I have noticed this last week that things are weighing really heavy on people. It can be a lot, everything that we are going through in a pandemic. It is completely normal if you are not feeling your best self when you feel like your life is in chaos. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself when you are stuck in lockdown.
Keep active: one thing that is going to help you take care of yourself is by keeping active. We all know that exercise if good for our physical and mental health. Just 20-30 minutes a day is enough to have an impact on you. There is loads of different types of movement you can add into your day, walking, yoga, YouTube workouts. Pick something that you are interested in doing. If you find it difficult with motivation, I suggest getting it out of the way first thing in the morning so you have less time to pile up the excuses.
Find something that is uplifting: this can be something you watch, read or listen to. I have been watching a lot of stand-up comedy on Netflix lately because it is light and easy and puts me in a better mood. When you can’t control the outside world you can still control your inside world, including things that will improve your mood.
Take a break from things that are weighing you down. If you notice when you are on social media it is just making you feel worse about everything, get off it. If you find constantly talking about covid is increasing the stress you feel around it, change the subject. You have a choice to stop allowing things into your day that are not serving you right now. Take a break from things that are exacerbating your low moods.
Keep connected: it is so important to stay connected with the people in your life right now. Make time to talk to be people over the phone. Organise and online group catch up with a circle of friends. Reach out to people when you are feeling alone. Humans love to spiral into feeling like they are all alone and nobody understands. We are all dealing with this in different ways and reaching out and talking to people is going to help you feel connected. Feeling connected is really important for our mental health. If you recall in my article about the causes of depression, not feeling connected is one of the three main causes of depression.
Take time out: just 10 minutes a day to disconnect from everything that is going on and connect in with yourself. Mindfulness doesn’t have to include anything you don’t enjoy, it can be just 10 minutes to sit with yourself and focus on your breath. It can be a slow walk around the block without any distractions to tune into your thoughts. If you notice your stress levels get quite heightened when you try to do this, one, that is definitely a sign you need to be doing it and two, start with something that perhaps eases you into the relaxation. Counting you breath is a great way to give your mind something to think about, each breath in is one, each breath out is 2. Repeat.
Do something productive: if you are not working right now and all you are finding yourself doing is sitting around watching tv, this might not be helping you relax as much as you want it to. Doing something productive helps you feel like you have accomplished something. This could be decluttering for 10 minutes, if you haven’t re-organised everything several times already. Picking up a new hobby, do some home cooking. These things get you moving and distracted and help you feel productive.
Find something that puts you into flow: flow state is when time disappears. It is when the brain is being challenged enough to keep it engaged but not so challenge that it gets frustrated and wants to give up. This comes from doing a hobby, learning something new, engaging in something you are passionate about. Regularly being in flow state helps create a sense of fulfillment in your life.
And finally, let go of what you cannot control: constantly focusing on what you cannot control is a recipe to making you stressed and worrying with no solution. The best place to get to is a place where you can surrender to what is out of your control and focus on what you can control. You can control your thoughts and you can control your actions. You cannot control anyone else or what happens outside of you. Focus on what you can control to avoid falling into feeling helpless.
These are all things to help keep your head sane while you are stuck inside your house. We can only do what is going to help us feel better each day. Taking care of your mental and physical health are really important at the moment. Finding things that give you a sense of purpose and calmness are going to help you deal with the stressors you are finding at the moment. What is one thing you can do today from this list that is going to help you feel better?