Updated: Oct 12, 2020
Although May is Mental Health Awareness Month, let's make 2021 Mental Health Awareness Year. In the meantime, here are 5 tips to help you make it through 2020!
2020 has challenged us to grip tightly to our sanity. However, don't feel alone if you've had a breakdown or two or more. All of us are struggling in some way and could use a little mental health break. So I thought I would take this moment to share a few tips and tools to help you when you're struggling.
Here's the technique to breathe correctly. When done correctly, you'll lower your blood pressure and feel more grounded.
Step 1: Intake: Take a slow 5.5-second deep breath through your nose. Allow it to fill your belly.
Step 2: Allow your belly to expand fully. Remember when we were little kids, and we let our bellies go, that's what I want you to do.
Step 3: Out-breath: Breathe out for a count of 5.5-seconds.
Step 4: Repeat: Do this a few times until you start feeling your blood pressure, going back to close to normal.
2. Get Out of Town
Has anxiety and stress been building up for a few days, weeks, or months? Do you feel as though you're getting to a boiling point? Get yourself out of your environment for a day or two.
Stay with a friend or rent a place. The HotelTonight app is an excellent resource to locate last minute hotel deals.
3. Change Your Routine
Do you know cognitive neuroscientists report up to 95% of our day is spent using our subconscious? What this means is our behaviors, decisions, and actions are conducted without much thought. Think of how many times you've driven to work only to realize you don't remember the trip? Our memories tell us what to do, so we don't have to use much brain energy to make decisions. Do you think of how you're brushing your teeth? Probably not, because it's ingrained in your mind.
By changing things up – driving a different way to work; brushing your teeth with the opposite hand – it brings your awareness back to the present.
When you're present with your emotions and your thoughts, you have more control.
Do unexpected things in your home.
Eat dinner on the floor.
Make homemade Happy Meals for the kids.
Go on a nighttime walk or bike ride.
4. Meditation, Exercise, Yoga
We know this is good for us but often forget the immediate effect on our mental health.
Bonus - meditation helps improve our memory and keeps our brains sharp!
5. Help a Brotha Out
This last tip is something your whole family can do. Do something for someone else. Maybe your elderly neighbor's yard could use a little sprucing. Can you imagine their delight when they look out the window to see their yard looking beautiful again?
Is there a single mom or dad you know who may be struggling? Pick up dinner or bring over food from your garden. Acts of kindness, small or large, make a massive, massive difference.
Interestingly, even though you're doing something nice for someone else, it has a profound effect on you. It helps you get out of your own mind to stop focusing on your challenges.