MAINTAINING EMOTIONAL HEALTH
by Akintunde Adeoluwa
Self-care is the foundation of feeling good emotionally and building resilience is necessary to manage life’s ups and downs. Young adults often feel a lack of control of their emotions and most times conclude that there is nothing they can do about it. The turbulent nature of our everyday lives can take a real toll on our mental health, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. While it’s entirely normal to be experiencing elevated levels of sadness, stress and anxiety right now, there are several ways that we can help to feel more grounded. Here are six ways we can help to maintain emotional balance:
1. BE CONSCIOUS OF YOUR EMOTIONS
In order to balance our emotions, we first must become aware of what they actually are. Many people waste a lot of energy repressing how they feel, both physically and psychologically. But it’s important to acknowledge negative feelings rather than try to bury them. This way, you’re actually dealing with how you feel. Emotions of sadness or stress exist for a reason. They’re there to tell us something, so if you feel a negative emotion, try to allow yourself to actually feel it for a short while.
2. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
We know that getting enough good-quality sleep is important for both our physical and emotional wellbeing. Our bodies rely on a certain amount of regular sleep for a variety of essential brain and cognitive functions. However, in these uncertain times, it can often be much easier said than done as stress and anxiety can literally cause us to lose sleep, right at the time that we need it the most.
3. MANAGE THE PHYSICAL SIGNS OF STRESS
Feeling overwhelmed with stress can quickly send your emotions skyrocketing. Learning to identify the first signs of stress and figuring out how to manage it can be an effective way to balance your emotions. One of the biggest indicators of increasing stress levels is erratic breathing. If you catch yourself holding your breath, sighing frequently or breathing irregularly, take a few moments to pause what you’re doing and focus on your breathing. Breathing deeply can help you slow down and feel more grounded.
4. PRACTICE GRATITUDE
The uncertainty of our current climate can exacerbate feelings of negativity and anxiety – so taking some time each day to practice gratitude is a great way to offset these emotions. Studies show that people who regularly practice gratitude have a more optimistic outlook and are more resilient in the ways they handle difficult situations. When you’re feeling low, it can be hard to feel grateful, but focusing your mind and becoming aware of a few things in your life that you are grateful for – however small – can be a surprisingly effective way to focus on the positive and feel more balanced.
5. PRIORITISE SELF-LOVE
At stressful times, when our emotions are running wild, it can be easy to forget to be kind to yourself. When you’re feeling low, it can be tempting to feel frustrated, blame yourself, or think that if only you were stronger, tougher, or more resilient, you wouldn’t be feeling like this. But these are the times when it’s most important that we prioritise self-love and take care of ourselves, so try not to beat yourself up. Negative feelings exist for a reason. If you’re feeling emotions of anger, sadness, or loneliness, remind yourself that these feelings are perfectly valid, and there’s no shame in them.
6. GET MOVING
When you’re feeling stressed or low, it’s easy to let negativity overwhelm you. You might feel tired and sluggish, as though you just want to lie down or curl up in your favourite chair. Often, the very last thing we feel like doing when we’re overwhelmed is getting moving! Low-impact exercises like walking, yoga, leisurely cycling or even gentle stretching can help your body feel better, and aid a clearer and calmer mind. Whatever exercise you take, the important thing is that you try to incorporate it into your daily routine. You could try going for a walk after breakfast or doing some yoga in the evening. If you’ve never been someone who’s done a lot of exercises, you can find inspiration over on the healthy body section of our site. Whether you want to try exercise videos from the comfort of your own home or get out in the fresh air, we hope that you’ll find something there to inspire you.