We are at the one year mark of this pandemic and I think I can safely say what has worked for me and what hasn't as far as keeping myself mentally healthy. As everyone, I have had my ups and downs. There have been times of disappointment, times of fear, times of feeling of impotence, times of "I've got this" and times of "just give me the xxx vaccine already." Below is a short list of what has worked and what has not.
What Has Kept Me Mentally Healthy
1.Daily Exercise- A minimum of 20 minutes a day of physical activity. I've tried it all including walking outside, walking on the treadmill, running outside, exercising using youtube videos, zooming into my gym's classes, starting and continuing a virtual posture improving class (similar to yoga); working out with weights (used water bottles); exercising virtually with a personal trainer, biking.
2.Working, Studying, Reading, Learning- Keeping my mind active in a purposeful, intentional way such as preparing my lessons for teaching, learning a new technique, learning how to become more mindful.
3. Staying Connected with Friends and Family- I daily connected with friends and family either by telephoning, messaging or video calling everyday. I have family and friends that live all over the world and I would make an intentional effort to connect with them as often as possible.
4. Helping others- I get so much satisfaction mentoring and helping others whether that be writing a recommendation letter for a former student, volunteering at the nearby school, offering my time and support to others in the community and beyond.
5. Decluttering closets and drawers- Feels good and looks great.
6. Baking and cooking- I'm Italian.
7. Watching funny and cute animal reels on Instagram before going to bed. Want a mood changer instantly?
8. Watching my favorite comedian and his perspective on life during a pandemic has helped me. Thanks Sebastian Maniscalco and the Sebastian and Pete Show.
What Did Not Help Me
1. Reading too many newspapers daily- I was up to reading and rereading four newspapers daily. I would read them in the morning and then reread them during the day and at night. Too much!
2. Too much social media- fake news, bad news, sad news, stupid news- I can do without.
3.Taking everything too seriously and worrying. You cannot change a thing by worrying.
4.Being too tough on myself and feeling responsible for everyone else. Get rid of the feeling of having to control everything. As the quote goes "Life happens when you are busy making plans" or something to that nature.