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As we continue to adjust to a new way of living during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people are starting to feel overwhelmed by the distance between themselves and their loved ones, and it hasn’t been easy on individuals who are already struggling with their mental health. 

With this current global atmosphere of uncertainty and apprehension, it’s becoming increasingly important that we take the time to not only look after our physical health but to make our mental health a priority too. That’s why we want to encourage all our readers to change their outlook and start these 6 essential mental health hacks to better connect to their inner feelings and improve their mental well-being.

Covid-19 and maintaining your mental health   

By now we all know about the precautions we should be taking to keep ourselves physically healthy and protect ourselves from the coronavirus – but what are we doing to take care of ourselves mentally?

When it comes to managing your mental health, there is no one step, quick-fix solution in this journey. The good news is that there are plenty of mindful practices you can commit to every day to keep yourself mentally healthy and stay strong during this pandemic.

1. Be mindful of your environment and your feelings  

Trying to live a more mindful life begins with making a conscious effort to get in touch with yourself and your emotions. Take time to notice when your stress response is triggered and identify stress-enhancing situations. 

For some of us, having to constantly communicate on our phones, be on social media and regularly check the news for COVID-19 updates on a daily basis can take its toll. 

While it’s hard to take the right advice and slow down when you’re feeling overwhelmed, the first step is to admit to yourself that the world will not stop turning if you ignore a single DM or take a little longer to reply on WhatsApp. You may need some time to be in your own bubble and ignore the rest of the world – and that’s okay!

2. Discover your unique stress-relievers 

Since mental health is directly linked to our body’s immune system, it’s important to discover your specific coping habits which act as anti-stressors in times of rising anxiety. 

For some people, coping with stress or feelings of depression means getting out of the house and going for a long hike, a jog or a sweat-filled session at the gym. But for others, it’s lounging in the same pyjamas all day and scrolling through motivational posts on Pinterest (don’t worry – we’ve all been there). 

The point is that there’s no one-size-fits-all way to deal with stress, and it’s essential to keep that at the forefront of your mind at all times. While getting started with online therapy and doing regular meditation sessions are great ways to stay calm, it’s important to remember that your coping mechanism doesn’t have to look a certain way to others. Who says that gouging a bowl of ice great and watching reruns of The Office isn’t just as therapeutic? 

Mental wellness 101

3. Get real about your mental health 

There’s a lot of ways to answer the question, “How are you doing?”, but a lot of the time, most of us tend to steer clear of the honest answer. Instead of shrugging off your emotions, start trying to admit that you’re struggling with what is happening in the world right now. If there was ever a time where it was okay to feel vulnerable and afraid, it’s during this pandemic. 

Remember to be proud of yourself and acknowledge the work you’ve already done to try and keep your mental health in check. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to admit to others that you’ve hit some bumps in the road along the way and ask for their help getting back on track. Being honest and open about the emotions you are experiencing is a great way to load-shed your stress and get it off your chest. 

For men, doing this may be especially intimidating due to the harsh stigma around men’s mental health. That’s why it’s important for all of us to openly acknowledge any struggles we are facing and create a more open dialogue about mental health

4. Move your body

Part of being able to thrive during this uncertainty is to keep yourself motivated towards achieving a new goal – such as improving your personal fitness and working towards living a more healthy life. 

We all know about the healing benefits of exercise – it gets your blood pumping and your spirits up – but most of us don’t actually relish the idea of sweating inside a hot home gym all day. 

The great news is that there are all sorts of fun and exciting ways to stay fit and get home endorphins flowing. Try to have some fun by taking a new online dance class and letting loose – nobody’s looking! Or go on a hike with your friend or family for the day. Most people underestimate the healing positive effect of being outdoors in the fresh, open air. 

You’d be surprised how even a simple walk in the park or a stroll at the beach can inspire the innermost feelings of happiness and peace.

5. Give your hobbies some attention

With most of us being far from our friends and families during this time, it’s important that we focus on our inner happiness and try to do things that keep us inspired. 

Now more than ever, we need to focus on the hobbies and passions that we have often put on the shelf due to being caught up in the world of work and stress. Here’s just a few fun new hobbies you could get behind: 

  1. Hone your baking skill as and indulge your sweet tooth with this new delicious choc chip mug cake recipe. Or, if you’re looking for a heartier option, take some time to make your family a healthy home-cooked chickpea curry
  2. Get those makeup skills on point and give yourself some time to try that new contour tutorial you saw on YouTube. 
  3. Rearrange your home and redecorate your living room to feed the interior decorator inside of you.
  4. Put your green thumb to the test and start an adorable veggie garden outside.

6. Get yourself a furry best bud 

Lockdown can be lonely, and with thousands of pets abandoned and shelters left struggling due to the effects of COVID-19 on our economy, there are countless furry friends that could use a safe home right now. 

What’s great is that pets are proven to have mood-boosting powers and bring about a sense of calm for people who suffer from high levels of anxiety. Bringing a new friendly companion animal into your life is a sure-fire way to manage your stress in a healthy way, reduce loneliness and elevate your mood.

Studies have even found that:

  • Pet owners are less likely to suffer from depression 
  • People with pets have lower blood pressure when exposed to stressful situations 
  • Playing with pets can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body which can help anxious people to be more calm and relaxed.
  • Caring for a pet can help you make healthy lifestyle changes by encouraging you to start a regular exercise routine where you take them for a walk, a hike or a run.

Health and well-being with Wellbe

Living an active, healthy life can be difficult when you are silently struggling with your mental health. At Wellbe&Co, we want strong ladies and men everywhere to stay as fit, healthy and happy as they can be – no matter what these times bring.

That’s why we strive to give our loyal Instagram followers a daily dose of motivational magic to help you stay inspired and conquer your anxieties. From updates about the latest workouts and healthy new recipes to sharing essential yoga poses that will help you approach your day with mindfulness and serenity, our priority is to give you the encouragement you need to pursue your goals

Join the WellBe family today to get your own daily, easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health hacks – all while maintaining focus on your mental health. 

Gemma Oberholzer

About Gemma Oberholzer

I guess you can say I'm a serial self-improver. Since I was a kid I can remember being weirdly thrilled at the idea of learning something new and figuring out how to use that new found knowledge to better myself. This perpetual learn-grow itch eventually lead me to the field of Health and Wellness and it's here I've been, fascinated for the last 8 years of my study and work life. From Human Life Scientist and learning the mechanics of physiology and intricacies of metabolic biochemistry, to Food and Nutrition Scientist where I deepened my understanding of diet and it's key role in human performance and health. Geared with this comprehensive education and better appreciation for human health, I've since been able to practically apply this in my career through the fields of research, product development, brand management and marketing. In 2018, I was finally able to bring all these learnings together and so my passion project, WellBe&Co, was born. WellBe&Co is a personal and corporate wellness company specializing in easy-to-implement, lifestyle-focused nutrition, training and health solutions. It's here that I've gained invaluable insights into the human-side of the health and wellness industry in a way that has enabled me to provide relevant content and value-adding services to individuals and companies alike and live out our mission to build communities that know better and grow together through better health.

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