5 Ideas For Staying Mentally Healthy When Times Feel Sketchy

Laura Quick with her dog on mental health
Words by Laura Quick

Look, I get it. Life feels a bit out of control right now... any control freaks (or recovering control freaks like me 💁🏻‍♀️) in the house!? I promise I won’t pretend to have all the answers—or really any answers for that matter—but here are a few things that keep me healthy. Maybe they will help you too!

1. Stay in your own little Red Wagon.

I used to have an elementary school substitute teacher that would draw a red wagon on the board. She would explain to each student at the beginning of the day that we were only responsible for our own “red wagon.” If I’m being honest I always repeated it behind her back in a mocking tone—but y’all, for real. When things feel out of control and so many things are in the air...you know what you can do? Tend to yourself. YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF YOU. Don’t let the noise in this moment of chaos throw you off of what works.


2. Start every day with GRATITUDE.

Everyone is different. Personally, every day before I open my eyes completely I run through a short list and thank God for the first things that pop up in my mind. (Tip for non morning people: Maybe it would help to write them before you go to sleep at night and leave them on your bedside table. Let it be the first thing you see when you wake up! ) Sometimes it is something amazing—like miracle level I’m walking through—but sometimes it is as simple as my bed, my healthy children, my husband, food to eat, and shelter over my head. There is something special about making gratitude the way I start my day. I am already pointing in a different direction than if I wake up, stub my toe and realize I’m already behind. Focus on WHAT YOU HAVE, not what you lack. This will help keep these things front of the mind as you navigate your day.


3. Go for a walk.

Take your dog, take your spouse, or take your kid...but go for a walk. There is something about going for a stroll with someone you love that gives you permission to just chat. I started taking my 16 year old son for walks a little over a year ago. If I’m being honest, it was so we would be in public place with witnesses and I couldn’t kick his butt. I had someone once tell me about the power of a walk—and man, what I thought was going to be a royal butt kicking has actually turned into my favorite weekly tradition with him. Conversations are hard with teenagers (or anyone when we are inundated with fear or uncertainty), but I promise your favorite peaceful and meaningful moments are one walk away. Go for a walk for your heart and your mind. Oh, and don’t forget to talk!


4. Pick a work spot.

If you are in a position to work from home and that isn’t your normal, pick a designated “work spot.” Maybe this sounds crazy, but your home is for “home stuff.” You know—you cook dinner here, hang out with friends or kids or husbands, and hopefully some combo of all of those. So, when I need to work from home, I have ONE SPOT. It is a space at our dining table that I would never sit at dinner. When I sit in this particular chair I know it is time to be productive. And listen, I’ve done it all sorts of ways. I have be-bopped from the sofa to a barstool and all the places in between—but there is something about declaring a space as YOUR WORKSPACE. It will allow you to be done when you are done with work, and it will trick your mind into being present and not thinking about watching another episode of Billions like you would if you were sitting on the sofa.



Just because we are minimizing our social interactions for a few weeks to kick Covid-19’s butt does not under any circumstances mean that you need to stop “hanging out.” It does mean we will have to be more intentional about what that means! Zoom calls might be the way you do potluck this week. Maybe you FaceTime with your therapist (I know I will), or download Marco Polo and go crazy with your friends. Whatever you do, be intentional with your people. Love on them, and let them love on you. Maybe you and your friend group think of a cool way to give back and pool your money to order groceries for a shut in who needs it—but stay CONNECTED to your people! We need each other now more than ever.