If you’re feeling a little melancholy, you are not alone. The end of the pandemic seems in sight for Hong Kong, but it sure has been a rough ride! We’ve got some practical tips to help your mental health.
It was surreal. Listening to my husband pay tribute to his mother through a pre-recorded video being shown at her funeral in the UK, as we watched it live online from our couch in Hong Kong. Not only did we feel disconnected, it just felt wrong. How could we, and many others like us, say proper goodbyes to loved ones passed when we couldn’t get back to our childhood home?
Many of us are still processing what has been a really tough time, with a felt sense of loss of the “norm” – not just the loss of loved ones who may have passed, but loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of seeing family or their kids studying abroad and loss of freedoms. It’s certainly tested our resilience, patience and inner strength.
“There’s a mixed range of emotions; from anger to fear, sadness to guilt, frustration to helplessness, restlessness to feeling alone, isolated and more.”
The default for many is to fall back on navigating the limitations and feeling powerless to influences beyond our control. However, it is also possible to pivot by re-focusing on what’s important in life and taking care of our health and wellbeing. It might even lead you to a well-spring of opportunities; new creative inspirations, the deepening of connection to loved ones and the need to share more love and joy.
Take Charge Of What You CAN DO With These 10 Tips To Improve Your Mental Health
Do what brings you joy
This may seem counter-intuitive especially when things are feeling a bit bleak. But you can be the light in the darkness – not just for others, but for yourself. Ignite what you are passionate about to fuel joy and motivation. Whether it’s cooking, reading, exercising, watching a movie, tending to your plants, it doesn’t matter as long as it brings you joy. Doing what you love to inspire yourself will uplift your energy, make you feel happier and create an inner fulfilment.
Read more: 10 New Hobbies To Try
Create quiet time
Quiet time is not about binge-watching seven hours of Netflix, but about really going within. It’s a time to become present to “you”, to hear your inner guidance and find what makes you tick. Through this self-reflection and soul-searching, re-align to your goals and values. It’s amazing how a slight shift to follow your inner truth and inner power can make great gains in your outer life. Practising meditation and mindfulness can also help manage stress, anger, fears and other emotional charges as they arise.
Connect with others and try something new
As you go within to align to yourself, go outside of yourself too — open your heart and share with others. It’s not uncommon to avoid connecting with others, all the while feeling isolated. But sharing and connection is precisely what is needed! Reach out to those people you haven’t spoken to for a while. Create special connection and bonding time with your kids and loved ones. This also helps build community and foster positive mindsets.
Make new friendships – join a class or club, or online community if meeting in-person is difficult. What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t (yet)? Create a plan and take the first step.
Spend time in nature
Nature’s healing balm soothes our soul, uplifts the spirits, calms the emotions and stills the mind. Mindful walking is a great way to bring us back into presence, where we can feel energised and revitalized by focusing on the one now moment. Even better, create a buddy-system and go walking or hiking with a friend. Or, join one of the many groups that have been set up in HK.
Food for the soul
Read more: 7 Health And Wellness Goals For The Family
The idea is you do an activity every day for just one minute and then build up to longer. This regular routine creates momentum and you see the results of what you have achieved over time.
This could include something:
- Physical: Squats, sit ups, jumping/running on the spot
- Mental/emotional/inner self: Meditation, deep breathing, sitting in silence
- Practical: Sort out cupboards, declutter
- Creative: Draw, paint, knit, weave, build something
Focus on gratitude and celebrate success
When she was younger, my daughter used to love our Gratitude Jar. We would each write on a piece of paper something we were grateful or thankful for everyday and put the paper in the jar. At a later date, we would pull one out and that would be the focus of our “gratitude” for the day. It’s a great bonding exercise with your kids and that positive energy helps shift you into a different mindset.
Similarly, celebrate life’s wins – big or small! Whether it’s simply getting up in the morning or stepping it up by tackling a hike, give yourself recognition. This helps build resilience, maintain confidence and boost self-esteem. Include your strengths and make a point of reminding yourself of your positive qualities. Do the same for your kids.
Talk it out – in person and on paper
Talking things through with a friend, partner or trusted advisor /therapist can help you make sense of deeper feelings and channel them into something positive. Accept how you feel – rather than resist – then refocus your mind and energy to move forward. Similarly, journaling your thoughts is a great way to unburden heavy hearts and express yourself.
Take it one step further by creating a vision board or creative journal with positive intentions. As you look at this daily, that energy inspires your heart and mind.
Get the family on board by having your kids come up with “Buzz Words” and write them in bold colours around the house. Fun, play, joy, love, connection are all a great start and will remind you (and your kids), what life is all about. Add crystals to uplift you and your home environment.
Movement keeps your energy in flow. Put on a favourite track and dance with your kids. Make it intuitive – let the body move and feel yourself in mindful embodiment to access your inner self. A great way to help little and us big kids to release pent up frustrations and feelings.
Finally, keep your thoughts focused on what your life will be post-COVID. Focus on your dreams and all the things you will do – for now, they are delayed a little. This gives you the opportunity to think bigger and add even more details to your dreams and visions for your life. Get creative and experiment. Use the power of thought and manifestation techniques to create your dreams and focus on the action steps you can take to make them happen!