With the government announcing an extension to the lockdown for at least another three weeks, its understandable that many people will be wondering whether they can mentally make it. Periods of uncertainty can take their toll on our mental health, especially when our usual routines have been thrown to the wind so we’ve pulled together a few tips to try and help you during this time.
It’s important that we don’t drift into our own thoughts too much, or let the negativity around the pandemic get to us, so creating some structure to your day can help prevent boredom and keep anxiety at bay. Maybe set a specific time for your meals, and breaks for work, as well as scheduling time for family, exercise and even yourself.
Ensuring your schedule some time in for exercise is valuable for your mental wellbeing. We know it can take some discipline sometimes but try to make this a priority. Exercise is not only a great way to blow of some steam and destress, but it releases chemicals in your brain which trigger positive feelings.
It has been scientifically proven that just 30 minutes of nature and being outside can reduce your risk of developing depression and heart disease, and has a huge impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. So, utilise this and where possible try to exercise outside, just ensure you keep to the social distancing rules.
This is a much-used technique that just helps us make sense of what’s real and what’s not, especially in a world where the media is bringing us new information every minute of every day and where things are constantly changing
- Stay in the moment - Some of us will have felt that we have gained more time now that we’re not travelling to work or going out much. We might be slowing down – and that might be a positive thing to come out of this experience. But it might also lead to more thinking time, which is important to keep in perspective. Try to catch yourself during that thinking time and acknowledge that it’s led by thought and that thought isn't real – it isn’t our true experience.
- Breathe - If you ever feel overwhelmed, take a moment and practice deep breathing. It works brilliantly for controlling your brain’s fight or flight mode and restores calm in your thinking.
- Write it down - Being thankful for what we often take for granted is hugely beneficial – over the years we have become obsessed with growth and the next thing to do, and we’ve forgotten how lucky we are to have such wonderful people, spaces, and experiences in our lives. Keep a book and write some of those reflections down. Write down what you’re grateful for right now.
- One task at a time - This is probably a time to take on less and hold something back for you. Prioritising in our new situation can prevent feelings of being overwhelmed. I use ‘to do’ lists, and I’m quite firm about what goes on it and what I just let happen anyway, so the list doesn’t get too long. Allow yourself a bit of extra time for important tasks too.
Be easy on yourself
This isn’t a time for perfection, or guilt if something doesn’t go to plan, so don’t beat yourself up. Things are going to be different for a while, and everyone’s experiencing those changes, not just you.
So whilst there’s some ideas to help – you can’t expect to be able to do them all, all of the time… and that’s okay!
Remember, we’re all in this together.