By Jennifer Parris
Staying at home might sound like bliss. You no longer have to deal with a commute into work, deal with catty coworkers, or other office politics. You get to have a more relaxing start to your day and set the pace for your daily activities. But after a while, your unexpected staycation might start to feel a little stifling. In those moments, you’ll need some mental health exercises to help cooped up individuals like yourself. These simple techniques can help improve your mood and mentally prepare you for staying inside.
Something as simple as taking a deep breath can do wonders to ease stress–and soothe your soul. Take long, deep breaths through your nose, and then, slowly, let the air exhale through your mouth, feeling the air (and the stress) leave your body. While you’re doing deep breathing, think of nothing else except how the air sounds as it enters your body, and how your body responds to the breath. All it takes is a minute or two, but the benefits of deep breathing techniques can last much longer.
It’s easy to let your mind race, but doing so will only fill you with unnecessary worry. On the other hand, being mindful can help center you in a way that can be completely calming. Sit quietly in a room and block all the bombarding thoughts from your mind. Breathe in and out (as suggested above) and focus only on this moment. Don’t think about the past, or tomorrow, or what you have to do on your to do list. Focus on just this moment, and you might realize that things are a lot better than you think.
While daily news reports might be grim right about now, there is still so much to be thankful for. That’s why you need to adopt an “attitude of gratitude” in order to cope with the stress of daily life. Take some time to think about the good things in your life, whether it’s the health of you and your loved ones, the food on your table, having a job, and friends and family. It might even be the comfort of your furry four-legged companion. If need be, take a piece of paper and pen and actually write down what you’re grateful for. Sometimes, seeing it in black and white can help reaffirm how fortunate you truly are.
Make A Plan
While it’s important to appreciate where you are right now, there’s nothing wrong with planning for the future. During this time, you should take a deep look at where your life is, and where you’d like it to be. Think about what is working (and more importantly, what’s not). You might find that, once life returns to normal again, that you might not want it to. So formulate a plan to include the things that you want in your life and determine how you’re going to achieve your goals.
When you’re cooped up inside your house, your mind can go into a very dark place… if you let it. Having these mental exercises can not only make you feel better, but improve the quality of your life, as well.