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BRAINZ WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS TO YOUR INBOX

10 Lifestyle Practices To Improve Your Mental & Emotional Health During A Pandemic

Written by: Kim Wilkinson, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

COVID is creating a tremendous amount of stress, grief, and loss. Not only are we facing health concerns, but we also have financial stress, loss of connection to family and friends, loss of feeling in control, loss of many familiar patterns and behaviors that bring comfort and joy, like going to concerts, going to sports/activities, travel and many other regular “routine” activities.

The following are daily routines that I personally practice and teach to all my clients. These lifestyle choices have helped me navigate some of life’s most painful challenges, including losing my 22-year-old son to overdose in 2019.


1. Let go of what you can’t control. The truth is that we will never, no matter how hard we try, never control anything outside of us. Sometimes the things we do and the things we say might influence what is going on around us, but we will never control anyone or anything outside of us. When we learn to accept this, we stop wasting time and energy on things that we will never control. The only thing we will ever have control over is within—our internal environment.


2. Take back your power. We tend to give our power away. We allow other people and other things to determine our happiness or our emotional state. When we do this, we become a slave to those people or those things. Don’t give your power away. Take it back. You decide how you are going to experience your day, your life. Your internal environment I just mentioned, you have the power to create that atmosphere. Think of your physical body as the home for your soul. You wouldn’t just let anyone into your house you live in. You would do whatever it takes to not let in danger, toxicity, and anyone or anything that has the potential to cause harm. Yet daily, we allow all sorts of negativity and toxicity to come into our home for our soul. Learn to create an internal environment that is calm, peaceful, and that feels controlled by you. When you do this, it doesn’t matter what chaos is happening around you. You are in a safe and happy place. This can be done with awareness and activating your power of choice. Meditation is also a great tool to help with this.


3. Meditate. Meditation can be the greatest medicine. Many people have a misunderstanding of what meditation is. Often people say they can’t meditate because they can’t stop thinking. Meditation is not about not having any thoughts. It is about training your brain to focus on just one thing. There are many different ways to meditate. It is a practice that can be done in as little as 5 min and can last up to several hours. 10 min of meditation daily can be life-changing! Like anything, consistency is key. Meditating once a week or until you feel the balance isn’t going to cut it. As soon as you stop, you will fall right back into old patterns and start to see the same old outcomes, the ones you are trying to avoid. If you are not sure where or how to get started, no worries, the end of this article has a link to a tonne of free resources, including free access to my online Intro to Meditation program.


4. Learn to shift from fear to love. There are only 2 places from which we can experience life: love or fear. Love is heart-based living, the soul. Fear is the ego-mind. That voice in your head, always trying to give you advice. It means well, it wants to protect you, but it doesn’t give the best advice. You are NOT the voice in your head. It is a part of you. Who you are is the one noticing the voice. We call this your soul or spirit. If you give your power to fear, it will take you to dark places, and it will keep you stuck. It will recreate your past in your future. One of the quickest and easiest ways to shift from fear to love is first to understand that you are living life from fear. If you are anxious, worrying, stuck on thoughts of the past, reactive, you live from fear. When you notice this, close your eyes, bring one or both hands on to your heart and take a few deep breaths. The physical act of bringing your hands onto your heart instantly pulls the energy from your head and brings it to your heart. It brings calmness into the body. It allows you to think more clearly and to respond instead of react. Try this the next time you need to have a difficult conversation with someone. We will always bounce back and forth between love and fear, but the more we can learn to shift back to love, the more enjoyable life will be.


5. Gratitude. There is always something to be grateful for. Even if you just got divorced, lost your job, have covid, got an eviction notice, and debt seems deeper than the earth’s core, there is still something to be grateful for. Pre-covid, statistics showed that over 160,000 die every day from illness, injury, natural causes etc. Add covid to this, and we know those numbers are much higher now. If you are reading this. You woke up today. THAT is everything to be grateful for. If you woke up this morning…..ALLELUJAH!!! You have a new opportunity to make a different choice. You have another chance to live your best life. Without that, you have nothing. Think of that tomorrow morning when you wake up. Instead of hitting snooze, complaining about having to go to work, or about having a crappy sleep, try jumping out of bed with some excitement that you simply woke up. Tomorrow morning, hundreds of thousands won’t have that chance. Be grateful.


6. Find and maintain balance. This should be common sense, and it's simple stuff, but still, many don’t practice this. This is everything from getting enough rest, good food, exercise, enough water, time in nature, and activities for our mind and our emotions. Balance comes when we give energy and attention to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Spiritual health does not mean religion or religious practices. Most people, if not everyone, believe in something. God, Universe, Source, Energy, Spirit, or higher power may be a title that resonates with you. Spiritual Health practices are routines or rituals that we do to connect to or whatever we resonate with. This can be everything from journaling, to yoga, to meditation, to chanting or singing, to breathing exercises, to nature ceremonies, and of course, church/religious ceremonies. Emotional health is probably the most neglected—everything roots in emotions. Most of us were actually taught to avoid and distract, right from the time we were kids. Our distractions from our emotions, our pain are things like food, alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, workaholism, binging Netflix, and/or spending hours on social media. At the end of this article, you will find more resources and information to better support your emotional health. I strongly suggest making your emotional health a priority. It is here that we find freedom from our past and learn to manage future stressful situations better.


7. Personal Growth & Development. We all want something better, different, or more. If you want a different outcome, you need to do something different. This means learning to think differently, learning to respond differently, expanding your consciousness. This is what changes our limiting beliefs and allows us to grow and to achieve. Read some motivational or inspiring books, sign up for an online course, never stop learning.


8. Forgive. Forgiveness is giving up the hope of a different or better yesterday. Read that last sentence again. Perspective can make or break you. This is part of managing our emotional health and very difficult for many people to do. Holding on to resentment only affects you. It isn’t as easy as “just let it go,” but with a clear understanding and the right action, you can let it go. Healing and recovery comes from action. Freedom comes from forgiveness.


9. Make Conscious choices. This means responding from love rather than reacting from fear. It means thinking before you speak or act and make the best possible choice for the best possible outcome. It means practicing awareness and being present and not just living on autopilot.


10. Be Kind. The world is on fire. You can add water, or you can add fuel. The world needs more love right now. Being kind will not only make you feel better, but it can also turn someone’s mood, day or life around. People we view as being “unkind, uncaring, inconsiderate” are living life from fear. Our actions and responses towards them can drive them deeper into fear or can help them shift into a place of love. Be kind to all.


For FREE resources and additional supports for managing Mental and Emotional Health, please click here and visit my page.


For more information on the Grief Recovery Program, visit my website or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Read more from Kim!

Kim Wilkinson, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kim Wilkinson is an expert in Emotional Health and in helping people to move from SUFFERING to EMPOWERMENT. Through her own family struggles with Mental Health, PTSD, Addiction, and Traumas, including losing her 22-year-old son to overdose, Kim found healing, recovery, and transformation. Most of all, through this journey, what Kim found was purpose and a passion for helping others. Kim's approach with clients is one of compassion, non-judgment, and patience. She knows firsthand how applying specific tools and techniques can bring healing and recovery and bring abundance and success in all areas of life.


Kim continues to work a few days a week at the Addiction Treatment Centre that her son attended. However, most of her time is focused on supporting people through Grief Recovery (online and in-person).


A message from Kim "The whole world is grieving right now, and we all have unresolved grief. It's time to learn how to take care of our Emotional Health and break the cycle of Mental Health concerns and find an end to our suffering."

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