We are living in unusual times. The routines we took for granted like eating out with friends, commuting to the office, and going to the movies aren’t as easy to do. There are a lot of big decisions each family has to make and what’s right for one family may not be feasible for another.
One thing that you and your family can focus on during these challenging times is increasing resiliency. Resiliency simply means that you are able to bounce back from a negative situation. You can increase your resiliency by improving your emotional health. Medical professionals recognize the ways your physical and mental health are connected and healthcare is improving as a result.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) published an emotion wellness toolkit that outlines 6 strategies for improving your emotional health. Below are ways you can follow their strategies from your home or right here in Jacksonville.
- Brighten your outlook.
Exercise can release endorphins and running is especially good for increasing serotonin. Both of these chemicals give your brain a boost by decreasing your sensitivity to pain and increasing your mood stability. Florida is great for getting outside and going for a run. If it’s raining, wait 10 or 15 minutes and duck out between thunderstorms.
- Reduce stress.
Jacksonville is home to many beautiful parks and museums. Take a walk at Jacksonville Arboretum and practice deep breathing. Better still, leave your phone in the car to really stay present and observe all of the different plants and trees around you. Time outside alone, or with a friend or two can be a great way to decompress from anything that’s bothering you.
- Get quality sleep.
Sleep is a powerful way to regenerate your mind and body. You can go high-tech and program the lights in your living room to turn off when you plan to head to bed. You can also go slightly lower-tech and just flip the switch on your way out of the room. However you function best, make sure that you are getting the full rest that your body needs to be at its healthiest and happiest.
- Cope with loss.
This summer has been one of disappointment for a lot of people. Students and their families expected to attend graduation ceremonies. Many weddings and other celebrations had to be postponed or cancelled. In Jacksonville, there are so many friends and families who lost loved ones due to illness. Loss impacts each individual a little differently. For some, they may find healing through a religious leader; others may feel comfort in spending time alone. Make sure that you are caring for yourself and the people who depend on you while you are grieving.
- Strengthen social connections.
Call a friend or family member and talk about the things that are important to them. More important than talking is just being present to listen. Even if you can’t get together due to social distance or physical distance, you can still maintain that relationship by picking up the phone or sending someone a text to let them know you are thinking of them.
- Be mindful.
When you catch yourself in an emotion that brings negative feelings, stop and recognize what you are experiencing. You can feel sadness without being depressed and you can feel happiness without being elated. Focus on the way the emotion flows through your mind and try to track the origin of that feeling. Be intentional about what you watch for entertainment and who you spend a significant amount of time around.
Click here to read the NIH Emotional Wellness Toolkit and download their checklist. If you would like to start a conversation about how I can help you as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, please contact my office the Jacksonville Center for Counseling at (904) 737-7242.