Finding it difficult to switch off the bad news button in your head? Does the 5pm daily briefing send your anxiety into a spin? You are definitely not alone, but keeping a level head in this scary time is so important for your ongoing health and wellbeing.
Our daily activities have never been so closely restricted and our lovely homes have suddenly become (very comfy) glorified prisons. For those with a lack of outdoor space or with small children, these restrictions can feel particularly onerous.
This new world is unprecedented, pretty terrifying and seems unending. So how do we navigate these negative feelings without getting bogged down?
Here’s a guide on how to alleviate those overwhelming feelings and keep a level head:
It’s important to exercise/stretch and you should do this shortly after waking up and a few times throughout the day.
One of my favourite stretches is a simple palm tree stretch. Stand with your feet about hip width apart and your arms beside you. Gently bring the arms above your head and interlock the fingers, join both hands and palms face upwards. Using gentle deep breaths raise the palms upwards as far as you can. If you are comfortable bring the feet up onto tip toes for a couple of breaths and then bring the feet back to the ground. With the arms still interlocked stretch from side to side and left to right.
Daily yoga practice is a great addition to your one outdoors exercise and will leave you feeling more mobile and mentally relaxed.
It’s hard to resist the call of the fridge or snack cupboard at the moment and many of us turn to food when we are bored or feeling anxious. It’s important to try and resist this urge so I would suggest three balanced meals a day and if possible, a daily dose of vitamin supplements like a multivitamin.
Try to eat food that keeps your immune system healthy. One way to think of a balanced plate is to add as much colour as possible. Eating proteins such as chicken or fish alongside vegetables, legumes and so on is a great way to incorporate more variety into your diet.
Keep hydrated. This is more important than ever, and you should try to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. Warm water is a great option and aids digestion. While it is instinctive to reach for tea, coffee or alcohol, moderation is key.
Whenever you get the opportunity to rest you should take it. With everything that is going on, your system may feel a bit shell shocked and you might experience more fatigue than usual. We are all just trying to acclimatise. Sleep and rest provide valuable rejuvenation to the entire body and immune system.
This might sound easier said than done but it’s so important to try and contain those negative feelings and replace them with positive actions and thoughts.
Fear and stress can have negative physical effects, so it is important to accept that right now, what’s happening is out of your control. Surround yourself instead with things that make you happy – whether that’s music, prayer or laugher.
As well as being in touch with your elders and other family members as often as you can, check in with your friends, especially those you have not spoken to for a while.
It’s so easy to send a quick text message or email but hearing someone’s voice during this time is so powerful and reassuring. Video calls can also help you to feel more connected. Staying in touch and checking in helps to avoid feelings of loneliness and hopelessness.
Self-care & Self-love
Do something for yourself once a day, don’t make excuses. Everyone is busy, many of us have children or partners demanding our time and attention, but taking a few minutes for yourself is imperative.
Emotional overload can be exhausting and may impact your health and wellbeing. Have more patience and love for yourself, sounds trite but in actual fact, it’s extremely important. From having a bubble bath, to some quiet reading time – switch off the screens and tune into yourself.
Keep a diary or journal to document this time in lockdown. Each day take the time to write down a few things you’re grateful for. After each entry, write ‘thank you’. This practice will help you to feel more positive and to focus on the good things in your life.
Above all, remember that this situation is not forever, and that we are all in the same position.
Be kind to yourself.