With all the challenges we are facing with coping with lockdown and social distancing it is understandable if you feel you are struggling to get through it.
I have put together a list of mental health tips for coping with lockdown, over two parts. In spite of the challenges we are facing right now, we do have more in control than we think we do, to create good for ourselves and others out of this difficult time. Improving your emotional health at this time can seem like an insurmountable goal but it’s not an impossible one.
It is my hope to encourage you and say that no matter how difficult things seem this situation is only temporary and what ever we try to do day to day, will help us to get through it a lot easier.
You don’t need to believe what I’m saying, the challenge now is to just try some of these things I am suggesting then the believing will come after. It just means taking a leap of faith hoping that things will be OK.
This two-part article will provide 14 ideas on things you can do in your life right now whilst coping with lockdown and social distancing. That will improve how you feel and improve the quality of your life.
The idea is that small steps can go a long way to helping you to feel better. It’s about making small changes in different areas of our lives which overtime will add up.
Also remember, it is not about trying to do all of them at once just pick one or two and when you when you are feeling okay with that move onto the next one. I have also put ideas and how you can start in each one
Don’t forget to my Instagram channel where you will get lots of useful content of a similar nature. I will also inform you when I have uploaded the second part.
1. Treat yourself
At the moment we are limited to how we can treat ourselves at home but we can still do a number of things:
- If we are going to have chocolate, make it a treat. Consider having it less but better quality.
- having a cup of tea in a beautiful China teacup in your favourite chair
- Using a foot spa with essential oils
- Going for a walk using your daily exercise allowance
- Reading a magazine on fashion, food or nice homes
- Having a bath or shower with some good quality luxurious soap or shower gel that smells nice
- Using body cream after your shower
- Having an essential oil/Epson salt bath
- Have a massage with a partner or there are plenty of ways to self-massage
- Watch a relaxing or funny DVD movie
- Listening to music, listening to something you love helps to lift your spirit. It can also help make difficult tasks that you don’t particularly like doing i.e. exercise,
- Get dressed up just for the sake of it – those beautiful item of clothing that is gathering dust in your wardrobe that you love. Choose mindfully what you dress yourself in and absorb those feelings that you are taking care of yourself.
- Play a puzzle or board game.
- meeting a friend for coffee on video link
- Make a Spotify or YouTube playlist based on your current mood.
- Buy an essential oil diffuser and try aromatherapy using essential oils.
2. Try to be more organised
If we are not careful, we can find that our days can melt into one when coping with lockdown as we become bored and numb. We may have lost our focus by not going to our jobs or other daily routines. Trying to organise a daily routine will help.
- Try and get up soon after waking up in the mornings
- Stick to your normal bedtime as if you were going to work
- Plan in advance activities to occupy your days this could include cleaning, decluttering, cooking from scratch,
- Break things down into small manageable steps and not overwhelm yourself
- Try using the Pomodoro Technique – The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by a short break
- If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed, try visualising the end result of what you will get out of the tasks you are performing
- Keep eating regularly and on time
- Plan weekly, even daily connection with friends and family
3. Eat well
Changing your diet is something that many find hard to manage. What we eat is one of the main things that affects our emotional health. Improving your diet will go a long way to helping you feel better. It is not about completely depriving yourself of things it is about trying to find healthy alternatives.
Not only would this help in terms of keeping your immune system in great shape, it will:
improve your mood
give you more energy
help you think more clearly
It is also important to eat regularly and stick to a routine of eating. If you don’t eat regularly, your blood sugar levels might drop and you would feel tired, irritable and even depressed. Choosing food such as whole grain, pasta, bread, nuts and sets, that release energy slowly will help to keep your sugar levels steady.
Avoid foods which make your blood sugar rise and fall rapidly, such as sweets, biscuits, sugary drinks, and alcohol
If you are stuck for ideas for what to cook, try exchanging ideas with a friend. This is a great way to connect with someone as well.
In addition to a healthier diet, you may want to consider supplements. There are factors such as due to over farming here in the West, our food is not as nutritious as it used to be. We also import a lot of our food in the UK so they need to be preserved to keep them fresh.
Good quality supplements such as Magnesium, Vitamin D, Omega 3, Zinc Potassium, Vitamin B1 all have mood boosting qualities without the side effects.
Please also note that tat supplements are there to supplement a good diet and it doesn’t replace a poor diet.
5. Get to know your feelings
There are so many benefits of starting to do this. It helps us to know what we want or don’t want. It helps to improve our relationships as we learn to ask for what we want and communicate our needs effectively. By also understanding our feelings we can move past them a lot easier.
I often use the Feeling Wheel as it gives a visual representation of some basic feelings that we all experience, even if we deny them or don’t know what we are feeling.
If you follow the link here, it would link to a new page where you can have a look at it. As you notice in the centre you have six emotions that we can relate to. Extending out from each of them branches out to deeper emotions that would more accurately describe how you are feeling.
6. Sleep, Meditation, rest and relaxation
A lot of people don’t know that sleep, rest, relaxation and meditation are all the same things. It is just that one is deeper than the other. Sleep is a deeper form of meditation while just relaxing is not as deep as sleeping.
The moral of the story is that if you can’t sleep, meditation is the next best thing. If you can’t meditate, deliberately relaxing is the next alternative. You will get some benefits if you try them as both meditation and relaxation will help improve your sleep.
There are studies that have shown that meditation does have a positive effect on our bodies, including the central nervous system. There are different ways of meditating.
During these uncertain times, our bodies could be flooded with stress hormones. Sleep, mediation, rest and relaxation, helps our bodies to return to how it should be.
Follow this link on the Reach Approach Website that gives you some ideas to get you started. https://www.thereachapproach.co.uk/2017/08/28/meditation-and-relaxation-introduction/
7 Use techniques to help you manage your worries
Here is a great one here
(https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/worrytree.htm – Cut and paste it in a new tab) It is a pictorial format to try and make the very process of dealing with challenging thoughts simple, clear and methodical.
Look out for Part 2 in Coping with Lockdown and Social Distancing
I am a Therapist based in Sutton Coldfield, UK also available online.
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