We’re proud and excited to launch a new series on The Journal: Mental Health Mondays, where Meredith, the L&O team, and other inspiring women will get real and share their resources, tips and insights on mental health.
Today our Social Media Manager, Sarah, is taking over!
With a renewed Ontario shutdown in place and uncertainty about how long it’ll last, I know it’s been a hard couple of weeks. On this edition of our new Mental Health Mondays series, let’s talk about some of the tips + tricks you can lean on to support your mental health when you’re feeling hopeless.
If you have any ideas or inspiration for what you’d like to see us tackle on our next Mental Health Monday, we’d love to hear from you. Say hey at email@example.com or DM us on IG :)
Throughout the pandemic, there are days when I’ve felt productive and on top of the world, and others when I couldn’t imagine doing a single thing. I used to fight myself and try to make everyday a good day until a friend recommended I lean into how I was feeling. She said that by feeling our feelings we’re able to acknowledge them, accept them, and keep going, whereas if we try to fight them, it’ll get messy.
Let yourself feel what you’re feeling. Give yourself grace and allow yourself to have an off day. Give yourself permission to have an extra cup of tea, a comfort meal, an episode of your favourite show, or to order takeout. Ask yourself what you need and honour that the best you can.
Self-care doesn’t always look like bubble baths and face masks. It looks like eight hours of sleep, drinking lots of water, eating foods that make you feel good. It’s washing your hair and brushing your teeth. It’s tending to yourself so you can tend to others.
These three steps might seem overly simple, but they work. So often I’ve felt anxious and ~off~ only to realize I hadn’t had a sip of water in hours, food all day, and who doesn’t love a nice hot shower?
To keep these three self-care ideas top of mind, write them down and stick them everywhere as reminders: your desk, your bathroom mirror, maybe your bedside table.
At the beginning of this year, I set aside a spot in my planner to feature a new mantra each week. Since reading Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo, I’ve been enjoying the same mantra each week: everything is figureoutable.
If you’re into self-development, you’ll love Marie’s book. She shares practical advice and guides you through creating an actionable plan to accomplish your biggest, scariest, most exciting dreams.
A few other mantras that help me when I’m feeling hopeless:
You are safe - This came out of a therapy session years ago. My therapist asked me to scan and acknowledge my entire body, starting from my toes all the way to the top of my head. This process forces you to focus on one thing, effectively calming your mind and slowing down any racing thoughts. When paired with the mantra, it’s a calming ritual that’s worked everywhere from bumpy airplanes to nerve-wracking interviews.
We can do hard things - Thanks Glennon Doyle! This mantra is incredibly empowering because yeah, life is hard. A lot of the time. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we can’t do it. From Glennon’s book Untamed.
Having something to look forward to can help you feel excited and joyful, and it can keep your spirits high when you really just want to crawl under the covers. Try finding one thing you can look forward to every day AND one thing that’s a little further into the future.
Something I look forward to everyday is my post-lunch matcha latte. The icy, creamy goodness always gets me pumped for my afternoon, and the smooth energy boost doesn’t hurt. This could be your journaling practice, a daily call with a friend, or spending time on a new project.
Something that’s a little further into the future might be a slow sunday ritual (that’s me!), a camping trip, or a weekend kitchen experiment.
Have you seen those Instagram posts that tell you to relax your jaw and drop your shoulders? When we’re stressed, anxious, or feeling down, we end up carrying so much tension in our bodies that it makes sense it can come back around to impact our mental health.
For me, when I feel stiff and achy, l don’t feel ~good~ in my body, and that can trigger my anxiety. I’ve found that when I get regular exercise and lots of fresh air, I feel better in my body which ends up helping me feel good mentally too.
Movement doesn’t have to make you sweat. Take a lacrosse ball and dig into your stiff muscles, try a slow yoga flow, or yes, you can go a walk. I find if I must walk, a podcast and an end goal (like the grocery store) make it a little less mind-numbing.
As for fresh air, putting on clothes and going outside can be an enormous ask when you’re feeling hopeless. Instead, try opening the windows while you work. You’ll get lots of fresh air, maybe hear some birds chirping, and all within your own comfort levels.
-If you haven’t read our first instalment of Mental Health Mondays, give it a read here.