The past year has been like no other. As many of us have stayed at home for the past 12 months, it’s beginning to take its toll on our mental wellbeing. In fact, a mental health crisis was predicted in the autumn, ahead of the latest restrictions.
Now, more than ever, it’s important to look after ourselves. Taking the time to set aside the daily tasks and parenting responsibilities might seem like an impossible ask right now, but by giving yourself even five minutes away from everything, you can hit the reset button and avoid burnout.
To help you take a break and have some time for yourself, here are some activities you could try.
Go for a walk
We’ve been walking a lot since last March, but when did you last go out on your own? If you enjoy nature, head to your nearest green space so you can enjoy being away from busy high streets and built-up areas. Try taking pictures of the things you see along the way that capture your imagination.
This break from your desk will give you a chance to process things that might be difficult to think about at home, where there are lots of tasks to tackle. It’s likely that after a 30 minute stroll around your local park, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to answer that email.
Book some annual leave
Days off work are crucial for our wellbeing. Book a day off and treat yourself to the things you enjoy. Pick up a takeaway breakfast from your local coffee shop, go for a walk in the park, and watch your favourite box sets.
Once lockdown restrictions ease, it will eventually be possible to travel again, so it’s worth thinking ahead. Where would you like to go on your days off? Are you itching to head to the coast? Or are you already looking at train times to London?
While our days off work look different right now, it can be a boost to create a travel bucket list for when things return to normal.
Go Back To School
One of the best things that you can do for yourself to value your mental health is to improve areas of your life you feel are lacking. It can be a lot of pressure to try to live a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget, and if that life you want is in your head why can’t you go ahead and make it happen for real? What if you want to start pursuing a BSN to MSN degree online? What if you want to go back to basics and start again in a new career? All of these options are available to you, you just have to be willing to learn. Going back to school could be a gamechanger for your future, and there is nothing better than changing your own life if you feel it needs changing.
It’s likely that the only thing you’ve read lately are Instagram posts and Facebook updates. While doomscrolling has become built into many of our daily routines, repeatedly checking social media is not good for our mental health.
Instead, set your phone or tablet aside and pick up a book. Choose a novel that brings you joy. Alternatively, if committing to a novel feels like a lot right now, try reading a magazine article. Buy a print version so that you’re not looking at a screen and choose one that provides a bit of escapism.
Take up a hobby
Have you always wanted to take up tap? Maybe you’ve been meaning to complete your green belt in karate? Whatever you love, it’s still possible to pick it up, albeit over Zoom for now.
Look into local classes or see if there are any online events that you can attend. By interacting with someone, even if it’s online, you’re giving yourself a break from the everyday routine.
What other activities do you do to give yourself a break? Will you take up a hobby? Or are you planning a day off?