Staying physically and mentally healthy can be difficult, whether we are battling a full schedule, trying to balance work and personal life, or just trying to keep up with obligations while maintaining self-care. Here are 5 ways to stay mentally healthy without stepping outside of your home.
Connect with others
According to the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity, strengthens your immune system, helps you recover from disease faster, and may even lengthen your life. Due to technology, staying at home does not mean that you can’t connect with others. Hop on a phone call or schedule a video chat with your family. Although you might be missing the hugs and close interactions, exchanging ideas, emotions, and stories with others will give your mental health a boost when you’re missing family dinners and work happy hours. While it might seem awkward to sit in front of a screen, it will become more comfortable the more often you do it, and it’s better than not seeing your family’s faces at all.
Find stress relief
The Mayo Clinic states that connecting with others is one of their top recommendations to combat feelings of stress and anxiety. Stress can wreak all kinds of havoc on your mind and body and can present itself as a headache, muscle or chest pain, fatigue, sleep issues, or an upset stomach. Chronic and long-term stress can lead to more serious complications such as depression, heart disease, digestive problems, weight gain, and a weakened immune system.
Finding relief from stress is essential to being healthy, especially when we don’t have the control to eliminate the stress all together. Consider doing an exercise class online, reading, meditating, baking, writing, or painting. The positive aspect is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to stress relief, which means that you can choose the activity that best fits your mental health picture.
A Forbes article states that “research has confirmed that having a purpose outside yourself is good not only for your mental health, it’s also good for your physical health, longevity and even your genes.” Other studies have shown that giving back can help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, improve heart health, prevent cognitive issues, and lengthen your life. You don’t have to be out in the community to feel like you’re giving back to others. If you’re stuck at home, get creative about ways that you can contribute. Call an elderly neighbor and check on them, send a package of supplies to those who need it, do a random act of kindness, or spread an organization’s mission through your social channels. Doing good for others will ultimately be doing good for yourself.
Although it may seem like there isn’t any time left in the day, prioritizing even 30 minutes per day to learning something new can do wonders for your mental health. Learning something new can increase self-esteem, improve cognitive function, decrease your chances of dementia, and simply take your mind off of any stressors. Although learning a new language has been highlighted again and again as beneficial to your mental health, acquiring knowledge about something new can range from a new skill set to attempting a new goal. Try something different that is outside of your comfort zone and beyond your current experience. Whether it’s learning a new program that will enhance your work efficiencies or teaching your left-brained self to paint or sculpt, challenging yourself will allow your mind to stay healthy.
It can be easy to get caught up in the news and it’s a slippery slope when we start thinking about the uncertainty of the future. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, is quoted saying, “Do not lose yourself in the past. Do not lose yourself in the future. Do not get caught in your anger, worries, or fears. Come back to the present moment and touch life deeply. This is mindfulness.” Mindfulness is the act of being aware of and focused on the present moment and it can be beneficial to your mental health. Focusing on today can reduce stress and emotional reactivity, enhance focus, improve cognitive abilities, and boost memory. Be present at the dinner table and let your mind focus on the wonders of the day. When you begin to choose your thoughts, you can begin to see an improved mental state.
Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to be the healthiest version of yourself. Stay well and practice these ways of remaining mentally healthy while staying at home. Take time to experiment and figure out what makes your mind feel the best on the worst of days.
At Orbis Biosciences, we are proud of the ways our community is stepping up to make a difference. Our mission revolves around bettering the health of others and we always support the initiatives and efforts of others to make our community and beyond a healthier and happier place.