Whether you’re an essential worker, a parent juggling full-time work with caregiving responsibilities, or currently unemployed, the pandemic has likely introduced significant mental health challenges into your life. On top of that, going through months of isolation and political stress without our usual self-care tools (like spending quality, in-person time with loved ones) can make it all the more difficult to cope.
Getting through such a year is accomplishment enough, and putting pressure on ourselves to reach big self-improvement goals during this time risks leading to more burnout. But taking care of our mental health is a necessity. It’s what helps us get through everything else, even if we’ve had to redesign how we tend to our emotional wellbeing while staying at home.
In place of social outings or in-person therapy, small, affordable, and convenient options have become good tools in strengthening our mental health: taking a walk, calling friends, or challenging ourselves with an achievable task like a puzzle or a language-learning app. So have remote therapy and more accessible books, classes, or podcasts about therapy or psychology.
The conditions that made life so strange and difficult in 2020 unfortunately won’t vanish in 2021. So I asked my colleagues to share some of the things that have helped them feel better over the last year. You can find our favorites below, in case any of them may pique your interest, too.