We have been through it once, but it's never the same, and we all experienced lockdown in different ways, and so many say "yes I'm fine" and/or "whatever, it wont last". There is always an element of anxiety and nervousness about change and I wanted to check in with everyone as well as provide practical ways we can protect our mental health when we’re spending a lot more time at home and away from loved ones.
So we will be looking at ways we can help ourselves and feel less alone when we our house is also our work place. As well as ways to support ourselves for now and going forward. It's always a good plan to have a few tools in our arsenal to choose from when things get a little tough for us.
Practical ways we can protect our mental health when we are spending more time at home and away from people.
6 Tips to protect your mental health at home:
Set a guideline and boundaries around what you want your work hours to be, when you feel you areyour most productive, and give yourself adequate breaks. Frame your day with a start, middle and end of your working day so you can mentally switch on and off. Making time to have mini breaks. This is more important than ever now, but actively get up and work around, change location, make a drink, eat, rest during your working day.
The commute to work is a powerful way to get into your work "space", and difficult when wfh. Get outside before you start work to get some fresh air, whether its walking, running, a few stretches, but do it outside so you can come back to "start work".
Phone a friend.. No its not who wants to be a millionaire, but its important not to be in the zone andthen find a few days have passed and you realise you haven't even spoken out loud let alone to anyone. So make sure you speak to someone and maintain a social contact as much for yourself as it is for others. It could be your neighbour, your family, loved ones, work colleagues, friends etc - keep topping up with social interaction to boost morale.
Check in with yourself, everyday. Wake up, dont reach for the phone immediately, but lay there and just let your thoughts go inwards and feel your feelings, do a body scan. How are you? What do you need? How can you help yourself today? In addition, check in with others, making time for others isjust as important and to cherish the support circle you have and ensure everyone is being heard and listened to
Write a list of 3 things you would like to achieve that day, that will help you feel good.
If you work for yourself, reach out to people to seek advice or help provide a sounding board to your thoughts, so you can be productive. Or if you work for a employer, arrange catch ups to check in, gain support and know where you are at. We all need to feel valued and validated and it's an important part of our working day to know we are doing well, so if it's not obvious. Ask for it.
Ways to deal with Covid Related Anxiety.
First and foremost, you need to start with yourself. You have to fill your cup up before you can help others so as much as it is sounds selfish.. Being kind to yourself is the first priority. Feel your feelings and if we feel fear, treat it with kindness and love and don't let the negative naysayers get in there. It's okay to not be okay and how you feel is exactly how you feel, not everyone will understand that and thats okay as we all dealing with everything in our own special way. We are unique and precious and need to treat ours and others feelings with kindness at all times as we dont know whats going on under eh surface.
Your anxiety is not any less valid than anyone else's and needs to be nurtured and addressed with respect, so always try to speak lovingly to yourself.
I have struggled a lot with this, as the moment you switch on Twitter, you can be bombarded with news, numbers, forecasts of what they expect to happen and before you know it, you don't want to leave your bed. This is not helping our anxiety, nor can we think straight so we have a tendency to embellish in our heads, so much that once it started as a tiny seed, suddenly becomes an all consuming mountain you cant overcome.
There is so much information about Covid-19 that it can be overwhelming. You might find it useful to reduce your social media time, not watching the news, and if you want to stay in touch, ask someone to provide you tidbits of important messages when needed and no more, so you can focus on bringing clarity and peace to your mind and body.
Focus on the things you can control. Your actions, your feelings, and if you know reading this wont help, then take a holiday from the negativity for a while, until you are feeling more centred to deal with it logically.
Focus on what you can do to help make you and others feel safer when you are out and about, follow the guidelines and use the simple preventative actions in place. For more information: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/hea...
MIND & BODY WELLNESS
Getting the best out of your life, get a good nights sleep, take the extra naps when you need them. Getting outside and getting some nature and exercising in whatever way you feel is good for your body and mind is so important to your mental health and immunity. Drink lots of water, try to work fresh veg and fruit into your diet.
Look at ways to improve your health and that could be impacting your anxiety levels, switching from coffee to a chocolate shot to reduce the caffeine induced jitters and wake up energised and clear minded.
Negativity is our own fear manifested and isn't usually based on facts but more to do with our imaginations getting the better of us and focusing on the negativity. Learn to stop listening to your demons and focus on the positive. There are multiple ways to do this:
Putting post it notes on the fridge with affirmations
Head to the Greatness Guide to click on our motivator
Take a deep breath in for 5, and breathe out for 5 a few times. Try this
Body scan starting at your toes, working all your way through your body
Make a relaxing soothing hot chocolate to bring you back to feeling grounded
Take your socks off and let your feet feel the earth (or carpet), to feel supported.
Use a guided meditation app such as Calm or Headspace
THE ART OF SAYING NO
A lot of people and myself included, has struggled with this in the past, saying no and feeling immediately guilty because I am letting them down, and then i feel terrible and my anxiety increases. No is okay to say to people. It is not an insult to someone, it is not saying you hate them, it is simply you taking stock of your feelings and respecting what you can and cant deal at that moment in time. Now more than ever, it is more important. Learning the art is a skill but there is also a fine line and if you feel you are saying no to *hide*, then you need to go back to checking in with your feelings and reaching out and asking for help. Asking for help is not a weakness, remember it is a strength because you are respecting your boundaries and feelings. Be true to your sense of self to make a positive impact on your mental health.
This a difficult one and in particularly right now and can cause untold anxiety to our lives, so try to get outin front of it. See what is available to you to help, whether thats taking a mortgage holiday, HMRC help fordeferring payments. Speak up and ask what options are available rather than sinking into a sea of panic. Once you have it out in the open, the solution is much easier to find and will help your panic, anxiety levels lower. More Information can be found here
Lockdown has been different for everyone and myself included, I have made huge changes, which has been the right thing for me, however do what works for you. Stay in your zone, whether thats big changesor maintaining a normal routine, dont let others sway you from something that is putting undue stress upon yourself. Respect where you are and what you want and know that whatever you decide is right for you.
At the end of the day, we are all in this and lets be kind to ourselves and each other and be thankful of everything that is in our lives. Write a list of 5-10 things that you are grateful for. The more you write, the more you will find and will start to see more and more to be grateful for like the sound of water running, sunshine on our faces, jumping in puddles, kicking up leaves, speaking to a friend, smiling at a stranger etc