We are hopefully over the worst of the restrictions for Covid-19 but this experience has been stressful and you may be left feeling negative, anxious or depressed due to this experience changing the way we live and view are environment. Maintaining our psychological wellbeing is important because when are mental health is strained our physical health can also be challenged and having physical health is an important resistance and protection from getting sick. Focusing on what we can control is a great start to maintaining our psychological health and if you need some other ideas here are some tips to help you;
Relax and destress
A lot of people have been feeling anxious and depressed due to the Covid19 experience as so much has been out of our control. If you have been feeling helpless try focusing on the things you can control and scheduling times to relax during your day. A good way to ground yourself and calm your mind and body down is progressive muscle relaxation. Here is a nice guided progressive muscle relaxation practice and only takes about 10 minutes and leaves you feeling refreshed and re-energised.
Create a different emotion
If you find your moods are lowering, watch a funny show/movie/Youtube videos, listen to a comedian, listen to soothing music if you are feeling anxious and listen to upbeat music if you are feeling down, play a board game/cards, take care of the pet. Be kind to yourself by validating that this is hard time, but you are doing the best you can, it won’t last forever and you will get through this.
When we are stressed, we breath more rapid, you may experience a shortness of breath and we can’t think clearly. Try slowing down your breathing down by inhaling for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds and exhaling for 8 seconds and continue to do this until you feel a sense of calmness. This may feel uncomfortable at first as the body isn’t use to breathing slowly but keep going through the discomfort until your body regulates and you feel calmer.
Reframe your thoughts
We sometimes tend to focus on all the negatives of situations and forget even in really challenging times there are some positives. Use this time to reframe your thoughts about the situation and see presented challenges a new opportunity to try something new, learn a new skill, spend quality time with the people closest to you or do a systems check on your life by having a looks at what is or isn’t working for you and reinvent yourself by changing your mindset.
Gym restrictions may be limiting people’s usual exercise routine, but exercise is a great way to deal with the stressors people. Exercises is beneficial for both our physical and psychological health as when we exercise feel good hormones are released in the body so we can deal with stress better. It can sometimes be a challenge to find the motivation to exercise but if we push through the mind’s resistance, we feel so much better afterwards and glad we did it. For simple exercise ideas you can go for a walk or bike ride around your local area or National Park or do some gardening. Getting out and getting fresh air and sunshine is great for regulating your circadian rhythm so you can sleep better.
Keep a routine
Instead of sitting in front of the television all day, set yourself a daily routine to help maintain your motivation and health. Have a set schedule where you got to bed and wake up at a reasonable time, shower, change out of your pyjamas, have breakfast in the morning, have set days for exercising and have regular contact with friends and family. If you aren’t able to have physical contact with friends and family as they may be high risk, use technology such as Skype or Zoom to help you stay in touch with them.
Staying hydrated and eating regular healthy meals is important for our physical and psychological wellbeing. Eating sugary meals feel great when we are eating them but you can have a drop in mood after the sugar wears off. Another go to when we are stressed is alcohol and drugs which is okay in moderation but is unhelpful when we have too much of them. Try to find other healthier and more helpful ways of dealing with stress like, doing some exercise or relaxation techniques.
I hope you find some of these tips helpful and remember you can’t do everything, but you can do something!
Written by: Kimberley Arguet – Counsellor