Looking after your mental health during lockdown.
Looking after your mental health during lockdown is the key to staying positive in spite of the news. We want to help you to nourish your mind, body and spirit through this time and today we start with a blog from the lovely Vidya at Vivid Outcomes. Vidya is a therapeutic practitioner here in our local town, Reigate, and she has written all about supportive practices that can help you at this time. If you’d like to contact Vidya directly please see her bio at the bottom of the page.
Looking after your mental health during lockdown.
We are living through such unique times right now. With a second lockdown bedding in for the foreseeable, so much is unclear and what the coming months will really look like is anyone’s guess.
That vacuum for the unknown breeds uncertainty, which when in exaggerated abundance, can feel problematic to even the most resilient amongst us!
The sense of ‘powerlessness’ over the unknown, can lead to those increased feelings of ‘negative stress’. We try to overthink the permutations of the unforeseen, with scenario creation; ‘what if’, ‘what might happen’, ‘what will happen if’, and try desperately to juggle with outcomes we just don’t know for sure and have no guarantees over. The literal pressure of overthinking can leave us either in a spin of overwhelm, or standing still, frozen in despair.
Reclaim your power.
I know the picture I have painted looks slightly on the gloomy side. But that said, I know from my own experience, and from working with my lovely clients, that just by adopting a slightly different approach to the one you usually might, you can feel significantly calmer, more relaxed, and feel able take back and reclaim your ‘power’.
It’s really worth stressing (no pun intended!), that the most important relationship to nurture is with yourself- especially in times of stress. When the tough gets going – who ultimately listens to all those thoughts that go round and round in your own head? You do. Who has your back when you’re up against it? You do. The means to keep going and breathe from moment to moment, even on the not so good days – who finds the way to do that? You do.
You are uniquely you, and in order to change the relationship to stress, you have to change the relationship you have with yourself, and find the means to take the moments of time and space you can afford, to nurture yourself and show yourself the appreciation you deserve. Only when you do that, will you grow strong within and feel self-motivated to weather the internal and external storms you may face.
Fill your ‘cup’.
Fill your ‘cup’ with the things that bring about fulfilment and wellness. When you allow your own cup to overflow, you create the surplus and abundance of energies to help to support those who rely on you. You can’t do that fully and completely, from a place of scarcity and depletion because those times when your cup is nearly empty, there isn’t sufficient amount to even quench your own thirst.
Perhaps take stock of the times in your life when you’ve probably felt the most stressed and overwhelmed, you will most likely notice self-care dropped off your ‘to do list’. I want you to read that again slowly: ‘to do list’, because that’s everything self-care shouldn’t be. Instead, embrace it more as a way of life. Think of it as a strategy for going about life more calmly.
Let that sense of calm be the focus and create rituals which are joyful and nurturing to you. Rituals create certainty, and our minds appreciate a fair bit of that. They’re those patterns, rhythms and activities that we rely on to ground us:
Three simple things
1) Mindfulness & Meditation. Many say they find it difficult to ‘empty’ their thoughts when they’re so stressed. The idea with mindfulness isn’t to create emptiness, but to notice simply how cluttered your mind is with thoughts that take you away from being with your present moment. Every time you notice your mind wandering, come back to whatever you are ‘being’ with at the moment. Sometimes we’re so busy and consumed, stressing about what tomorrow brings, we miss simple pleasures contained in today, right now.
2) Journalling. Writing down our thoughts, help us to literally ‘dump’ a lot of those consuming thoughts that have nowhere to go, whilst providing some space for greater clarity.
3) Flow activities like Arts & Crafts, Exercising, Music, Gardening. Flow activities are wonderfully calming because they provide the opportunity to be completely out of ‘negative stress’ mode. In fact, flow activities promote ‘Eustress’ – this is a ‘positive stress’ which in fact helps us to feel a sense of meaning, wellbeing, confidence and hope…
I think it’s fair to say that we could all do with a bit more of that right now! So next time you are feeling the negative stress, it’s worth reminding yourself to ‘Go with the flow’!
Vidya Bellur is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Practitioner, Mindset Coach and Mindfulness Trainer. Her passion is helping people to change their relationship to their thinking, to alter their behaviours to affect their outcomes. She’s experienced in helping people who suffer from anxiety, worry, stress and depression.