Published: Tuesday, 23 March 2021
Written by Alicia Casey
Mental wellness looks different for everyone, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The things that work for one individual will likely not work the same way for you. This is the beauty of the mental well-being spectrum and all its vastness. This just means that we are all unique and there are many ways beyond breathing exercises and meditation to calm our busy minds.
For me, in this virtual world, I’ve played into the idea that there isn’t one perfect solution to release tension. Instead, I have been feeding the thought-process that my wellbeing needs are dynamic, and a coping strategy that works for me one day, may not work the next – and I recognize that this is completely okay.
In this way, I don’t stick to one method of stress relief and instead, I look towards things that will make me feel better in the given moment. For me, in this experience of working and learning from home the most powerful thing I have learned has been adopting expectation-free activities that help me take better care of myself.
These activities are designed to help me free my mind from external and internal stressors. They remind me to evaluate my thoughts and move on from the distracting “mental sticky-notes" that pop up during my day. My process to wellness is simple and subjective, I have crafted it so that it can change with the changing mood of my days and follow me wherever I go.
It goes a little like this: I start by telling myself, "you are worthy of support" and I continue by asking myself, "what are some things I can do right now to support my wellness?" Then, I pull up the Notes app on my phone and I begin reading the list of "moment reframers" that I have carefully crafted for myself. They go like this:
"Can you do something right now that is nostalgic?
Can you do something right now that gets you moving?
Can you do something right now that lets you escape?
Can you do something right now that makes you feel like you’re on top of the world?
Can you do something right now that puts this current moment in perspective?"
These thought points help my brain look at the bigger picture of what’s going on around me and not become attached to tense thoughts. When I’m placing importance on the things that bring me comfort, I find that’s when joy follows.
These questions are a real-life escape that anyone can use, although our answers may look different, they are no less valid. For me, my answers may look like this one day: watching an old Disney comedy, dancing to my favorite song in my room, watching the clouds in my backyard, reading a time-stopping poem or going to a virtual concert – and they may change the next.
I wonder what methods of self-care work best for you. There is so much that we can learn about ourselves in these uncertain times. If there’s a strategy that's effective and feels like a warm hug, stick with it. And if you’re not sure what practice you like best, know that there is something out there for you – you just have to look for it.
Alicia Casey is a second-year student at CSULB majoring in public relations and minoring in communications studies. She also works as a communications assistant for the ASI Communications team. Alicia writes various stories for Beachfront and serves on the campus’ student health and wellness committee. If you have story ideas, please feel free to message us at firstname.lastname@example.org.