As we continue to navigate through these difficult and uncertain times, it is vital to prioritize taking care of ourselves — physically, emotionally and mentally.
Although self-care may not be a priority for you at this moment, it should be due to its benefits to your mental health. With the pandemic contributing to an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety, active self-care can assist with symptom management.
Some people recognize the month of August as National Wellness Month, a month focused on self-care, learning techniques to cope with stress, and creating healthy routines. Self-care assists with managing stress and contributes to happiness.
The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) states, “to be able to care for the people you love, you must first take care of yourself. It’s like the advice we’re given on airplanes: put on your own oxygen mask before trying to help someone else with theirs.”
According to NAMI, the following are strategies in creating your own self-care plan:
Understand how stress affects you — Stress can affect your entire body, physically and emotionally. By identifying the causes of the stress, you will know what to eliminate.
Protect your physical health — Improve your physical well-being by exercising daily, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, avoiding alcohol and drugs, and using relaxation techniques.
Recharge yourself — Make time for yourself without feeling guilty. Enjoy your “me time.”
Practice good mental habits — Avoid guilt, notice the positives, and gather strength from others. All three of these will assist in maintaining a good mental space.
It may seem difficult to practice self-care during a pandemic due to limitations on places and activities. However, there are still techniques you can utilize.
Geisinger Medical Center notes the following suggestions that can be helpful during a pandemic:
Be mindful to support you immune system — Try mindfulness activities (mediate, breathing activities, etc.) to support being in the here-and- now.
Take breaks from the news — Watching the news and social media can become overwhelming. It may be helpful to eliminate those media outlets to refocus on positive things.
Remind yourself why — It is important to remember why we have to “socially distance” and wear masks for overall safety.
Make time to unwind — Spend time, whatever it is, to enjoy yourself, which provides a sense of relief and happiness.
Exercise to promote good health — Whether you are working from home or the office, make time to be active. Exercise is good for you physically and mentally.
So what can you do to observe Wellness Month?
First, start by setting a day aside to complete activities (e.g., jogging, painting, yoga, etc.) that you enjoy.
For more information on ways to celebrate National Wellness Month, click here.
For more information on self-care in addressing mental health, visit these sites:
To learn self-care techniques to assist with managing depression or anxiety, contact Methodist EAP at 901-683-5658, for a free confidential session.
At this time, EAP is only offering telehealth visits.
Marquita Harris, LMSWLiving Well Network Behavioral Health Screener
Marquita is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW). She received her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology at Mississippi State University and her master’s degree in social work at the University of Memphis. She has over 5 years of experience working with children and adults in community mental health and 7 years of experience in child welfare where she investigated severe cases of abuse, neglect, and fatality cases in Shelby County. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
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