Do you feel down, stressed, gloomy? You are certainly not the only one. The corona crisis and the winter blues are having a significant negative impact on our mental health. Research shows lockdown to drive depression, stress and sadness. Below are a number of tips against these sad and stressful feelings.
We have been denied a lot and it is tempting to focus on everything that is no longer allowed or possible, but does that make you happier? The answer is no. Try to turn your thoughts around and think about everything you still have and everything that is still possible. No matter how small or simple it is. Write down three things you are grateful for every morning or evening, it really works to become more grateful! Regardless of the situation, there is always something to be thankful for. Keep working on your mindset.
2. Go outside
Most likely you work from home so you probably will not have to leave the house. When it is also cold and dark outside, it is tempting to stay inside, but try to get some fresh air every day. Get out of the house, on the move and get some oxygen!
Walking, running, cycling, dancing, jumping, stretching, climbing stairs, climbing, lifting ... Whatever it is, get moving. Get that heart rate up and make yourself sweat. During physical exertion you produce endorphins (happiness hormone) and that works perfectly against stress. For example, it also prevents cortisol (stress hormone) from being produced.
4. Have fun
No matter how serious, annoying or hopeless a situation may be, make room for fun. Have a joke with friends or put on a comedy or cabaret show. Laughter releases endorphins and your body produces serotonin and dopamine, which act as antidepressants. Also do something fun regularly. You are the only one who can make your life fun, nobody is going to do it for you. Leave everything for what it is and do what makes you happy. Replace the word 'must' with 'I want to' and you will soon find out what can be removed from your to do list, making room for what makes you happy.
5. Eating healthy
With everything you put into your mouth you may ask yourself: does this contribute to my health or not? Unprocessed and nutritious food, little sugar and alcohol, lots of fiber and sufficient fats and proteins help with healthy gut and this in turn ensures a better state of mind through the connection between the gut and brain. Eating healthy also helps to have more energy and that is also important for feeling good about yourself.
We work at home, eat at home, relax at home, sleep at home, live at home ... there is no work-life balance and all days are alike. Humans go bad on a rut and thrive on structure, so make sure you delineate spaces and moments. More selfcare tips when working from home you'll find here.
It is well known that meditation has a positive effect on health. It helps against stress but also with depressive feelings. How? Through meditation you learn to view your thoughts from a distance and not directly identify with them. Your thoughts determine your feelings and by meditating regularly you become more and more aware of this. Are you new to meditation? You can now find the Headspace Guide to Meditation on Netflix.
Do not hide your feelings but talk about them with your loved ones, colleagues or professionals such as a coach or therapist. It is important not to suppress negative feelings, but to acknowledge and give space. It is also easier to let them go and there is a good chance that you will feel better after you have expressed yourself. You are only human so it is perfectly fine to experience sad feelings. Please don't be so hard on yourself. Judging yourself doesn't make it any better.