All people are suffering mental health issues right now. Those who previously suffered find their condition exacerbated. Those who have never experienced such challenges suddenly are learning about anxiety, panic attacks and Situational Depression. Some, unaware really of their emotional state simply are experiencing a challenging increase of alcohol consumption, food, drugs and such, fights with their loved ones etc etc.
This COVID-19 thing sucks for us all. Of course, it is much worse for many, but humans do not EVER do change well and flying crickets have we had some change forced on us. Like…EVERYTHING!
So, here are some ideas to get us all through when we have lost so much of how we used to cope with challenges:
- Do not give yourself a hard time for not coping so well right now. Too many people are and consequentially adding another layer of stress upon themselves that is both unfair and will only make them feel worse. Folks give yourself a big cuddle and tell yourself it’s okay. It makes total sense you feel crappy right now!
- When stress increases, stop, breathe mindfully, slowly in, slowly out until you feel better. Breathing done slowly and mindfully stops the adrenal medulla creating a cascade of hormones…norepinephrine, epinephrine, estrogen, testosterone, and cortisol that floods your body if the stress is left unattended leading to anxiety and panic attacks which are just horrid. Breathing works. It is the first step
- Though we must isolate make sure you get at least ten minutes of sun on your skin a day. Studies have shown over and over that low levels of vitamin D are linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety. Get the sun for ten minutes a day.
- We all know what we ‘should’ eat but often we don’t. The fact is emotional stress is very exhausting on the physical body so we must try and help it by getting those nutrients we need. If you don’t know what you need google ‘nutritional needs for…. your sex and age group. And drink at least 2 litres of water. It stops your body getting clogged up and that too affects your mental state.
- Set yourself a routine even if you cannot leave your home. The best thing I’ve seen lately that explains the benefits of ensuring routine is as follows: https://www.facebook.com/evamigdal/videos/10156749734826290/?t=19
- Nurture positive emotions. Look, if you have a roof over your head and food for the rest of the week your physical needs are currently met. Nurture your emotions by evoking positive ones. So, for me when I’ve been feeling down I’ve found things online that truly makes me laugh…laughter being absolutely essential for maintaining my stability in such randomly crazy times. And I search out stories of people doing lovely things for others, for animals (Dodo videos rock). And lastly I seek connection…as much as I can get via online, phone, in this restricted life.
- Do not cling to your negative emotions. Don’t deny them either. Acknowledge them, observe them but avoid drowning in them. A bit of self-talk goes well here; “well crikey I’m bloomin miserable. Not surprising really. Oh well, I will breathe and be gentle on myself. I’ll feel better soon”. If this doesn’t make sense to you yet, please just try it anyway. The alternative is what we often get trapped into which says, “oh no I’m so miserable I feel awful, this is dreadful…” Can you see how that does not help? It simply compounds the misery. Instead try acceptance without fighting the reality but rather going to the steps above to seek better feelings
- And finally, do not try and predict the future. We do not know exactly what is ahead so we cannot possibly get it right. Instead focus on what is going on now. What can you create, how you can get and indeed GIVE kindness, laughter, connection? This is what is within your power and this is your greatest gift
Love Leesa 😊