Even without the current COVID-19 pandemic and resulting quarantine I have days, weeks, and sometimes months that are a struggle from a mental health perspective. I talk to a therapist (at times more than one) who usually gets me back on track by returning to a few basic things. Here’s what works for me. Maybe one or all three of these things will work for you too.
This isn’t the kind of “Dear Diary” journal that you might be thinking of. It’s just a notebook (unlined paper) in which I write my goals for the day, my goals for the month, and three affirmations that I repeat until the page is filled. That’s it. It sets my mind in a good place to tackle the day. I try to do this before my kids get up and before I turn on my computer or phone.
Limit Social Media
Even before I read Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism I knew that social media wasn’t good for my mind most of the time. It’s a lie to say, “I’ll just check Facebook for a minute.” I use a Chrome extension called Stay Focusd (intentionally misspelled) to limit my time on Twitter and Facebook to ten minutes per day.
I’ve also started unfollowing and or hiding accounts that aren’t enjoyable to follow. For example, I’ve unfollowed or hidden the accounts of “friends” and connections that post endless political memes and statements. I can read the news when I want to by going to trusted sources.
Exercise With Purpose
Until it got postponed, I was training for the Dirty Kanza 200 on a structured plan. The new dates didn’t work for me so I’m now going to do it next year. For a couple of weeks I struggled to exercise without a goal. I was going for rides but they didn’t have that intensity that I needed. So I started a new training program and have a new goal for later this summer. The structure of adhering to plan not only gets me on the bike on days when “I’m not feeling it” it also provides an extra strange bit of fun for me.
What Works for You?
Do you have a few core things that you do to maintain your mental health? I’d love to hear what works for other people. Leave a comment or send me an email.