How I Manage My Wellness
Written by: Esha Mavi, Kinesiology Student
When will the lockdown order be removed? How long until I can go out again? When will masks no longer be mandatory? When will the vaccine be developed? Will I have access to the vaccine? Are my friends and family safe? Is this the new normal?
There is so much that we do not know about the future of this pandemic. There's so much uncertainty and thousands of questions going through everyone's head.
As we continue to adjust to the "new normal," a lot of us are starting to feel overwhelmed with anxiety, fear, and stress. Though these feelings are normal amid the pandemic, it is important to look after your mental well-being. Your mental wellness and your physical wellness go hand in hand; when one begins to diminish, the other follows.
Throughout quarantine and the early stages of the pandemic, I began to notice myself spiralling into a rabbit hole of unproductiveness, anxiety, stress, and overall just being overwhelmed with the events happening around the world. Eventually, I realized I cannot be in this slump any longer. I needed to take control of my own life and start being more productive. To do this, I knew I needed to start by improving my mental wellness. I began to do some research, asked friends, and implemented changes in my daily routine to help myself mentally. Even the littlest changes significantly helped me lower my feelings of anxiousness, stress, and overall improved my mood.
Something that I never thought I would get into was journaling. Specifically, bullet journaling. I am not one that used to like writing down my thoughts, but bullet journaling has definitely helped me become better organized, feel more in control, and overall has become a part of my daily self-care routine. Bullet journaling was created by a designer in New York, Ryder Caroll. He states that bullet journaling “help[s] you track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future”. Bullet journaling typically consists of scheduling, to-do lists, reminders, and any other organizational tasks, but I believe it can be anything you want it to be. A list of daily affirmations, lists of what you want to accomplish for the day, how you feel, etc. There is no “correct” way to bullet journal. In the morning, I create the page for my bullet journal. I add in all of the details, titles, doodles, and anything else I want to.
I write out my goals for the day, a few motivational quotes, how I'm feeling in the morning. Throughout the day, I continue to add to my journal. Anything that is bothering me, my thoughts, adding more lists, honestly anything I want to that day. At night, I add in my accomplishments for the day, my mood throughout the day, and my final thoughts of the day. I believe that this has significantly helped with reducing my anxious feelings. Writing in my bullet journal makes up a lot of my "zen time." I feel relaxed and happy that I have a place to channel my feelings in a way that is unique to me and me only. What I have noticed has had the most impact on me is writing down my thoughts throughout the day as it helps calm me down and it helps organize my thoughts by physically seeing them on a paper.
Another thing that really helped me with feelings of loneliness through this pandemic was staying social and connected with my friends. When the lockdown order was placed in mid-March, social gatherings weren't allowed and pretty much everything was shut down. I am a very social person, and this was really hard for me do deal with. I had also noticed that this contributed to my anxiety and stress as it made me feel isolated and lonely. Especially in times like this, it is important to stay connected with your friends and loved ones. After all, humans are very social creatures and we need interaction. With the world being as it is, having people to talk to will definitely help one feel less alone, reduce stress and anxiety, and overall help one's mental wellness. I knew I couldn't see anyone outside of those living in my household, but I also knew I needed more interaction. I needed to be able to talk to others and have different conversations with different relationships in my life. Originally, I began to use more social media. I would text and call friends and family as much as I could. However, I quickly realized that this did not really impact me in the way I needed it to. What I really missed during lockdown was face-to-face interaction. I began to use zoom, facetime, and skype a lot more. I felt as if this reduced my feelings of loneliness the most. Even though we were apart, we were still together, even if it was through a phone screen. The best part was that you could have multiple people in a video call. Throughout lockdown, I had many group facetime calls with friends. We watched movies together, ate food, and played online multiplier games (like scribl.io and Cards Against Humanity). Honestly, it was almost like my friends were there with me. This definitely helped me feel as if I wasn't alone during this time and definitely prevented me from spiralling down a hole of anxiety and stress.
Despite living through a pandemic, caring about your mental wellness is very important. We will get through this, but until then, take care of yourself. Find what strategies work for you and implement them into your daily routine.