Looking after your mental health

So a lot has been happening in the world since I last posted on here.  This is a terribly anxious time for us all regardless of whether you have a mental illness or not but if you are already trying to deal with something then this could be a particularly tough time.

I know a lot of my coping strategies have had to go out of the window recently because of social distancing and isolating and this is difficult.  I know if I look at the news too much or overthink what is going on I start to spiral and so I am doing what I can to stay informed without loosing myself in it all.

Things that have helped me so far:

Limiting News – Just reading headlines once a day – stay informed but don’t consume too much media

Distraction – whatever you enjoy doing (in the house of course), use it to distract yourself from your thoughts.  A few ideas are as follows:  Reading, writing, playing an instrument, watching Netflix, baking, playing with your kids, playing a game, creating, crafting, colouring, yoga, online exercise classes, FaceTime, WhatsApp, zoom, cleaning, gardening.

Mindfulness – This can be really simple things such as: feeling the sun on your skin in the garden, hearing your kids laughing, feeling the ground beneath your feet, bake something and smell the aroma.  Whatever you choose to tune into, do it multiple times a day and really feel and be in that moment.

Meditation – If you can meditate.  I know people find this one hard, I also find it difficult to calve out time for it specifically but I know if you can find the time (and you should) then it will help calm your mind.  Try and find an app or podcast to support you and talk you though the process, this can help to give it some structure and make it feel more achievable.

Move around – I have definitely found I’m not hitting my step count most days but it’s important to try and keep yourself moving so we don’t cause ourselves other issues.  I have some niggling sciatic pain at the moment and I know it’s from the dramatic change in lifestyle.

Yoga –  I would highly recommend Yoga as I personally love it and I’m currently doing my teacher training but if you can carve out some time to do some exercise this is going to boost your mood for sure.

Eating well – It can be very easy to comfort eat at times like this, but try to be mindful of the knock on effect it is going to have on your mental health.  Last week I had to work long hours to fit my work in around looking after my children.  As a result I drank too much coffee and I felt the effects of this for a couple of days.  It’s not always worth the short term fix and this week I will be sticking to my usual one coffee a day.

Look for the positives – Yes it’s a difficult time and at the moment the end is pretty hard to see but try and focus on the positives which are coming out of this situation, sometimes life can be about how you choose to look at it.  For instance, I am getting to spend a lot more time with my family which although at times is hard it’s also completely amazing and an opportunity I will probably never experience again in my lifetime.  There are also environmental benefits coming from the reduction in industry which shouldn’t be overlooked and a feeling of community coming out of people, knowing we are all in this together.

I really hope wherever you are and whatever you are currently facing that you’re all OK.  Now more then ever it is so important to,

Stay Strong xxx

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