Around the world, people are sheltering at home as governments ask us to stay inside, socially distance ourselves, and practice other safety precautions. As we do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19, the sudden change in routines can leave us feeling discouraged and disconnected.
If you’re feeling stressed out, you’re not alone. In a poll conducted in July, 53% of adults in the United States reported that worry and stress related to the coronavirus have adversely affected their mental health. Many adults have also experienced negative impacts on their well-being, including difficulty sleeping, substance use, and increased anxiety.
Especially now, taking care of our physical and mental health takes effort. From eating a balanced diet to practicing self-care, here are some tips for making yourself feel good inside and out.
Switch up your diet.
When it comes to eating and exercising, forget about getting an hourglass figure, fitting into those jeans, or crafting the perfect six-pack. Instead of giving in to cravings or restricting your intake, the key to feeling and looking good is being healthy.
Eating and exercising mindfully allows you to take control of what you eat and how you get active, rather than binge-eating while watching Netflix. Eating a balanced diet will give you more energy, improve your overall mood, and help you think more clearly.
If you’re willing to make a big change, becoming a vegan can improve your health in several ways, from lowering your risk of heart disease to boosting your nutrient intake. Even if you don’t want to make a drastic change to your diet, taking baby steps can help you adopt a healthier lifestyle. To get started, try adding extra servings of vegetables to your meals, adding an extra 10 minutes to your daily workout routine, or planning healthy activities to do with your friends and family, like taking a walk in the park together.
Refresh Your Space
Especially if you’re sheltering in place or under stay-at-home orders, it can be challenging to stay in one place for weeks on end. You might feel restless, irritable, or disconnected from the rest of the world. As a result, it can make a significant difference to your mental health if you refresh your living space to make it feel new and different.
When decorating your living room and bedroom, remember that color can have a strong effect on your mood. While bright colors can help you feel more energized, neutral, and cool colors have a more calming effect. Your bedding, throw pillows, curtains, and area rugs can serve as statement pieces and change the room’s energy while serving a clear purpose.
After swapping out your bedding and curtains, it’s time to move to the kitchen. As the heart of your home, your kitchen is where you prepare meals and make memories with your family. If you’re not in love with your kitchen, investing in some simple renovations can help you refresh your space. Even if you’re working with a limited budget, low-budget kitchen renovations—such as switching out your hardware or adding a fresh coat of paint—can give your space a fresh look without breaking the bank.
Dress the Part
“When you feel your worst, look your best” is often repeated to those struggling with low self-esteem—but can dressing the part really make you feel better?
Wearing something you’ve previously worn on a happy occasion or something you’re often complimented on can boost your confidence. This is because of the positive memories you’ve made while wearing these items. When you wear them again, you’ll be reconnected with happy times and the important people in your life.
So, when you find yourself feeling low, it’s time to bring out your favorite clothes. Alternatively, if your budget allows, you can also treat yourself to some new pieces that you feel comfortable and confident in. If you’re not sure where to start, petite work clothes like blazers, dresses, and sweaters can help boost your self-esteem and productivity, whether you’re working from home or returning to the office.
Researchers call this phenomenon “enclothed cognition,” meaning your clothes have a significant effect on your physical and mental state. In other words, your clothes can make or break your confidence level.
In addition to dressing your best, be sure to accessorize. Even if you’re just relaxing at home, changing out of your sweats and putting on your favorite necklaces, earrings, and rings is a great way to boost your overall mood, and it can even help you gain confidence in your personal style. Remember: there’s no right or wrong way to accessorize—it’s all about your personal preference and tying your outfit together.
Invest in yourself.
Especially when you’re working from home, it’s easy to get so busy that you overlook your own needs, which can leave you feeling drained, tired, and overwhelmed. Self-care involves taking time out of your schedule to have a moment that’s just for you, allowing your mind to relax and de-stress.
When you take care of your mental health, you can cope better with the stresses and emotional strains that life sends your way. In other words, self-care can help build your resilience, leaving you less vulnerable to mental health concerns like anxiety, stress, and depression. For the best results, try to see self-care as an investment in yourself.
To start practicing self-care, get into the habit of carving out some time each day for yourself—whether it’s a few minutes or a half-hour. Spend some time doing something you enjoy, like painting your nails, calling a close friend, or taking a walk. Whatever it is that leaves you feeling rejuvenated, make time for it.
It’s also essential not to think of self-care as an indulgence or treat. Just like eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep, self-care is vital to your health.
Taking care of your physical and mental health requires time, effort, and dedication. Above all else, making small changes to support your overall well-being is the first step in feeling good inside and out.
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