Although most of us have tons to be grateful for, to varying degrees, the last eight months have definitely been challenging. Being isolated from loved ones combined with the world’s unrest, and the uncertainty of what the future holds in regard to the pandemic is enough to affect anyone’s mental health. Combine those cheery facts with winter that is upon us (sorry for the reminder…), we now have a great recipe for the blues! It may therefore be a good idea to develop a personal plan to stay physically fit and mentally healthy for the months to come.
The same way you develop a training program to get physically fit and achieve specific goals related to physical activities, having a “mental health maintenance program” (MHMP) is as equally important. Keep in mind that we are all different! What works for me may be impractical for you (or even seem silly!) When developing a plan, know your tendencies, assess your needs and address them by listing ways you can reach your goals.
For example, I discovered over the last 55 years that I have a tendency to either be in a manic state (I call this my superwoman phase where I am highly productive, creative, and usually bite off more than I can chew) or a somewhat depressive state (I call this hiding under my rock phase.) With trial and error, I have developed a personal strategy that allows me to function in a balanced and sustainable way (I call this my happy place.) You won’t be surprised to read that a regular meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practice is at the root of my happy place. If you are interested in meditating with me, or learning to meditate, stay tuned. I will be offering a program in the New Year that will help debunk some of the myths surrounding meditation. Upon concluding this program, you will have the basic knowledge and tools needed to start and/or maintain a daily meditation practice with ease.
Without further ado, I candidly share below my regular mental health maintenance program with you in the hopes that it may help some of you during the long winter months ahead.
What I do daily, especially during the shorter months of the year
Other things that I have started doing since the pandemic, and will continue to do so because it gives me joy: