Last week I read an article by Elizabeth Bernstein in The Wall Street Journal suggesting that to combat stress, negative emotions and exhaustion one needs to create a mental-fitness regime. Covid melancholy is real and there are ways we can feel better. Here is the advice excerpted from the article.
Make sleep nonnegotiable.
- Most adults need 7 – 8 hours of quality sleep. Set a consistent wake-up time, create a relaxing wind-down routine, turn down the thermostat, disconnect technology to minimize your exposure to distressing news and light.
Set a routine.
- Get up at the same time each day. Get dressed! Create a morning ritual. I drink 16 oz of water with lemon and then have my cup of coffee. It’s important to eat meals and exercise at set times. This helps create a sense of predictability in a world that feels out of control.
Calm your mind.
- A two minute breathing exercise, yoga, meditation all help take your mind off high alert.
Watch your language.
- The words we use color our outlook. Replace hot language with cooler language. “This is a challenge, but I can handle it.” not “I’m overwhelmed”.
- Self-compassionate people are happier, more optimistic, more motivated and more resilient. Don’t be mean to yourself. Talk to yourself the way you would to your best friend.
Move your body.
- Exercise reduces fatigue and tension and improves alertness, concentration, sleep, mood and self esteem.
Create a media diet.
- There’s too much negative news these days. Decide how much you will consume and stick with it. Purge negative people from your social media feed.
Choose extracurricular activities wisely.
- Pleasant activities that give you a sense of purpose and ones that make you feel accomplished improve mental health.
Cultivate supportive relationships.
- People with strong relationships are emotionally healthier.
- Especially for your loved ones. And let them know.