As many people have adjusted to wearing face masks, working from home, and social distancing, there has been a lot (a really lot) of information on how to keep ourselves and our environments clean and safe. However, there has not been enough discussion on the topic of how all of this is affecting our mental health. Sure, we know this is hard. But are we taking a good, long hard look at what these extreme changes are doing to our mental health? And then, what are we doing about it?
We watch the news and ingest stories of people raging at each other and pulling knives and guns out over masks or other seemingly minor issues. “People are losing their minds.” “It’s so hard to know how to feel about all of this.”
We say these things about other people, but are you checking in with yourself? Sleeping normally? Eating normally? Crying more? Fatigued? Sad?
This article addresses three things you can do today to help you feel relaxed and more balanced. If you have been experiencing prolonged depression or suicidal thoughts, please contact a doctor or therapist for additional help.
How is your mental health?
It is ok, and perfectly normal, to feel these things. What isn’t ok is not addressing this added stress to our mental health and not doing something to help with it. It is also really important that we are checking in with our family members and friends. Kids are particularly susceptible to depression as school districts and colleges and universities are still so up in the air about what they are going to be offering.
Things you can do right now to boost your mental health
Are you the type of person who recognizes stress first in your emotions (state of mind) or your physical body? For some, the shoulders get tight, headache sets in, and then fatigue creeps in quietly and steals our peace. For others, we get weepy, emotional, or mad.
Related: Can Massage Help With Fatigue?
Regardless of how you first recognize stress , the key is to know your warning signs and attend to them as soon as they happen. Recognizing them in others, especially those close to you, is important too. Sometimes it is easier for others to see it for us. “You have been looking really tired.” “Are you ok, you seemed really down.”
One of the first things to manage when addressing mental issues is stress. Stress makes everything harder so managing your stress will help you better be able to handle what life throws at you. Here are some things that can really help:
A professional massage from a licensed Massage therapist or self-massage techniques at home can provide immediate relief from stress and mental health anxiety. Massage minimizes anxiety and restlessness, improves sleep quality and creates an overall feeling of well-being.
Aromatherapy and diffusing certain smells can also instantly calm the mind and improve your mood. This works really will with children and teenagers. If your kids have been emotional, stressed, overtired, or sad, running a diffuser in either their bedroom or a centrally located spot in the can help the whole family. Some essential oils and blends that are good for improving mental health and reducing stress and anxiety include:
- rose otto
There are a lot of synthetic and impure essential oils on the market. Since you inhale them, it is important to read the labels and make sure there a no harmful chemicals and additives in the essential oils that you use. Young Living and Doterra are two brand that are trusted and used by many massage therapists and aromatherapy experts.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
In a world that is in constant turmoil and throwing 24-hour news cycles at us constantly, it is important to find time regularly to calm our minds and bodies. Guided meditation and deep breathing are two ways to still our minds and reconnect with our bodies. It is like a reset button for ourselves. A daily meditation practice, even if done for only 5 minutes, can really help our mood and reduce tension.
Some people find meditation intimidating at first or aren’t sure exactly how to do it. While there are lots of ways meditate, you can apps and audio recordings to help you get started. However, simply sitting quietly for a few minutes and concentrating on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth can reset your mood too. Sometimes the simple things are what work the best.
No matter what you do to support you mental health and check in with yourself and your loved ones, please remember that our mental well-being is just as important as our physical health. Even if we are wearing a mask, sanitizing our hands, practicing social distancing, and boosting our immune system, if you are ignoring your mental health, it will affect you physically as well. You need both physical and mental health for a happy, balanced life.
All Body Kneads is here to help. We offer many healthy services and even have discounts for qualifying clients through our non-profit Mid-Michigan Massage Therapy Institute. Click here to see if you qualify.
Be well. Stay Safe.