During the height of the quarantine a guy friend of mine would text me: How is your heart? It seemed an odd question to receive via text but something that I genuinely loved and needed. Even more than the Houseparty calls my girlfriends and I hosted every weekend. His weekly inquiry about my health sat with me during the quarantine and still does today.
Somewhat post COVID-19 and the aftermath of the peaceful protests and controversial topics circling 2020, I can’t help but wonder how everyone is holding up. How are your hearts? It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves when we are dealing with difficult times, but this uncertainty has caused a global panic for all.
Which made me realize if someone hasn’t already told you that you are doing a great job, I want to be the first to tell you that you are. Sometimes showing up responsibly for someone else and supporting others helps with their mental health and our own. The lockdown has eased in many places, and the return of normalcy is starting to resume, but for some of us our lifestyles have changed drastically.
Now is the time to focus more on our wellness and less on worrying. It’s a time to declutter and reflect. Our new normal may never look the same as it did five months ago, but we can still find peace, mindfulness and healthy practices. While there is no substitute for some of our day-to-days, there are positive ways to readjust our lifestyles moving forward.
Mental health stems from a number of things including diet, exercise, lifestyle, etc. Without a healthy balance we can quickly teeter between stable and unstable moods. It is so important to spend at least 30 minutes to one hour daily outdoors in fresh air and sunshine. It is also vital to the longevity of our lives and mental health to workout. If you are anything like me you’ve learned that recreational hobbies like a gym are not necessary. Now you can cutback on the cost of a gym membership by running outdoors, hiking, practicing yoga at home and doing more YouTube HIIT training classes, etc. With a growing number of live workout streams and online classes offered there really is no excuse not to workout.
Now is not the time to slap a figurative bandaid on, or pass over something uncomfortable. It’s the time to address it and move forward. Addressing feelings of loneliness or being alone after a period of time that many of us were quarantined solo. The feeling of loneliness can be something our minds create from weakness or fear. However, if we must learn to accept ourselves, our new normals, and what we desire internally for longterm happiness. It sounds difficult but the hardest part is actually doing the work and spending time getting serious about what you want and what’s next.
Practices like meditations, being mindful, taking time for your hobbies and focusing on work can be a great escape. A way to break away from loneliness and look within. The more we focus on moving forward and creating the life we want, the healthier our mental health will be. Once we can visualize the future it’s easier to work toward that vision and move forward.
Moving forward is never easy especially after a difficult year of many changes. But with enough self-growth and self-awareness it is possible to start over. Don’t be too hard on yourself during this next phase. Take it in strides by creating healthy habits. All good things take time and require a little work. Allow yourself the time to work on you and move at your own pace. Just make sure to check in with yourself to see how your heart is doing from time-to-time.
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