Empowering You: Mental WellbeingMarch: Mental Wellbeing Focus
Why Creating Structure and Keeping a Routine is Important During Times of Stress
Some people thrive on block scheduling and have very disciplined schedules, others not so much and tend to "go with the flow". However, during times of uncertainty, stress, and facing the unknown, creating a routine that works for you will help maintain a sense of control. It can open up space for clarity, productivity and peace. Even more so, it's not just about managing your responsibilities or work, it's imperative to create time for much needed self-care.
We all know the feelings of overwhelm, stress, and even depression, and it can make it seem impossible to tend to everything on your plate. Especially now, and especially if you are struggling with mental health issues. By setting the intention to create a daily routine, we can open up our days to create a sense of ease that manages our required tasks and our time for self-care. Little steps towards creating these new routines manifests into a pattern that supports our outcomes we need to achieve without having to put too much mental effort towards them.
Tips to Keeping a daily Routine While at Home
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
Do Daily Activities at the Same Time Each Day
Start Small & Plan Ahead
Plan Meal & Snack Times
Take Care of Your Physical Health & Hygiene
Take TIme for what Brings YOU JOY
Be Flexible & Gentle with Yourself
Even if you don't typically thrive on a strict schedule, having a routine can be helpful in times of unpredictability, uncertainty, and stress.
Implementing a structure to your day can give you a sense of control. It can also improve your focus, organization, and productivity.
Having a routine is about more than just your day-to-day responsibilities and your work—don't forget to make time for self-care.
"When people don't have a routine or structure to their day it can cause increased stress and anxiety, as well as overwhelming feelings, lack of concentration, and focus."— RACHEL GOLDMAN, PHD www.verywellmind.com
CEO + Founder, Alora Grace & Co. + Project Critical Mass
Evidence-based suggestions to improve mental health and wellbeing.
As many of you already know, mental and emotional health issues have been of great concern since the pandemic of 2020 hit. Statistics show us that mental health issues have worsened in all age-groups. Whether it be from stigma, uncertainty, or just lack of self-awareness, many people are not receiving the support and help they need. However, this is not an end-all, the worst has yet to come type of situation. In fact, there are many easy and simple things you can do, right now, to take back a positive mental health state and discover a happier you.
That's why we created this resource guide; because learning these tools, and imparting these simple applications into your own everyday life, can help you maintain the most incredible mental and emotional wellbeing, even in the most trying of times.
The opinions, suggestions, and advice provided are not intended to supersede professional help or guidance. If you believe that you are suffering from mental illness or other mental health issues, please consult your PCP or local professional.
THE DIY APPROACH
Get into a schedule or routine will help create a sense of “normalcy”. I think by now, most of us have become familiar with only needing the “Zoom shirt” and hanging out in pj's or yoga gear from the waist down. However, tending to your self-care and implementing a routine will give you great endurance for fortifying long-term mental wellbeing.
Now when I go into my office, I’m not just going comfy/casual. 3 days a week I am dressing for success (no that doesn’t mean a suit, but sometimes a dress or sports coat and heels)
Try getting up at the same time, getting dressed, adding some exercise, or getting out into nature, do your hair, learn something new, and have a consistent bedtime.
Physical and mental health are fundamentally intertwined. Ensure you exercise at least once a day.
Get Moving - From ScienceDirect, check out Physical Activity and Exercises for Mental Health
Get out into nature. Nature is in infinite supply. Even if you can’t get out to a river, the mountains, or forests, you can get to a park or find a tree. From Ask The Experts, check out 10 Reasons Why Being Outside is Important.
Nutrition is like preventive medicine. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. A sometimes overlooked aspect of our life is just how critical a role our nutrition and diet plays on our mental, emotional, and yes, physical wellbeing. In fact, I see nutrition and diet as preventive medicine. We have to start looking at our WHOLE BEING. Every input into our lives affects the output we can provide. But don’t just take my word for it.
Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain Food by Harvard Medical School
An excerpt from Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health: A Completed Guide to the Food-Mood Connection. (available on Kindle, etc) “Where there is mental illness there is frequently a history of digestive and nutritional problems. Digestive problems in turn exacerbate mental distress, all of which can be improved by nutritional changes. It’s not unusual for a deficit or excess of certain nutrients to disguise itself as a mood disorder. Indeed, nutritional deficiencies factor into most mental illness―from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and PTSD―and dietary changes can work alongside or even replace medications to alleviate symptoms and support mental wellness.”
Natural Health and Homeopathic. Stress is a fascinating thing. And it affects the body in mysterious ways. I used to be adverse to even acknowledge that I have stress. Single mom, serial entrepreneur, life experience extraordinaire. I didn’t have time for stress, nor did I think I ever experienced it because I was so often in “focus and maintain” mode. Wisdom alert; that is a bunch of nonsense! And then, even being a triathlete and rock climber, I started to notice my physical body reacting in various ways. Long story short, after severe nerve damage from an accident I realized just how much STRESS I was under and how much my poor body had taken it on. All the yoga and prana breathing wasn’t going to sidestep this one. (*Yoga and mindful breathing, however, are powerful stress reducers)
Take a break from social media and the news. As we know, there has been plenty of evidence and research showing that social media can cause stress and anxiety. We also know that although there are so many beautiful and inspiring things happening in the world, what the news tends to promote is negativity. Be gentle with yourself and loving, be mindful about what you are pouring into your mind. Take a break from toxicity. You Deserve It!
