Your most important asset isn’t your car, your house, or even your professional expertise; it’s your mental health.
The rest of your life relies on your mental wellbeing. Especially while the world is facing COVID-19, you have to protect it with every tool available to you — including your online calendar.
What Your Calendar Can Do for You
Your online calendar can’t change your mental state by itself, but it can help you implement and maintain healthier habits. You might be surprised at just how much your mental health improves when you:
1. Schedule Breaks
Going full-throttle all day, every day is exhausting. If you don’t permit yourself to take a step back, you may begin to burn out. Scheduling short breaks throughout your day can help you stay productive without getting overwhelmed.
It can be tough to take breaks when things are hectic. That’s where your online calendar comes in: If it never seems like a good time to take a break, schedule one every few hours. Your calendar can be set to remind you 10 minutes before it’s time, letting you wrap up what you’re working on.
2. Take a Mental Health Day
Frequent breaks throughout the day are helpful, but sometimes you need a full day to yourself. Although it’s best to schedule mental health days for weekends, don’t be afraid to talk with your employer if you need one stat.
Once you’ve decided on the right day, add it to your calendar. Either put together an itinerary for yourself — replete with food and fun activities — or give yourself an unstructured day. There’s no wrong way to do it!
3. Remind You to Move
Regular exercise is tightly correlated with better mental health. Physical activity feels good, takes your mind off your stressors, and gives you something to do with friends.
Why not use your online calendar to put together a workout schedule? That way, you don’t have to decide at the moment whether or not you want to work out — and if so, what exercises you’ll do. After a few days, physical activity will be just another part of your daily routine.
If you’d rather attend fitness classes or play a team sport, your online calendar is also a great place to record those sessions. Add other attendees to the event to create some positive social pressure.
4. Set and Achieve Goals
Setting goals gives us something to work toward, and achieving them provides a sense of fulfillment. That’s why many experts recommend goal-setting for both mental wellbeing and productivity.
Goals should be:
- Specific: What, exactly, do you want to achieve? Instead of becoming happier, maybe you want to have five low-stress days each week.
- Measurable: If your goals aren’t measurable, you’ll never know whether or not you’ve met them.
- Achievable: There’s no sense in setting a goal you have no hope of achieving. Shoot too high, and you’ll only discourage yourself.
- Relevant: If your priority is your mental health, your goal shouldn’t be to get a promotion. Do you really need more responsibilities at work right now?
- Time-bounded: A goal without a time horizon attached is just hope. When is a challenging but realistic amount of time for achieving your goal?
5. Schedule Affirmations
Self-affirmations are mantras designed to encourage during moments of hardship. They take little time to say but can deliver big mental health benefits.
Even something short, such as “I won’t give up,” can do wonders when you’re feeling down. Repeat them as often as needed. If you worry about others judging you for talking to yourself, step into a private space.
6. Start a Journal
Sometimes, a little self-reflection is all it takes to get yourself to a better mental state. Remind yourself that if you’re looking for reasons to be sad, you’ll find them. Looking for the good instead can help you see things from a more positive perspective.
Journaling doesn’t take hours to work its magic. Start with a five-minute session: Add a reminder to your calendar to reflect on something that makes you happy. Soon, you’ll be reminding yourself to save your gratitude journaling for the time slot you selected.
7. Eat Well
The food we eat directly affects our emotional state. Eating a healthy, balanced diet ensures our brain has the nutrition it needs to be at its best.
Online calendars are ideal tools for meal planning. Mapping out what you’re going to eat makes it easier to stick to a diet or, perhaps, more importantly, limit the unhealthy foods you spoil yourself with.
8. Get Into a Groove
Adding structure to your life helps you feel in control. While scheduling every minute of your day isn’t always necessary, using your calendar to establish a healthy routine is critical. Moving forward with your routine can give you a sense of optimism even when the odds are stacked against you.
A good place to start is a morning routine: What do you need to be your happiest, most productive self at work? Routines are also important for other times of day, such as bedtime: How do you prefer to wind down, especially when you have a lot on your mind?
You have to make your mental health a priority because no one else will. Think through what you need to take care of yourself, and use your online calendar to make it happen. Remind yourself — as often and in as many ways as you can — that you deserve to be happy.