as little as 20 minutes per day will make ALL the difference for your mind and body!
Note: That being said, don’t take on more than you know you can handle and push yourself beyond your limits. This could lead to physical injury, or even worsen your psychological state. That would be counterproductive to what we’re trying to do!
Tip #3: Work on a home project – just for YOU!
Take on a design goal WITHOUT the pressures of clients, grades, or your business reputation. If nothing else, it’ll help focus your mind, allow you to get creative, and remind you why you love this industry so much!
Here are some ideas for fun projects you can try:
- Add some Feng Shui to your home through the use of colors, spacing, and décor. Feng Shui is said to help maximize the flow of positive, healthy energy. Not to mention, it promotes tranquility!
- Pick one area of your home, and try to find a new, more practical way to organize
- If you want to go one step further, you can also try to color coordinate it as well!
- Choose a room you spend a lot of time in, and then give it a makeover! This can be as simple as rearranging the furniture, to switch up the feel of the space.
- Add some greenery! Whether it’s a potted plant or some flowers, bringing a piece of nature into your home will absolutely help support your mental health! Here’s a list by Tonkadale of some of the best plants that can help boost your mood.
- Pick a room that you’d LOVE to repaint once the pandemic is over, and then start researching and planning out your game plan. Not only will this keep you busy right now, it’ll give you a future home project to also look forward to!
- Build the single greatest blanket/pillow fort ever made. For added awesomeness, set up a cozy lounging spot within it and have a movie night!
Pro tip: Involve your family or roommates in these tasks! They can help you grow as a home designer!
Tip #4: Stay connected with loved ones – but make sure to disconnect from your phone, too!
This recommendation is two-fold. Firstly, it’s important while social distancing to make sure that you stay in touch with loved ones. Like you, they’re probably also feeling a little lonely these days, and would appreciate the (virtual) company!
Texting and chatting over the phone are great ways of keeping in contact with friends and family. But don’t underestimate the power that video chatting also has!
Even if you video chat just one person every couple of days, for even a few minutes, it can help you feel a little less isolated from the world.
That being said…
It’s just as important that you remember to unplug from your electronics every once in a while, too. Being hooked on your phone, or staring at your television screen for too long can actually increase feelings of loneliness. This is a sure-fire way to bring down your mood, during an already difficult time.
So, try to make a point to turn off the electronics for at least half an hour each day. (If you feel you can go longer, then this is great!) Use this time to instead do something that stimulates your mind, keeps your hands busy, etc.
Here are some ideas:
- Read a book
- Write in a journal
- Do a puzzle
- Play a board-game
- Break out a deck of cards
- Find a recipe, and try to bake/cook it
- Try out a new hobby (that you can obviously do from home) that you’ve always wanted to take up
- Play a musical instrument
- Put on some music and have a living room dance party
- Spend some time cuddling your pets (if you have one)
There are tons more things you can do, but for the sake of space, this should at least be able to get you started!
Tip #5: Turn your dreams into reality
If you love home design, why not take the steps towards turning it into an actual career? Getting paid to do what you’re passionate about? That’s the dream!
In-person classes may not be a safe option (or even an option at all) at the moment, but this doesn’t mean you can’t still get your education! Online design schools allow you to study where YOU are, entirely at your own schedule.
With professional training by leading industry experts, you could learn:
- Interior Decorating
- Professional Organizing
- Home Staging
- Color Consulting
- Feng Shui Design
- Aging in Place Design
- And so much more!
By simply devoting as little as 1-2 hours per week on your studies, you could earn your professional certification in as little as 3-6 months. For most schedules, this is more than doable! This means that by the time everything returns to normal, you’ll be ready and prepared to hit the ground running, and start working!
Learn more here about how you can maximize your time at home right now by earning your professional Design certification!
No matter what you’re doing to keep your spirits up, just remember: you matter, your mental health matters, and we are here for you. It’s so true what everyone’s been saying lately: “we’re all in this together”. With time, this will pass, and life will go back to normal.
Until then, never forget that the sun is always still there – even when it’s behind the clouds. 😊
What are some of the ways YOU’VE been supporting your mental health lately? Let us know in the comments!