Let’s be real: life is stressful. Inflation is out of control, we’re bracing for student loan repayment, and large corporations are going through massive layoffs. The cost of living has gone up all across the country, and employees and employers are clashing over expectations for work-life balance. It’s hard not to let the stress get to us. As society slowly becomes aware of the importance of mental health, we find ourselves faced with crisis after crisis to drain it. Cynicism and pessimism are prevalent, and almost everyone is arguing.
Your home should be your safe haven. Your partner(s) is an anchor for you, and you for them. But when the stress becomes overwhelming, we don’t support each other as best we can. We start to let our health slip, and nights become sleepless.
Stop. Breathe. Yeah, there’s a lot in the world right now that’s just awful. But letting ourselves waste away or push away what good things we can find isn’t the answer. So stand up straight, grab your partner’s hand, and let’s go on a journey of wellness.
Proper sleep is essential
First and foremost, you need to be sleeping. Proper rest plays a pivotal role in our mental and physical health. The more tired you are, the more heavily everything will weigh on you. Work out a sleep schedule with your partner that allows you both to receive the best rest you can. Find what helps— a fan or fuzzy blankets? Is your neck well-supported? Do you need knee pillows? If either of you snores, you should see if your insurance will cover a sleep study— a lot of snoring has underlying medical causes like Sleep Apnea that should be addressed if you can. Sync up your alarms and help each other get moving in the morning. Have something to help you sleep and help you wake up, at least at first, while your body adjusts. Chamomile tea is great for evening relaxation, or you can consider a melatonin supplement. As for waking? Don’t skip breakfast. If coffee isn’t your favorite, consider an energizing, healthy wake-up like matcha or a fruit smoothie.
Tackle your physical health
There are plenty of workout videos on YouTube, or you can start running when the weather is nice in the Bay. If you have the means, maybe sign up for a gym or wellness classes together—even a couples dance class could help! You should also re-evaluate what you’re eating. If you aren’t getting the right nutrients, especially iron and B12, you could be experiencing excess fatigue, which just adds to the stress. If you can, get an annual wellness check with your primary doctor. Most insurances cover these, and you can get bloodwork to check on things like iron and vitamin levels. Once you know of any deficiencies, you can start researching ways to address them. A lot of issues can be addressed through diet, but some people with medical conditions need to turn to supplements instead— whatever you need to do for your body is best.
Don’t ignore emotional well-being
Your mental and emotional health is just as important as your physical. As much as you and your partner want to support each other, you should also recognize that you aren’t licensed therapists— you don’t have the tools to handle everything alone. But there are a lot of things you both (or all) can do to tackle mental health and encourage each other.
Sleep, proper diet, and exercise all affect mental health. You can also find emotional wellness apps for most smartphones that help you practice self-awareness, mindfulness, and healthy coping strategies. If you have the means, consider couples counseling in the Bay Area. Contrary to popular belief, therapy isn’t just for conflict resolution. Therapists can help you improve your communication, learn to process stressful events together, and help you gain a deeper, more intimate understanding of yourselves and each other. They can also provide you with a wealth of information and tools to help you manage your own mental health and continue to grow, even if you decide to move away from therapy. Individual therapy can also help, but it depends on your budget and schedule.
Set aside a splurge fund
Today’s economy is tough. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to put anything in the bank. But if your entire schedule is a grind, that leaves little time to mentally decompress. Sometimes, you need to set aside that little bit for a nice coffee out or to go do something together. There are also a lot of free, natural activities if you like being out of doors. If you play your cards right, you can work scheduling your splurge expense into your budget. Just make sure you are able to pay for essentials before you pull out extra. If your date night has to be some dollar-store tea lights at dinner, it’s still a start by creating soft romantic lighting for dinner. Your splurge fund doesn’t need to cover a 5-star Michelin experience— just something you can do together to have fun and relax.
There’s a lot going on in the world right now. You need to give your mind time to process. It’s pretty unreasonable to think people can just shut off all tech for a day, but you should limit your time on social media and news sites. Save your emotional energy for your immediate situation until you’re in a better place. You cannot pour from an empty cup, so let yourself have time to refill away from doom-scrolling and partisan journalism. Remember to breathe. Remember to live. And remember that you have each other.