Accio Self-Care! Magical Tips for Managing Your Mental Health
Time for witches, wizards, and all magical persons to take care of themselves! Right now, the world is a frightening, uncertain place. Many of us are probably experiencing anxiety and other mental health issues. As Dumbledore says in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,
Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” (695)
Mental health issues don’t go away if we ignore them. Fear, anger, and sadness are a part of life. Ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist will make things worse in the long term. While it may be difficult, it’s important to face our feelings head-on.
Thankfully, the Potter books are there to help us cope. Many folks have used Potter as a tool to manage their mental health since the books came out over 20 years ago. Here are some magical tips to help all of us find our way through these trying times.
Write in your very secret diary.
Even Tom Riddle took the time to write down his thoughts and feelings at the end of the day. Try writing down what you’re thinking in a journal. If writing doesn’t work for you, consider talking to a trusted loved one, or take your feelings to a mental health professional. Many mental health professionals offer phone and video sessions, which is invaluable at this time!
Don’t spend all your time reading the Daily Prophet, and avoid the Quibbler!
News sources and social media are filled with difficult information at the moment. Try limiting how often you check for updates to a certain time period every day. When you are online, make sure to stick to trustworthy sources. There may be folks out there trying to sell you powdered dragon claw solutions, so make sure to look at unknown sources with a skeptical eye.
Spend some time conditioning for the next Quidditch season.
Even though Muggle quidditch has been canceled, we can still keep moving during this time of social distancing. If you’re missing your usual physical activity, try moving around at home! Spin around like a crazy elf dancing by himself in your kitchen, stretch like Crookshanks first thing in the morning, and try digital workouts so you’re Quidditch-ready come the end of this isolation period.
Eat like a Weasley.
Nutrition is so important for mental health all the time! Keep strong by eating plenty of food. Eat a wide variety – everything from Molly Weasley’s nutritious, delicious dishes to your favorite snacks like Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Botts, and Cockroach Clusters.
Consume butterbeer, firewhisky, and other magical libations with caution.
Sometimes mind-altering substances can exacerbate symptoms of mental illness. Consume mindfully, and make sure to reach out to someone you can trust if you think you’re struggling with substance use.
Master the Scouring Charm.
When you’re feeling anxious, try to focus on what you can control! We can reduce our personal risk of catching the virus and the risk we’ll unknowingly spread it to others by washing our hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, avoiding touching our face, staying home as much as possible, and following all guidelines from health authorities. (Pro tip: The Hogwarts School Song as it’s sung in the films is just about 20 seconds long.)
Listen to your favorite wizard tunes.
Give the Weird Sisters a listen, or turn on your favorite Celestina Warbeck tune! If you don’t have access to the wizarding wireless, you can stream your favorite songs from the Potter soundtracks on Spotify. For those of you with extra free time right now, this is a great time to check out Wrock music if you’ve never gotten into it.
Read comforting childhood classics like The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
Remember when your caregivers would read you wonderful tales like “The Fountain of Fair Fortune” and “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump”? Returning to your favorite stories is a great way to promote mental health. We recommend giving the Potter series a reread or a rewatch!
Use Floo powder to check in with friends and family!
Even while we’re social distancing, we can still stay in touch with our loved ones. Use some virtual Floo powder and make a video call to the people you care about. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean we’re completely alone. We’re all in this situation together!
If you want to hear more about Harry Potter and mental health, check out our podcast Beyond the Veil. We talk to Potter fans around the world about how the series has helped them manage their mental illnesses, get through difficult times, and overcome major obstacles.