It would be a lie if I said that my mental health hasn’t greatly been affected by the pandemic. I chose to write about this topic because I believe that many of you out there can relate and have in some way been psychologically affected by the challenges that these past 2 years brought with them.
Hopefully, this blog may shed some light on the importance of taking care of your mental health. I hope as well that it will direct you on the right path of improving your mental health.
As the pandemic hit, the feelings of anxiety and unease came crept up on me. In the first month or two, those feelings were growing exponentially, never consuming me as a whole, yet always in the back of my mind.
With social distancing, lectures, and work being done from home eventually the sedentary life with less and less human interaction became a habit, a comfortable one. From a person aching to socialize and move to the person that enjoyed being alone.
Soon enough the sedentary isolated lifestyle became my biggest enemy and I started to encounter several issues.
- Irregular sleeping cycle
- Irritability & Frustration
- Weight gain
- Zero motivation
- Encounter avoidance
Acknowledge your feelings and bad patterns
Now for me to notice these feelings, bad patterns and deal with them didn’t come overnight. As mentioned, they crept up on me and they do on a majority of people.
When I recognized how negatively these feelings and my behavior affected my life, only then I realized that I need to make a change. In the end, everything falls into our own hands and it is only us that decide how we want to live our lives.
Of course, the improvement did not come overnight.
Still, I would like to share what helped me and would probably be beneficial for you as well.
What can you do to improve your mental health?
Change your habits
First and foremost we need to change the negative habits that have been building up.
This is easier said than done. Although, what if I told you that it takes only 66 days of consistently performing a specific act to create a new habit?
When the pandemic hit our lifestyles changed and we were forced to adapt, by doing so we formed new habits. Small negative changes in our behavior such as not going to work can lead to more drastic changes as not being physically active at all. As I mentioned earlier, at first those negative changes associated with pandemic and restrictions felt strange, even hurtful, but after a while, you get used to them. That is the most dangerous time because it is easy not to realize how negatively we are affected by our new behavioral patterns. As time passes and our new habits are the driving force in our everyday life we start to wonder how did that happen.
How did these self-deteriorating habits prevail? Why didn’t we act earlier?
The answer is simple, by compounding micro changes in our behavior.
My advice would be to start with reading the book Atomic Habits. The author provides all the tools you need for mastering habits and taking back control of your life.
By mastering building healthy habits you have completed a huge step forward at taking control of your improving mental health.
Structure your daily life
In combination with healthy habits we need a structure in our life, which is a combination of many habits successfully completed. It may sound crazy to some of you but just by going to sleep, waking up and eating at the same time, day in and day out, you do not only build an unbreakable habit but you as well fix all your hormonal imbalances that were a big cause of your sleeping problems, irritability, lack of motivation and even depression.