It’s safe to say the COVID-19 pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of life as we know it. It is very common to feel that our world has been turned upside down. The pandemic has negatively impacted many people’s mental health, as 4 in 10 adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during the pandemic. This is a significant increase from before the pandemic, as the average percentage of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder increased from 11% in January 2019 to 41% in January 2021.
With the difficulties of the last year and a half, it can be challenging to get into the right mindset for pleasure. The anxiety-provoking conditions of the world today can lead pleasure and intimacy to take a backseat in our lives. But, it’s vital to prioritize intimacy, pleasure, and connection with yourself or your partner, especially in stressful times like this.
In stressful circumstances, it is very common for libido to decrease. According to a study conducted on 1,599 adults during the pandemic about sex and relationships during COVID, nearly half of the subjects reported a decline in their sex life. So, if you feel less inclined to engage in intimacy and pleasure, you are not alone.
But what can you do to help encourage yourself to prioritize pleasure and intimacy during these difficult times?
Six Tips to Boost Your Mental Health & Prioritize Pleasure
1. Make Time for Yourself
While staying home, we can become absorbed in keeping up with the news, social media, and work. Although this is important, it is equally essential to make time to care for yourself and do things that bring pleasure into your life. Setting aside time for self massage, meditation, or a nice bubble bath can make a big difference in lowering your stress and helping you prioritize pleasure. Using a massage oil or massage candle is a great way to enjoy self massage or partner massage. So, take a few hours to fill your own cup and do things that make you feel good.
2. Secure the Basics
With all the stress of living during a pandemic, we can forget to meet our basic needs. Getting enough sleep, eating good food, and getting some fresh air is vital to our physical and mental health. If your body is taken care of, it will be easier for you to get into the right mindset to enjoy pleasurable activities and get intimate. If you live with your partner, you may want to discuss how you can both ensure you are meeting your basic needs, like preparing meals together or sharing a bed time. This can bring you closer together and also improve your overall health.
3. Take a Break from the News
It's no brainer that staying informed is incredibly important at a time like this, but constantly checking the news or social media can increase your stress levels and make it more difficult to relax. Take a few hours during the day to unplug from social media and news, and focus on partaking in activities that are pleasurable for you. Relaxing with a pet or a partner, reading a book, taking a bath, or enjoying a hobby are some great ways to fill the time during this social media break.
4. Focus on What You Can Control
During a global crisis, we are faced with conditions of the world that are out of our control. Feeling a loss of control can greatly contribute to high levels of stress, so it is important to focus on what you can control. Refocusing our attention on factors in our lives that we can manage can allow us to feel more centered. Create a healthy routine for yourself at home and include stress relieving activities during your day, such as meditation or exercise, to help you manage stress. (link to articles we have on meditation and mindfulness)
5. Prioritize Intimacy
It can be easy for intimacy and pleasure to take a backseat during a global crisis. However, intimacy and pleasure are very important for maintaining a healthy mental state. Setting aside some time to indulge in intimate and pleasurable activities with yourself or your partner can be a great way to relieve stress and take a moment to step away from the chaos. Plan date nights with yourself or your partner. If you live alone, cooking dinner for yourself, giving yourself a massage, taking a bubble bath, or just engaging in self-pleasure are great ways to engage in self-intimacy. With a partner, having a date night at home, taking a bath together, and giving each other massages can encourage you to be intimate.
6. Stay Connected
This can be an isolating and confusing time, but the good news is that you aren't going through it alone. Everyone around the globe is experiencing the effects of the pandemic, and we all could use someone to talk to. Reach out to loved ones and talk about how you are feeling.
Connecting with another person you care for and sharing experiences can help you feel less alone, and give you an outlet to release stress together. You could also plan on doing activities with loved ones remotely, like going for a walk, cooking, or doing some yoga over the phone together.
This has been a stressful time for all of us, but it’s important that we don’t stop prioritizing our mental health and pleasure. Taking initiative to destress and give yourself some pleasure can help you cope with these unprecedented times.