This is a trying, unprecedented time for everyone. Kids are at home, everyone is working from home or off work altogether. We're under strict lockdown restrictions and must stay within 5km of our house. The feelings of uncertainty for what lies ahead are scary and overwhelming. I have put together some tips on things you can try to bring you a little bit of structure and strength that will help you to feel better as we create a pathway to recovery.
1. Be kind to yourself.
During times of stress and uncertainty it is very easy to project negative feelings onto ourselves. One of the best things that you can do is to be kind to yourself and treat yourself with love and respect. This is not a time to spend being tough on your body or beating yourself up for eating to much or drinking a bit more alcohol or missing a workout you planned.
Your mood and mental health suffer when you are fighting with yourself. Sit for a minute and see what your body and your mind really need right now. Eating well and moving the body are great ways to release feel-good chemicals in the brain. Park the negative thoughts and do something today that will make you feel good. Did you know that if you wrap your arms around yourself giving yourself a big hug that you release oxytoxin? This is a feel-good hormone and can help to boost your mood!
2. Create a Success Bank
This is a sure-fire way to boost your mood and help to lift negative feelings. I know from experience that this is a rather tough exercise nevertheless so rewarding. Writing down 50 things that you are proud of and things that you have done. This is the basis of starting your success bank and then you continually build on it. This can be updated throughout your life and when you are feeling that you are not good enough or having a down day revisit it and see all the little successes that has shaped who you are. The more you add to it the more resilience you build up in yourself.
3. Stop dwelling on things you can’t change
There is a global pandemic. It’s a very worrying time. Your job may be affected. A loved one might be sick or you may have lost someone dear to you. We all worry and feel the pain of the situation and this is completely natural. With high levels of uncertainty, feeling overwhelmed is normal. However, it is not helpful is to dwell on things that we have no control over. Right now, grab a piece of paper and write down all the things that were causing you worry, stress and grief right in this moment. By writing them down it helps to halt them from buzzing around in your head and placing them on the page it can help to calm the mind. Then write beside each point whether you can control it or whether it is out of your control. For the items out of your control, you need to bring your awareness that you can’t waste energy and time on things that are outside of your control and need to let them go. You can control how you react and you control your attitude, so focus on the things that your able to influence and stay positive in your approach.
4. Create a self-care road map.
What are the things that you can do to make yourself feel amazing? Many of us never even stop to think about it, now is the time to create a compelling list of activities that sing to your heart, helping you to feel great. Activities might include curling up with a mug of coffee and reading a good book, taking a long bath candles and music, or even looking at old movies, photos or calling a friend for a catch up. Make your list and make time to spend some time on yourself and your self-care. Carve out time for yourself away from distractions. You deserve it.
Most of u are used to a routine. This is what gives us structure in our life, separates work from homelife, creates an agenda and a plan for our day and week. Rocketing into lockdown and having to work from home or being on temporary lay-off throws everything into disarray. Then add home schooling and limited travel and it can have catastrophic effect on our overall wellbeing and mental health. I urge you to plan forward and make a regular routine. Make a daily plan. Having goals that adding structure and ticking them off as you achieve them will help keep you focused and busy. Be sure to include your daily exercise and down time.
The thing that we often crave the most when we consider going back into the real world is being able to meet friends and family again. Who knows what that is going to look like or when it might happen so it is vitally important that you stay connected. Zoom is the new pub, café and quiz spot but its just as important to pick up the phone to loved ones and chat the old-fashioned way or write a letter. The other connection you need to make is with yourself. Check in and make sure you are doing okay and reach out for the support when needed. Listen to your true self use this time to really find out what makes you happy and fulfilled.
7. Keep a journal
Writing in your journal is a proven way to reduce stress, calm the mind, release pent up emotions and detach from what’s happening in the world right now. It helps you to let go and to view the world more clearly. It is a tool that is helpful for anxiety and helping to bring mental clarity. It simply means writing down your thoughts and feelings and keeping a note of them. Try it today and feel the benefits. Another creative way to use your journal is to write three things daily that you are grateful for. This helps you to see the beauty in the little things that surround you every day building a gratitude journal is an empowering way to improve your outlook and bring a positive mindset.
Now more than ever we need to move and be active. You may have heard about the people that are running marathons on their balconies but this is not for everyone! What can be really beneficial is getting outside breathing fresh air daily within the 5km zone, walk, play fetch with the dog or football with the kids. It does not need to be torture or the hard slog. Think of activites that might not feel like exercise and give them a go. There are so many online free fitness classes jump in and try them out (like @vickey_thewellnessguru and her Free Yoga and Cardio Get Sweaty Classes throughout the week week)
9. Put the feet up!
Put the feet up, is an old saying for relaxation and there is proven merit behind it. When you put the feet up you naturally assist your cardiovascular system helping to bring the blood from the legs back to the heart. It detoxifies the organs but the most beneficial aspect is that when you focus on closing the eyes and taking long deep breaths you calm to the nervous system, anxiety levels can reduce, heart rate and stress levels also reduce. Its super easy to do and available for everyone. Lie down with your legs resting up the wall. Close your eyes and breath slowly. I love to wrap up in a blanket to keep warm and try it for 5- 10 minutes when your feeling stressed or at the end of the night before bed.
10. Dance like nobody is watching-
Dancing does wonders for your physical health, mental health, and your heart. It improves posture and working at home off the kitchen table may not be ideal for your posture. It’s a fun activity and also eases stress and anxiety. Pump up the volume, dance like nobody is watching!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, stay safe and well.
Follow https://www.instagram.com/vickey_thewellnessguru/Vickey Nolan on instagram for online classes and more tips on staying well and healthy during the lockdown