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January 5, 2022

Give yourself a break

Every day should be a mental health day

There’s been a lot of discussion about our collective mental health these days. Who knew a virus could cause so much distress and divisiveness? Maybe the citizens of 1918, but this is 2022. Despite all our modernity and technological achievements, a microscopic bug is wreaking havoc on our physical–and mental–wellbeing. It’s more than a little mind-bending. 

We’re all hyperaware of the measures we can take to protect our physical health. Wash, mask, vax and social distance. Check. But what can we do to keep our sanity? 

Here’s a short list of what to do when you’re feeling anxious or blue in the age of COVID–and beyond. 

1. Laugh it off. They say laughter is the best medicine. Like all clichés, we repeat it for the truth it holds. Of course, you can’t just push the laugh button, but thankfully we have a lot of other options at our fingertips. Queue up a standup on Netflix, play a goofy board game–heck, even Tik Tok is good for a chuckle or two. 

2. Take a hike. Around the neighborhood, at the park–it doesn’t matter. Walking has two benefits. First, exercise is good for ya. Second, research has shown over and over again that being out in nature increases energy levels, reduces depression and boosts wellbeing. Plus, you get bonus points for social distancing.

3. Give yourself a high five. It takes a little work. Maybe even a little risk. But trying something new–a recipe, an online class, a book on quantum physics, an instrument–you get the picture–can boost your self-esteem and take your mind to a constructive place.

4. Color your world. Ok, ok, this one seems like a stretch, but anyone who has kids knows it’s hard to resist a box of crayons/markers/colored pencils and a coloring book. There’s something satisfying about filling a void with colors of your choosing. Not an inside-the-lines kind of person? Grab a blank piece of paper and start drawing. Just trust us on this one. 

5. Show some gratitude. We don’t know where we’re headed. But we know where we’ve been. Rather than rubbing your crystal ball like a worrying stone, try looking back with a focus on what’s gone right–the things that have made you happy. Gratitude works wonders on your headspace, providing a kind of solid solid support for wherever you’re headed next. Experts recommend keeping a journal, listing 3 things you’re grateful for each day.

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