It’s now 2022, and the world is still reeling from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The global crisis has taught us many lessons, one of them being the importance of resilience and maintaining our mental health, especially in exceptional circumstances.
Here are six practices that will help you stay grounded as we venture into another year of uncertainty.
Set small challenges for yourself
According to positive psychiatrist Samantha Boardman, M.D., setting achievable daily challenges for yourself is proven to help build resilience and mental strength. Research shows that the more experience we have in overcoming small obstacles that we set for ourselves, the more prepared we will be to stay steady in the face of higher-stake problems in the future. They will also help us build our sense of confidence in our own abilities to navigate hardship. These challenges can range from reaching a new fitness goal, finishing a chapter of the book you’re reading, or any other small milestone.
Stand up more
It turns out that keeping yourself seated in front of a screen for hours on end can do damage to your mental health. A study published this year in Sports Sciences for Health revealed that people who stay seated for more than eight hours a day will experience worse stress levels, mood, and overall well-being even if they’re getting the recommended 30 or more minutes of daily exercise. Combat this by investing in a standing desk or ensuring that you punctuate long stretches of computer sessions with breaks.
Eat a Mediterranean-inspired diet
There’s no denying that gut health and brain health are intimately connected. According to holistic psychiatrist Nicole Lippman Barile, Ph.D., a lot of Mediterranean staples such as leafy greens, olive oil, berries, and seafood offer us a mix of brain-supporting vitamins, fatty acids, and healthy fats.
Boost the effectiveness of your Mediterranean-inspired diet by combining it with regular exercise and mindfulness practices.
Reflect on your wins
We can be our own worst critics, and this may nudge us towards the tendency of dwelling more on our failures than on our successes. However, a study published in Emotion found that those who focused on a moment in their lives when they successfully accomplished something helped them perceive negative experiences as less distressing. It’s worth noting that those who reflected exclusively on positive memories that didn’t require any of their own effort to overcome a hurdle actually ended up faring worse. Reflecting on your personal wins will help build trust in your own abilities to navigate obstacles when they come up.
Call a friend
Have you ever felt compelled to call a friend when you’re feeling down? Well, according to a recent study, engaging in conversation with a friend appeared to lower women’s cortisol levels during challenging times. So, the next time you need to curb some stress, try reaching out to a pal for a friendly phone call.
Take walks in greenery
There is plenty of evidence to support that spending time convening with nature boosts mental health and mood. One German study published last year discovered that residents of neighborhoods lined with more trees reported using fewer mood-balancing aids. So, if you need to lift your spirits, consider making leisurely strolls around a nearby park, forest, or green space part of your routine.