Maintaining wellness during a breakdown is difficult. For author Mira Manek, some of the things like taking one day at a time and turning to the home-cooked food she grew up eating were enough to provide her with a toolkit to survive the breakdown of her marriage. The present pandemic may also be a cause for a breakdown.
“We’re all worrying about whether we have enough food, toilet paper and medications to stay comfortable in a quarantine, but one of the biggest challenges of quarantine will be to our mental health.”says Claudia W. Allen, a licensed clinical psychologist.
Allen currently works as the director of the Family Stress Clinic and the director of behavioral science in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. She believes that while telecommuting may seem like a vacation at first, the isolation, lack of sufficient work, and a schedule are recipes for depression to set in.
However, a few simple routines can make life a bit easier to handle. Try these practices to give your day a boost and prevent a dip in your mood.
1. Get Dressed
Make a point of sticking to your routine of getting out of bed in the morning. Take a shower, eat, and get dressed. You don’t need to dress smart or in work gear, but don’t stay in your pajamas. Keeping a routine during traumatic times is better for your mental health.
2. Smile And Be Grateful
Mira recommends smiling soon after waking up, even if it is forced.
“Smiling causes a reaction in the brain, releasing happy hormones, including dopamine and serotonin and thus generates feelings of happiness and calm,”says Mira Manek
Together with smiling, show gratitude. Take a moment to be thankful for something, even if it’s just for being alive.
3. Listen to Music
Play some uplifting or calming music while getting through your morning routine. Songs can help inject some positivity into your day without taking up your time. It is a great way to set the tone for the day ahead.
“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”said Maya Angelou
4. Reconnect with Nature
If you can, take a short walk in nature each day to rejuvenate and refresh yourself. The walk increases circulation and oxygen supply to the body’s cells, giving you a burst of energy, but walking in nature also hits you on a deeper, more spiritual level. The body takes a deep breath, feels instantly relieved surrounded by trees and birdsong, and the mind experiences freedom from its workings.
It is interesting to know that studies have found that a chemical, phytoncides, released by trees may help the immune system. Forrest bathing, or “Shinrinyoku” in Japanese, is similar to aromatherapy and is good for body and mind.
5. Just Breathe
If all else fails, and you are still feeling overwhelmed, try taking a deep breath and then exhaling slowly. Controlled breathing has been advocated since ancient times to calm the mind and is used in meditation and yoga, for instance.
Recently, there have been studies that suggest slow breathing has calming effects. The researchers say that slow breathing is used to suppress excessive arousal and stress, including certain types of panic attacks.