In troubling times like these, it is easy for your mental well-being to dwindle. Having spent so much time by myself has made me truly value the importance of loving and caring for yourself. Life is non-stop and sometimes it is hard to properly look after both your physical and mental health. Snapping out of old, bad habits and making new small changes have helped me so much. Here are my tips on how to slowly but surely adopt a healthier lifestyle.
1. Change up your routine
Changing up your routine in times helps make each day feel different, exciting and productive. You could change up any type of routine from your exercise routine to your morning routine. For me, I seriously amped up my skincare routine. My skincare routine went from a measly two steps (cleansing and moisturising) to a solid 7 step routine. Although it has only been a short time since I made this drastic change, I have seen vast improvements not just in my skin itself but how I feel. Having this fixed routine makes me feel like I am taking care of myself so much more and that in itself is a euphoric feeling.
2. Make changes in your diet & stay hydrated
It’s the ultimate cliche, but improve your diet and drink lots of water and you will feel better. I really didn’t think this type of small lifestyle change could really have tremendous effects. Yet, I was proven wrong. Last year, I got into bad habits of always eating out and not stocking up daily on my fruits and vegetables. During the lockdown period, I made a conscious effort to eat better and cook more. Going to the supermarket actually became my favourite pastime and cooking resulted in me feeling like my days had more structure to them. These small changes accompanied by going on regular walks for fresh air and to gain clarity in my mind has made a world of difference for my mental well-being.
3. Plan, plan, plan
Back in September, I bought a planner to try and get my life a little more together. However, I barely updated it as I became so busy in my day to day life. When things came to a halt back in March, I began to start properly jotting down everything I wanted to do with my days, weeks, and months and this for me was not only therapeutic but stress-relieving. Making a note of the things I had to do, key dates, and future plans helped to clear my head and made me feel less overwhelmed. Yet, for me, the most wonderful thing about keeping a diary is that it is a physical record of all the things you have done and want to do. It’s a great feeling being able to tick something off a to-do-list; no matter how big or small the task was. Furthermore, in such troubling times, it’s also a good thing to plan ahead as it can provide hope and a glimpse of light at the end of this dark tunnel. In the last few months, I have truly learnt organization really is key.
4. Pursue your passions
Admittedly, since the beginning of university, I know that I have pushed my passions aside to concentrate on exams and other things in life. Staying indoors for the last couple of months has given me a lot of time to pursue my passion and improve my craft. By working on my writing and attempting other new hobbies like drawing, I feel like I am making good use of my time. Even if your passion requires you to be outdoors and you are unable to access certain facilities at the moment, you can find other ways to continue your passion and hobby. The internet is a great place to research and learn more; there are a lot of free and online short courses that you can complete. Taking this time to find out what things you enjoy and want to prioritize in life feels rewarding indeed.
5. But relax, don’t overthink and don’t stress
Today we live in a world where success means everything, people thrive off it. Even during the midst of this year’s global pandemic, many stressed the importance of staying productive and getting things done. Although this is a great mentality to have, it is sometimes a little draining. It’s good to get things done but in already stressful times you shouldn’t add tons of pressure on yourself to get everything done perfectly and precisely. I have a big culprit of this, always feeling like I’m never getting enough done or ‘what more can I do’ but sometimes the best thing you can do is relax and take it easy. I promise, it does wonders. Just having some days spent in bed all day binge-watching Netflix, chilling out, or sitting in the park on a summer’s day are also days well spent because you are taking time out from this hectic world we live in.
Isolation has also led to many of us having much alone time and as a result a lot more time to think. Although it is good to reflect, we shouldn’t let it consume us. In times of feeling overwhelmed or down, it is good to reach out to people; friends and family. Zoom and Facetime have become everyone’s best friend in 2020. Take time and schedule a group call, a Zoom movie night. I promise you, this can do wonders. Just staying in contact with my friends from all across the world has been the number one thing that has kept me going and for them, I am extremely grateful.
These last couple of months, though tough, have proven to be rewarding. Now more than ever I realise how important it is to take little steps to improve your lifestyle and mental welling. These are the key steps.