Taking care of your mental health by taking care of your body

Rising late, you slug yourself over to the couch to start another day of binge watching. This constant feeling of helplessness during quarantine has gotten to you, and you have a hard time finding the will to do anything. You can feel your mind slip to darker and darker places, but you have no idea how to stop the descent. At some point, you begin to wonder if you should just accept this as the bleak reality from now on.

You try setting goals and watch as your to-do list remains untouched, unable to see the purpose of any task. You reach out to others in similar situations, and while it’s nice to see their faces, it’s difficult because everyone is struggling as well. Once those calls are over, you can’t help but feeling lonelier than before.

Trying a new approach, you hear athletes always talking about how good they feel after exercise, how the “runner’s high” is a real thing. Great. Except all the gyms are closed, and you’re not allowed outside for a run. What next?

Well, remember how good your body feels for those few seconds once you wake up and have a nice, satisfying stretch, like a cat? Stand up and give yourself a great stretch right now, maybe with your hands extended above your head, or reaching towards your toes. Feel that slight tingle in your muscles, the satisfaction that accompanies it.

You don’t have to go find a two-hour long video on Youtube about power yoga right this instant. Instead, give yourself just five minutes of simple movement, allowing your blood to flow through your body and you will feel better.

These simple motions allow easier oxygen flow throughout your body, making you feel more awake and alert. Your brain releases endorphins which improve your mood. Best of all, it allows you to break up the monotony, making you feel you feel as though you accomplished more that day. Stretching alone isn’t enough to bring you back to your normal self, but it is a great step forward. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and reach out to your loved ones. Take it one day at a time, and you will come to see the sunshine again.