Something I realized as I was staying home more and more during the pandemic was that I was constantly on my phone. My addiction to my phone started before the pandemic when I was still in in-person school. I was away from my family and hanging out with friends felt like a chore. Therefore, I spent every spare minute of my time on my phone and the Internet became a place where I could relax and stop thinking negative thoughts for a moment.
Do you ever feel like you are constantly losing or failing in that one area of your life you are trying so hard to be successful in? Do you ever know the “right” thing to do in a situation mentally but don’t actually act on that knowledge? It can be hard – especially for those of us who are in therapy or other forms of counseling and are doing the work to improve our mental health. Having head knowledge of how to change but not implementing it can make you feel terrible. It’s like, am I even trying to change? If I were, wouldn’t this be easier? If only our will alone could lead to long-lasting change.
About half a year ago, I had started an application to my dream school, I knew the chances were slim but I was determined to set that aside and try my best. I went to almost every Zoom webinar and was encouraged by my friends, family, former teachers coaches, and even staff at this school. I worked on it for 8 months and when the deadline came around, I started counting the days until the decision. Then I was counting the hours. Then I was counting the minutes.
If I had known today how my life would be as I look towards the completion of my undergraduate degree, I would’ve been shocked by the person I am today. Everything about myself has changed; I finally came out as a lesbian and met my current girlfriend, I finished my chemistry degree, and I have taken charge of my own mental health.
Though we’re constantly on our computers, sometimes we need to have a brief distraction from whatever task we’re currently focusing on, whether to jump start our motivation or calm any stress that the assignment is causing. The reasons we’re working or need a distraction may vary, and just like needing distractions for different reasons, the things we seek out to relax and ease our anxiety differ from person to person.
At the beginning of March, I came across a TikTok that expressed that this account was going to do a 31 day journaling challenge with a new prompt everyday for the month. Since I have been wanting to get into journaling myself, I thought this would be a fun way to try it out.
Now that we can (hopefully) see the soon to be light at the end of the tunnel for the quarantine and the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, I want to make sure we continue to check-in with ourselves and our own mental health. Things are starting to open up again after over a year and things will slowly begin to work their way closer to “normal.”
I was at a plant warehouse sale a few days ago. We had to wait in line for about an hour before going in. Lucky for us, it was nice out that morning. The sun was beating down on us, a cool breeze was blowing, and there was a food truck selling biscuits and coffee. I was standing there taking it all in. I felt like this was the first Saturday that I actually went out and did something planned in so long — since the fall at the very earliest.
Self-care has become a term that always pops up when talking about mental health and wellness. The most common image is that of meditating, taking a bath, or doing a face mask. And while this is great, self-care is so much more than that. While these moments of nurture are helpful, self-care is a radical act for many as they learn to put their needs, emotions, and well-being first.