Stress and anxiety are all too familiar to many Americans, this year especially, and the added pressure of the holiday season may provide a new set of challenges. Practicing self-care and nurturing your mental health can help you navigate these potentially isolating times, especially if you’re tackling this season single.
With so many other demands in life, taking care of yourself, including your emotional and mental well-being, may not always be at the top of your list. However, putting more emphasis on yourself and your needs can be achieved in small, measurable ways and may not only help boost your spirits but can affect your approach to dating, too.
“We believe happy and healthy relationships start with happy and healthy individuals,” said Stefan Harvalias, head of global marketing for Plenty of Fish, one of the largest global online dating companies.
Harvalias points out there are a number of ways you can alleviate stress and anxiety. While there’s no one magic formula that fits all, many people find coping easier with activities like these.
Listen to music. Numerous studies have demonstrated the benefits of music in managing mental health. Slow, mellow music can help the mind shift into a lower gear and has even been shown to influence the body’s physical state such as reducing blood pressure, pulse and heart rates. For someone with anxiety, music can be a welcome distraction from the troublesome thoughts occupying the mind. For others, music is simply a way to escape from reality and focus on something enjoyable.
Talk with friends and family. Although COVID-19 may be creating physical distance, there’s one way it can bring people together: by acknowledging your shared stress to one another. While the impacts of the pandemic vary greatly, everyone has been navigating uncertainty and change that comes with such a widespread event. A weekly check-in call or video chat with friends and family members can help you feel less alone with your feelings and experiences. Topics like mental health and mindfulness have risen to the surface of everyday discussions, removing a lot of the stigma they once had.
Seek out tools to help you unwind. If you’ve never given much thought to managing your mental health, you may not know where to begin practicing better self-care, and that’s OK. That’s where you can benefit from resources like those available through Plenty of Fish. Knowing the toll the pandemic is taking on singles, the dating app partnered with Shine, a leading self-care app, to create two free dating-related meditations developed to help singles better manage anxiety and improve mental health and wellness.
Navigating dating, work and your personal life can feel like an intense juggling act. To help find balance and feel less pressure, consider listening to the “Balance Dating While Busy” guided meditation and reflect on your energy and priorities so you can make space for dating in your life.
Although dating may look and feel different right now, it’s still doable. Shift your mindset and reflect on ways to adapt with an option like the “Navigate Dating During COVID” guided meditation.
Recognize the role of physical wellness. The mind and body are intrinsically connected, and how you take care of your body can have an impact on your mental state. This includes eating well to ensure you’re getting proper nutrition, which can positively impact your mood. Additionally, exercise releases feel-good hormones, so a quick walk around the block or a 10-minute exercise video can benefit you both physically and mentally.
Give yourself permission to disconnect. When life feels uncertain, being closely tied to an information source like your smartphone can give you a sense of security, but it can also add to your everyday stress. If you’re working from home, you may find you never fully shift out of work mode. However, it’s easy to become addicted to refreshing your newsfeed, allowing your devices to cut into time you could spend more productively. Limit your screen time to force yourself to focus on the present and activities that bring you pleasure while allowing your brain to rest, like spending time with loved ones or enjoying a good book or movie.
Keep COVID from Crushing Your Dating Game
As if single life and dating didn’t bring enough uncertainty on their own, a global health crisis has only heightened the anxiety many singles feel. Dating pressures and anxiety tied to COVID-19 were the subjects of a study by Plenty of Fish, which showed just how challenging dating has been for singles this year.
According to the survey of singles:
- 60% have experienced feelings of anxiety before going on a date
- 29% have canceled a date due to anxiety
- 44% are anxious about their date not wearing a mask
When it comes to the benefits of self-care, a majority of surveyed singles reported:
- 66% practice self-care regularly
- 87% said self-care activities reduce stress
- 78% said they feel less stressed after a self-care routine
- 50% meditate
- Alone time, exercise and pampering were listed as the top self-care activities
“Prioritizing your mental health matters more than ever,” Harvalias said. “Self-care and wellness mean something different to everyone – all that matters is that you find an outlet to disconnect and do what makes you happy.”