Make Self-Care Time for Your Mental Health

Depressed woman

Written by: Dr. Jessica Papa, PT, DPT


Let’s face it – being stuck at home all day is neither fun nor easy. Yes, I know that it is what we need to do, but it doesn’t make it any easier. It is an adjustment and is affecting our mental health, including mine. 

We don’t have to let it get the best of us though! Something that gets lost amidst all this chaos is self-care. We need to take care of ourselves and can still do this together. Social distancing orders are only physical; we can and must stay connected. Phone calls, text messages, social media, FaceTime, etc. are not going away! Reach out to people, stay social (virtually), and keep your mind stimulated. 

It is important for your mental health to practice self-care always, but especially during this time.

Start your day with a morning meditation or visualization. Or just give yourself some extra time to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, the sunshine, or fresh air. Don’t rush into starting your day. 

If you are working from home, the day is not going to flow the same way you are used to and that is okay. Try to stick to a routine as much as possible, but allow the changes and give yourself a break. To be honest, I am writing this in my car that is still parked in my driveway. I just needed to get out of the house and get some variety in my life. 

If you are feeling stuck, I suggest you do the same. Take a quick walk outside or even just sit outside to enjoy the fresh air and change your view. It does wonders for your mental health! 

Some suggestions to change up your day to day and keep you productive and busy:

  1. Meditate – this is best first thing in the morning to start your day relaxed and positive.
  2. Create a vision board – think of goals that you want to achieve once life returns to “normal”.
    1. BONUS: if possible, do as much as you can towards this goal now.
  3. Get out – Spend at least 10 minutes outside a day.
  4. Learn something new – that recipe you’ve been meaning to try, something you have been interested in that you want to look into further.
    1. This could be done by just reading a couple of articles online, you don’t need to spend money on classes. 
  5. Read a book – instead of binge-watching Netflix all day long.
  6. Talk to someone close to you – Call your parents, grandparents, or any other family members that are cooped up in their house alone. They would love to hear from you, and it will be great for you to connect!
  7. Get moving – Check out online yoga or exercise classes. Keep moving and don’t become a couch potato.
  8. Reflect – Start a gratitude journal and write something every day that you are thankful for.
    1. It can be as simple as the sun was shining, you slept an extra 10 minutes, or as big as accomplishing one of your goals. Just be sure to write something each day.
  9. Be productive – Create a daily to-do list to keep yourself on track.
  10. Dress the part – Get out of those sweatpants or pajamas and put on some jeans or even your work clothes.

On days that things become difficult, it is ok to allow it.

Let the emotions out, take a nap, or just lounge around if you need it. Whatever you do- don’t let it bring you down! Listen to your body and follow what it needs. Give yourself permission to be upset, but don’t live there. Get back into your routine once you are able to. 

Take care of your mental health, and remember we are all going through this together. You are not alone. Reach out if you need to and know that there is another side to this. It will not last forever. 

Stay well,
Dr. Jessica Papa, PT, DPT, Owner
Arancia Physical Therapy