Be Kind to Your Mind

— Written By Dee Decker and last updated by
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Relax stoneThe pandemic has changed most everything and has brought new experiences that might leave you feeling frustrated, isolated or lost from not being able to keep with your normal routine.

How many times have you walked to the entrance of the grocery story only to realize you have forgotten your mask? Learning these new behaviors and trying to do the right things add to our stress levels.

From the newspaper, social media and signage at store entries, there are constant reminders to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and to wash hands often. These are also subtle reminders of how much your life has changed and has you wondering when will things return to normal.

Everyone responds to stressful situations differently. Factors that can influence your response to stress include how much social support you have and your current health and financial situation.

Here are a few healthy reminders to be kind to your mind and to help cope with the stress during the pandemic:

Pause and breathe. Take a few moments to quietly assess how you are feeling. Ask yourself are you feeling anxious, stressed or frustrated? What particular situation is causing you to feel this way? Is there anything you can do to help improve the situation?

Take breaks. It’s important to step away from the news and social media. While it is necessary to stay informed, try finding a balance between staying updated with the latest news and not being overwhelmed. Take breaks throughout the day and enjoy some fresh air or take a short walk.

Two people on bicycles on wooded trailTake care of your body.  Staying hydrated is important. Try to stay active. A regular exercise routine can go a long way in boosting your mood. Wellness experts recommend that adults need at least 30 minutes of activity each day.

Stay connected. Now is the perfect time to learn something new about technology. Have you thought about video conferencing with your friends and family? Reach out to family and friends to talk about how you are feeling or just hear news about them. When was the last time you wrote a letter?

Be sure to get plenty of sleep. Having a routine sleep schedule will help you ease into a good night’s sleep. Limit electronic devices and television in the bedroom. Make sure the room is dark, quiet and at a comfortable temperature.

Be kind to yourself and others.  Cut yourself some slack (and others) and try to put less pressure on yourself. Show yourself and others compassion when things aren’t going as planned. Avoid being critical of others and remember, you don’t know their situation or what they are going through. Everyone copes differently, and while you can’t control someone else’s behavior, you can control the way you respond to it.

One day, we will look back and talk about 2020. Hopefully, we will be able to find a few fond memories and lessons learned from the pandemic.