It’s easy to overlook the little things in everyday life that can provide us joy, happiness, peace, or solace. Now more than ever it’s vital to engage in simple activities that serve to keep us grounded. Activities such as these either allow for communication or allow for a respite from the stressors of pandemic life. Practicing mental health hygiene can be as uncomplicated as shutting down or logging out. Mental well-being is also about knowing when it’s time to give yourself time. Treating yourself to moments of self-care or activities that only bring you euphoria is a way to self-check and decompress.
RADIO.COM's I’m Listening broadcast is returning on Wednesday, September 23. During the special two hour event, we’ll once again join forces with artists, athletes, and individuals nationwide to showcase that talk has the power to save lives.
In the meantime, the I'm Listening self-care guide is here to remind us why all the little things can feel big, important, and wonderful.
Take the time to breathe in the outdoors. Whether you have 20 minutes to go for a walk or a weekend to safely surround yourself with an ocean breeze or the mountain air, the great outdoors often serves as a calming presence. Aside from being naturally beautiful, getting time to escape the everyday monotony that occurs indoors is good for your brain. Breaking up your routine to go outside allows you to be more productive and grounded. As we head into Autumn take time to seek out festive fall activities that can still be done at a safe social distance and while wearing a mask. Pumpkin patches and apple picking are just around the corner. It's important to remind ourselves that something as simple as having a picnic or jogging through a park can contribute greatly to our overall sense of well-being.
Call a loved one
Picking up the phone to FaceTime, text, or call a loved one is an act of self-care. Having someone to listen to you is important, but sometimes just listening to someone else share their thoughts, feelings, or insights can provide a peaceful moment of pause from our own racing minds. Sharing an open dialogue with someone you trust is not only an act of kindness for the person on the receiving end of the phone but also an act of care for ourselves.
Take time to listen to your favorite music alone
The best thing about music in 2020 is that you can take it with you wherever you go. The simple joy of experiencing music solely on our own should not be overlooked as a practice of self-care. There is something sacred about taking in your favorite album while laying on your bed, driving in your car, or listening to it through headphones on public transportation. The special bubble that forms when it's just you and your favorite artist in a comfortable space can be soothing, energizing, thought-provoking, or, emotional. Allowing yourself to give specific time and space to you and your music may provide for a cathartic experience.
Productivity isn’t the key to happiness
With an extensive amount of time on our hands during the pandemic, it's easy to slip into the idea that we have to continuously be productive with this new-found free time. However, it's ok to be comfortable or happy with doing nothing for a while. When will we ever have this much extra time again? We often only measure success by how much we’ve accomplished, but feeling well-rested and not overwhelmed is also cause to feel triumphant. The balance between productivity and relaxation does not come without comfort in nothingness. Engage in whatever amount of productivity feels safe right now.
Taking time to whip up exactly what you like can feel empowering. Additionally, making something that you can share with someone else can fill the kitchen with a lot of love. From baking a loaf of quick banana bread to going all out and making a homemade marinara sauce… cooking is a level of distraction that provides tasty satisfaction in the end.
Indulge in a feel-good TV show or movie
Splurging on a good binge of The Office or a weekend-long movie marathon is not only fun but also an activity that can feel familiar in a time when so many things feel unfamiliar. Let your favorite characters from film and TV transport you to a world of comfort or excitement. Whatever form of media it may be… Homer Simpson, The Real Housewives, or the Queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race are a couple of clicks away. P.S. it helps to be snuggling a pet while watching!
Take part in pleasure activism
If you are going to do your part to help during this time of social change make sure its truly something you enjoy doing. Often we are told that helping or volunteering can’t be purely selfless because we get enjoyment from it too… but isn’t that the point? Wouldn’t we be more apt to contribute good to the world if we get pleasure from it? After all, it's human nature to do things that feel good. If you are going to choose a cause to donate your time, energy, and/or resources to… enjoying it makes it more likely that it will become a habit. Practicing kindness and giving back to a cause or movement you're passionate about should be a habit in a world where injustices happen every day.