If you’ve found yourself feeling less than your best since the onset of the ongoing pandemic, you’re not alone. Though Facetime calls and Zoom meetings fill a small void with seeing your loved ones, the lack of frequent interaction with those closest to you can cause a severe impact on your mental health. Of course, regularly practicing self-care by doing things like taking bubble baths, giving yourself manicures and pedicures, and discovering new ways to treat your hair better this spring can all make you feel good from time to time, sometimes we all need to try things that are a little out of our normal routine. So, if you’re looking for more options to help you along when times get tough, here are 10 things to get you started.

 

Encourage yourself to spend more time doing the things you love. 

The older you get, the busier you get. As a result, it may become difficult to find the time to do the things you actually love. Though work is important, you have to take the time away from it to do things that actually feed your soul and mind. Take some time to take inventory of what brings you joy and try to incorporate something into your schedule at least once a day.

 

Tap back into your gifts.

Remember that hobby you were awesome at as a teenager? We’re here to tell you that It didn’t just go away; you can start it back up whenever you want. From expressing yourself through art to penning adventurous short stories, tapping back into those long-forgotten areas of your life can help bring your mental health back to a good place.

 

Meditate.

Whether you consider yourself to be religious, spiritual, or neither of the sort, meditation has beneficial properties for all. Finding the time to meditate—either using guided audio and visuals or on your own—can help decrease stress, help to control your anxiety, increase your self-awareness,improve your memory, and much more.

 

Take time away from social media and clean out your feed.

Social media has a tendency to make us feel a rollercoaster of emotions at times. Though there are plenty of opportunities to learn and advance through social media, there are times that it can also be detrimental to your mental health, too. For some, social media can create a “comparison trap” and cause you to think poorly of yourself. That’s why it’s important to take a break from any social media site (including email!) as often as you need. And, when you come back, be sure to clean out your feed to avoid running across things that could potentially trigger you negatively.

 

Get out.

While many of us are working from home and have limited interaction with others outside of a constant amount of Zoom calls, getting out to feel the sun can help improve your mental health. Health professionals have long encouraged getting sun to help boost your mood as sunlight synthesizes Vitamin D. Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen before heading out, though!

 

Pick up journaling. 

Have a lot on your mind and don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about it? Journal it out. It’s been proven that writing out your feelings can help you sort through them better. Likewise, journaling can also be a great way to keep track of all the positive things in your life. Creating a gratitude journal can serve as a reminder for all the great things happening in your life when you’re not feeling your best.

 

Treat yourself to some chocolate.

Do you love eating chocolate? Well, you may want to keep some handy for the days you need a little boost in mood. Dark chocolate specifically can help boost your brainpower as the caffeine, flavonoids, and theobromine in the luxurious snack have been said to work together to sharpen mental skills and improve alertness. 

 

Take a trip down memory lane.

If watching your favorite show from your childhood makes you feel good, you’re not alone. According to PCA-Global, nostalgia can actually help improve your sense of empathy, reduce stress, increase happiness, help you experience transitional periods better, and provide a sense of warmth. 

 

Dance. 

Dancing may not be your strong suit, but if you’re looking to improve your mental health, you should know that it can help with that. Dancing has been proven to simultaneously increase your body’s feel-good chemicals known as endorphins and decrease your levels of cortisol—also known as your stress hormone. So queue up those throwback playlists and get the party started!