Written By: Melissa Howard
While many people are excited about eventually resuming regular social interactions once it is safe to do so, others may regard this prospect with anxiety, or even alarm. The pandemic has been especially hard on those already struggling with mental illness, and the stresses of this time may have exacerbated symptoms Add to that the concerns many may have regarding financial loss, health issues, and relationship woes post-pandemic, and it’s easy to see how this time could be difficult, not invigorating, for many in our society. If you are one of those regarding post-pandemic social re-entry with trepidation, The Zen Mommy shares some guidelines to help you regain your confidence.
Make mental health self-care a top priority.
If you feel you’ve been investing all your energy in keeping things together for your family and at work, you may have forgotten what it feels like to tend to your own needs. Or, if you’ve been cooped up with few options for decompressing, you may simply not have had the opportunity to pursue many self-care practices. This can really take a toll on your mental well-being, so before you worry about whether your clothes are in style or whether you can afford an evening out, ask yourself what you can do to aid your own mental wellness.
Practice mindfulness and meditation.
One of the best ways to tend to your mental wellness without spending any money or much time is to learn meditation rituals. This can help you to calm your mind and recenter yourself. Meditation is a great tool for managing negative emotions and finding new, positive perspectives on your life’s challenges. Some meditation practices to consider include breathing exercises, body-scan meditation, and loving-kindness meditation. Another helpful therapeutic practice is that of mindfulness, which allows you to be present at the moment without distractions or excessive reactivity. If you need help getting started with meditation, be sure to download The Zen Mommy app, which offers guided meditations and mindfulness practices to help you live in the moment.
Fit in an exercise routine.
Exercise is great for your mental wellness as well as your physical health. And if you are anxious about resuming social interaction, exercise is one of the best ways you can stave off feelings of panic or stress and increase your sense of confidence. As little as five minutes of aerobic activity can make a difference for those suffering from anxiety. So if you’re trying to get more physically fit as part of your self-care program, this is also a major contributor to better mental well-being.
Eat more nutritiously.
While diet alone cannot make or break you, when it comes to mental health, studies indicate that poor nutrition may be linked to some forms of anxiety. Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar may all exacerbate existing mental health woes. Limit your intake of sugars, processed foods, and bad fats, and try to add more whole grains and leafy greens to your meals.
Combat financial stress.
If you are anxious or plagued by negative feelings due to your financial situation, it can help to make a list of financial fixes available to you. See whether you can eliminate debt, get rid of unnecessary expenses, or even increase your income. One way to improve your financial situation might be to refinance your home and reduce your mortgage payments. Another might be to consolidate your debt into one single loan with a lower interest rate.
Reboot your career.
If you experienced a job loss due to the pandemic or the lockdowns, see whether this is a good time to make a career switch. Changing career lanes might be more than just a fix; it could be your chance to pursue dreams you’d had on hold, or materially improve your life, overall. You may even want to start your own business! Millions of people have taken up entrepreneurship in the wake of the pandemic, and you can too. All you need is the right solution or service, a solid business plan, capital and a stellar website. Many of the details required to launch a business can be easily handled online, thanks to business plan templates from SCORE, website builders like WordPress and Wix, and entity formation services like ZenBusiness.
Once you have a clear plan for self-care as well as financial improvement, you may find your anxieties regarding re-entry lessening. Over time you may even discover that you, too, are looking forward to engaging in society again and resuming former fulfilling pursuits. But even if it takes a while to get back on track, don’t fret – give yourself the time and the gentleness you need for recovery.
© Jessica Gershman, 2021