How much longer?
As I’ve been ringing round my regular clients to check in with them and see how their mental health is doing, this question keeps popping up! Sadly, we don’t yet know the answer but it does seem to be ‘going on a bit’ now doesn’t it?
To help you get through the remaining time until we are free to socialise, work again or take a rest if you have been working, here are a few tips you might just find useful.
Acknowledge how you’re feeling
There will be good days and bad days. That’s ok. Acknowledge where you’re at and be comfortable with it. The main tip here is to ignore all the noise online and on social media about what you “should” be doing. Every-one is different. If it suits you to be busy, great. If not, great. We all need to switch off our nervous system and let our bodies rest. Allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling without judgement is going to go a long way to helping.
Limit your exposure to the news
This is a tricky one to do. Our brain is hard-wired to focus on what it perceives as a threat. This allows us to work out the best way to avoid the same or similar threat in the future. How this manifests in modern day life can be an obsession with watching the news. 24 hour rolling news coverage has to be one of the most damaging aspects of the digital age on our stress and anxiety levels. Hard though it is, limit your exposure to watching just one news broadcast a day. Avoid the 24 hour channels wherever possible. If that proves a step too far, then switch at least some of your exposure to the radio. Without the visual stimulus, it will have a softer impact on the brain.
Laugh and be grateful
Even in the most difficult times, it’s important to find joy and gratitude each day. This might sound a bit corny, but it’s proven to have a positive impact on our mental health. Many people find writing a list of 3 things they are grateful for at the end of each day really works for them. It has the added bonus of leaving your brain with positive thoughts before you go to sleep. Do not underestimate the power of this! Start with the obvious things like good health, or sunshine and as you get used to it you’ll find you’ll have a list of things to choose from. As for laughter, this is known to release endorphins and improve our mood. Watch comedy shows, listen to music that makes you smile, read light-hearted books or just get lost down the rabbit hole of cats and kittens on the internet!
Look after yourself
Wherever possible do try and balance eating well, drinking plenty of water, exercising (outdoors in green spaces if you can) and getting enough sleep. All these things will help a lot, but probably the biggest immediate impact on how you’re feeling will be making time to contact friends and family. It can be by whatever means suits you best but please don’t listen to any inner voice telling you to do it later. Do it now! Not only will it help you, but it’ll help them too 😉
This too shall pass
Repeat this phrase to yourself as often as you remember! It is true and important to know that however rubbish things are now, they will change.
Having said that, it doesn’t mean it’s easy to cope with everything right now. If you’re feeling overwhelmed yourself, please seek help. Similarly, if you have concerns over somebody else’s mental health, don’t keep quiet. There are lots of resources out there to help. Most therapists, myself included, are still here to assist. Get in touch if you need us – it would be good to hear from you.