Given the state of the world right now, you’d be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed and more than a little stressed. In fact, it’s practically expected of us right now.
Many of us are worrying about our jobs, money and our health – and it does more than wear us down mentally. It can have a physical effect too.
Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to control your situation and lift those worries. So many things are out of our hands at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t regain that sense of purpose in small ways. Even a little can do a lot!
1. Make Your Bed Each Morning
Okay, so we’re starting small. But when things are overwhelming, little moments of satisfaction can do a lot.
It might seem like an entirely pointless, mundane exercise, sure. But bringing order to your environment provides a sense of accomplishment, even if it’s only for a little while.
A messy, unmade bed makes the room seem chaotic and disorganised. Make the bed, and you’ll find the bedroom appears instantly tidier and more put together. You’ll even feel calmer when you enter the room.
2. Spring Clean
Or autumn, winter or summer. It doesn’t really matter what time of year it is, creating a tidy environment for yourself can have a tremendous impact on your mental state.
We’re at home more than ever before, right now, and you might have noticed that the steady build-up of dust and mess is having an effect.
Your mental state often reflects the physical space you’re in, and clutter all over the house is of course going to make you feel cluttered and disorganised internally. Hell, who hasn’t used the excuse of needing to tidy their sock drawer before they can concentrate on work? But it’s true, a clean and tidy environment makes for a tidy mind.
3. You Are What You Eat
Corny, but true. We think it’s fair to say that most of us have overindulged a few times in the last year or so… It’s normal, and you shouldn’t chastise yourself for it. But you can’t keep doing it and expect it not to have an effect.
Not just on your physical shape, either. Eating poorly is likely to lower our self-esteem (for obvious reasons, thank you Mr Mirror) and reduce our energy. When we’re feeling lethargic, we can quickly get into unhealthy cycles of continuing to eat poorly. So now is the time to take a deep breath, throw out the chocolate and start thinking about some serious nutrition.
(Okay, maybe not all the chocolate…)
Still, cutting down your sugar and processed food intake will make a noticeable improvement. Better fuel going into your body means better stuff coming out. It will clear your head, make you more alert, and help you think on your feet. Which, of course, will boost your mood and mental health once you start feeling smug about how much you’ve done in a day.
4. Work It
While we’re on the subject of taking care of our bodies, we might as well point out the obvious. A good workout will work literal miracles to reduce stress, and frankly, there’s nothing quite like the sense of achievement afterwards.
Physical fitness has fallen by the wayside for many of us, but you don’t have to do anything strenuous to take back control. The simple act of establishing an exercise routine will teach your brain to resist stress. Combine that with a HIIT workout, a 30 minute jog or even a yoga session, and your body will be pumping out those feel-good endorphins in no time!
Speaking of yoga, meditation is an excellent practice to incorporate into your routine too. We know some of you are rolling your eyes as you read this, but it’s not as difficult as you might think – and the benefits can be enormous.
Meditation is something you can start slowly with, and build up. For many, it’s the most relaxing thing you can possibly do, and half of us are already doing it. Ever get out of the shower and sit in your towel, staring into space? That’s not far off the same thing. Seriously!
Learning to meditate properly can reduce stress, anxiety, help you sleep and restore a serious sense of chilleven if you only partake for 15 minutes each day. Scoff all you like, but it’s one of the most powerful tools to have in your arsenal.
6. Look After Yourself
Anyone who’s ever struggled with depression will tell you that a little self-care can make all the difference. The ability of something as simple as a long bath or a luxury facemask to restore some light to your soul is… hard to describe, but really damn good.
Even if you’re stuck at home, try to shower every day and stay clean and refreshed. Don’t think of cleanliness and your skincare routine as a chore that’s pointless – even if that’s how you feel. It might surprise you how much better you’ll feel if you take those few minutes to take care of your body. You’re taking care of your mind too, after all.
7. Take a Trip to Dreamland
Just because millions of us are working from home, doesn’t mean you can stay up later every night. Sure, you might be skipping the commute and working in your pyjamas (which we don’t recommend, by the way), but that’s no excuse.
A solid eight hours is probably the most important step you can make to take control and ensure your circadian rhythms are functioning normally. Without that, you can say goodbye to de-stressing, no matter what you do.
Our bodies need the recovery time, even when our minds are still awake. And no, you can’t recharge properly in front of the TV or with your phone in your hand. You’ve got to get some z’s.
Sleep deprivation is much like chronic stress in the way that it messes up how our bodies use energy. Plus, since it’s also taking away our mental energy, it can lead to poor decision making (translation: even more takeaways) that undoes all our good work taking back control.