As I sit here and type this article, I glance outside my living room window and see that it’s snowing. SNOWING. In APRIL. The sky looks gloomy, and my morning coffee hasn’t yet kicked in.
I’ve been having a hard time sleeping lately, and as my eyelids feel a little heavier than usual, I’m definitely feeling it today.
When you’re stuck indoors thanks to social distancing, these can be the makings of a lousy day. It’s up to me to try and turn it around! And the thing is, if I just put in a little bit of effort, I can turn it around.
Perhaps you can relate a little to what I’m talking about. Being cooped up at home can become taxing. With everything going on in the world lately, it’s no surprise that in the latest Mental Health Index released by Morneau Shepell, mental health has recently dropped by 16%.
The thing is, your mental health is IMPORTANT. You matter, and your well-being matters. So, it’s important that we take hold of the things we can still control, and utilize them to their full advantage.
While we’re by no means medical experts, we figure it can’t hurt to throw some suggestions out there for things you can try to do to lift your spirits when things are feeling a little tougher than normal.
Who knows, maybe one of them will help brighten your day!
1. Get some fresh air
It’s a proven fact that fresh air is excellent for your mental health! It boosts your immune system, decreases anxiety/stress, and can increase your energy. Even just the smell of fresh air can do wonders for your mood!
If the sun is shining, simply getting out and stretching your legs for as little as 20 minutes can turn your day around. Just make sure to keep at least 6-feet away from anyone who happens to cross your path!
Important Note: That being said, you may live in a hard-hit area. If so, there might be a strict stay-at-home order that prohibits going outside for any non-essential reason. If this the case where you live, please follow these directives!
Yes, they may suck, they’re put in place to help save your life. Don’t be like that guy who dressed up in a T-Rex costume to try and break his city’s quarantine laws. Yeah, it was hilarious… but he also got arrested!
Go for that walk we just talked about. Do some push-ups while watching TV. Re-enact the opening scene of The Lion King with your pet.
You can get as creative with it as you want, and make it fun! There are tons of easy home workouts you can do that don’t require any equipment.
You don’t have to suddenly become a CrossFit expert (though, hey, if you want to, be our guest). Even if you only feel like exercising 20 minutes each day, it can help boost your mood and benefit your body.
As the legendary Elle Woods once said: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”
3. Play around with makeup, just for YOU!
You may be currently doing professional makeup training, and working towards earning your professional MUA certification. If you find peace in focusing on your studies, then this is definitely another suggestion that can be added to this list!
But we also completely understand that sometimes, schoolwork can be a factor adding to your current stress.
If so, it’s more than okay to take a little break on it. You can always go back to it once you’re feeling better! (After all, QC gives you a full 2 years to complete your program.) But in the meantime, one thing that might help if you’re feeling down is doing your makeup just for yourself.
Over the past few weeks, I’m pretty sure I’ve morphed into some sort of couch goblin. Sure, I shower every day and make sure to exchange my pajamas for a cleaner set of pajamas… But my makeup routine has been completely ignored lately.
Yesterday, though, I decided to do my makeup after getting up and showering. It’s not like I had anywhere to be. But I was tired of feeling so grungy and bleh. It’s a small thing, but it actually made me feel a LOT better by the time I was done!
You love makeup for a reason, and that reason isn’t strictly limited to your makeup training. When you’re feeling down, it can really help to go back to your roots, and rediscover the power that makeup has to boost your mental health!
4. Put the phone away
If all we do is stare at a screen all day, it can increase feelings of isolation and loneliness. So, it might be helpful to try and unplug from your electronics here and there, at least for a bit.
Instead, use that time to do something that stimulates your brain, allows you to use your hands, gets you to move around, etc.
Need some ideas of what you can do instead of browsing Facebook or watching Netflix? Don’t worry, I got you! You can:
- Have a living room dance party
- Bake banana bread from scratch (this is actually incredibly popular right now, interestingly enough)
- Put together a gummy bear concert
- Do a puzzle
- Take up a hobby you’ve always wanted to do
- Read a book, or re-read one of your all-time favorites again
- Start a Gratitude Journal
- Try out random makeup ideas and do an impromptu selfie photoshoot to show off the results
- If you have kids, make a home obstacle course to keep them busy
- You can also do this for pets, too!
- Speaking of pets, you can give them a proper cuddle
- Learn all the lyrics to the Alphabet Aerobics. If Harry Potter can do it, so can you.
- Watch paint dry. Actually, no, don’t do this.
5. Keep in touch with loved ones
We’re all in the same boat right now, which means that your friends and family are likely feeling exactly like you do. Chances are, they could use the company. Feeling cut off from the world is one of the easiest ways to harm your mental health, so it’s important to stay in touch!
Luckily, with today’s modern technology, there are so many ways you can do this. For example, you and your loved ones can:
- Chat over the phone
- Video call, so you can see each other’s faces
- Play online games together (here are 22 examples to get you started)
- Organize a Netflix party/movie night
- Remember that dance party you had in your living room? Why not invite them to it with an app like JQBX (Jukebox), and you can all dance together!
Yes, it’s obviously not the same – or as good – as the real thing. But it’s important that we all play our part in flattening the curve. Eventually, we’ll get to reunite with our loved ones.
For now, though, there are still tons of creative ways we can remain connected with them!
6. Let yourself feel your feelings
Sometimes, there’s such an emphasis on staying positive, that it can almost feel as though you’re doing something wrong by NOT feeling that way. Just know: it’s okay to not be okay. You’re not somehow falling short if you happen to have a day where you feel like you’re losing your marbles.
Emotion is what makes us human. Don’t hesitate to embrace how you feel, when you’re feeling a certain way. If you feel sad, it’s okay to cry. If you’re angry, that’s okay, too.
We’re all experiencing an up-and-down roller coaster of emotions these days, and that’s totally normal. Yes, it’s important to try and stay positive, and remind ourselves of the bigger picture (that this will not last forever). But it’s also healthy for us to let ourselves feel our feelings, and not bottle them up all the time.
The late Mr. Rogers had a habit of pressing all the low keys on a piano whenever he felt frustrated. You can always try that!
You and your mental health matter. So, don’t forget to take care of yourself, and make time for things that bring your soul some peace. If you have any other fun suggestions or tips for supporting your mental health, feel free to leave them in the comments!
And no matter what, remember: we’re in this together, and we’re ALWAYS here for you!