Even before social-distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders were put into place, the act of connecting was tricky. Before this, your life might have been extremely busy, so it was tough to schedule time to see friends and family, or even take a moment to yourself. And while technology has made it easier for us to communicate with each other in seconds, it also provides a distraction or prevents us from truly staying engaged in the moment. We also might have taken our relationships and the ability to connect for granted.
But now, what feels like one million years into this, you might have learned a lot about how you communicate and how you stay connected with others with limitations at hand. You also still might need help in this department. I know I do.
For me (and maybe this is true for a lot of you reading this), I've had a lot of ups and downs in my relationships and connections during this time. I've had moments when I've gotten the chance to speak with people I don't normally keep in touch with. I've had insightful and supportive conversations with friends about current events. There have been moments of fun and silliness on Zoom and FaceTime calls. But I've also experienced extreme loneliness. I've felt depressed and so disconnected from the world and the people in my life. There have been communication problems. There's been heartbreak and distancing from some people.
And it doesn't end at your connections with others. Whether you’ve been quarantining alone or not, you've probably had a lot of time with just yourself. Maybe more than you've ever had in your life. And maybe that’s led you to taking a good long look at your relationship with yourself.
Let’s kick off this “love month” by looking after yourself and your mental health. The relationship you have with yourself is crucial to your own wellbeing and also to creating healthy and happy relationships with others. Being kind to yourself regularly is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Here’s how you can get started:
Invest in yourself. Spend 15–30 minutes each day doing something that uplifts you. It can be as simple as dusting off (oops) and filling up your forgotten diffuser and adding essential oils or maybe going for a bundled up winter walk.
Recognize self talk. We all do it. When your inner critic or an outer critic finds faults, try and find truth and exception to what is being said. If you stumble or feel you have failed, don’t beat yourself up. Act as if you were your own best friend: be kind and supportive.
Build a ritual. Do something to wind down at the end of each day. It’s so important to take that 20 mins and just let go of lists and scrolling and never-ending mental chatter. Schedule in this time for you.
Take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself. This sounds simple, but for me it is truly the hardest thing. I spend way more time thinking about all the things I haven’t done or am not doing right. Leah, our Monday Must, had a hot tip this past week. Try something like that, or just taking 5 mins in the shower to tell yourself you did good today.
Whatever you decide to do, incorporate a few new habits that can bring about a positive change to improving the relationship you have with yourself. There is incredible power in building a better relationship with yourself, and the positive effect it has on your quality of life, well-being, and ability to contribute to the lives of others.