Affirmations. The subconscious mind takes what you say literally and cannot differentiate between what is in your mind and what is in your physical reality. Affirmations can retrain your subconscious mind to create those statements you are declaring for your life. There is an incredible difference between saying ‘I Am depressed’ versus saying ‘I feel depressed’.
- 40 Positive Affirmations for Better Self-Care and Brighter Days by Keiser Permanents
- Check out Power of Positivity I cannot express to you enough how important and powerful ‘I Am’ affirmations really are. They have been a transformation in my own personal life, for my clients and there has been so much evidence-based research even showing how these can alter your neurology to create empowering new ways of being.
- Also, from Mental Health Match, I recommend reading the 101 Inspiring Mental Health Quotes. I love quotes, they are inspiring, motivational and most of all, it helps us to realize, we are not the only ones with struggles and insight.
Tim LP Collins has an incredible podcast, The Anxiety Podcasts. Even in the best of mental health, there are benefits to his episodes. Each week Tim interviews people who have conquered anxiety using a variety of methods not only helps you to not feel alone but that there actually are tools to kick anxiety to the curb, once and for all.
Mental Illness Happy Hour’ by comedian Paul Gilmartin has created a show that makes you feel like you are a part of a support group where guests share vulnerable and raw behaviors and traumatic stories. A great opportunity to move through the heavy with a bit of levity. Listen to the podcast here.
Tim Ferris is no stranger to mental health issues and its an area that he has thrown a lot of philanthropic work into. Perhaps a household name, I would be amiss if I didn’t include him in this list. You can find a collection of blog posts and podcasts on The Tim Ferris Show.
The following apps are all science-based support tools for relieving stress, managing mental wellbeing, getting incredible sleep, and really, promoting the healthiest and happiest best version of you. All three apps have a primary focus on scientific research and seek to EMPOWER YOU to feel good and make positive changes.
HAPPIFY happify.com/ “Overcome negative thoughts, stress, and life’s challenges!”
CALM calm.com/ “Find Your Calm. Sleep more. Stressless. Live better.”
TOOLKITS AND GUIDES
From the creators of the Mental Health Movement comes an easy to read and use Toolkit for getting through COVID-19. It will easily and simplistically help you to understand the various contributing factors affecting your mental health and simple ‘how-to’ steps to move towards better mental wellbeing. Download their PDF guide here.
Stories and Science Behind the Life-Changing Power of Giving, from Live Science. Read ‘The Giving Way to Happiness’ I have written several articles and created workshops about the Power of Giving. I have found it to be undoubtedly true, that sometimes when we are stuck, unsure where to turn, what to do next, when we put our focus and attention on helping someone else, either with our skill, talents, resources or even just time, it inevitably leads to clarity or insight on our own personal next step. We ALL need to be in support of each other, and especially right now. Even if all you can give right now is a smile.
ReThink.Org also provides some powerful tips for COVID-19 around Rethinking Mental Illness and the role spirituality and religion can play in mental health issues. Download their fact sheet here.
From TMS Institute of America, they provide some incredible‘Daily Therapy Trackers’. I recommend starting with the download ‘My Negative Emotions’ and ‘Recognizing Symptoms of Stress’. You are never more apt to be able to heal and over-come as when you become pro-active and empowered by taking the time to learn and understand yourself. As they say on their own site, “Be Your Own Mental Health Advocate”...P.S. They also have a great download on Affirmations.
From the Mental Health Foundation, here is a list of10 Practical Ways to Look After Your Mental Health. Some I have already stated above. This is their COVID-19 support page on ways to stay connected during this pandemic.
'The Do’s and Don’ts' from NHS on 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing
If you are in an immediate crisis or need professional or positive support now please reference the following:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255
Safe and Strong Oregon www.safestrongoregon.org/
Non-denominational Support from Silent Unity: For more than 125 years, Silent Unity has been praying with and for people throughout the world. Whatever your prayer needs, finding peace of mind provides a foundation of strength to face any situation. Your request is a sacred trust and is kept confidential. There is never a charge for this service.
NAMI - Education and Support for teens, peers, family, and friends. The National Association of Mental Illness is an incredible resource for those facing more lasting or severe mental health issues.
So to my fellow human beings, yes, we are all experiencing uncertainty and trying times, and even in the best of times and circumstances, there is stress and anxiety. Mental wellbeing isn't just something we should be thinking about when things get rough. Self-awareness and taking action to be proactive to manage mental and emotional health gives you the power to take back control in your life. Little changes, done every day can create lasting positive ways of being. We ALL deserve love and to be loved.
We ALL deserve joy and happiness and we ALL need support. Find strength and courage by connecting with others and allow yourself to be real and vulnerable. There is nothing wrong with the authentic you and it is time to let your light shine! Together We Are Stronger.
Please help us foster a stronger, more empowered community and share this guide with those you know.