It’s been quite a year and our mental health has never been more important. We’ve all had a huge learning curve and for some of us it’s exacerbated fears and anxieties that were already lurking in the background and for others of us it’s bought anxiety up, perhaps for the first time. Who wold have thought when we ushered in a new decade nearly 11 months ago that, just a few months later we’d be isolated from our friends and families, wearing masks to the supermarket, having to cancel long held plans and spend our weekends playing quizzes on Zoom with our friends instead!!
Even if we’re not aware of it, all of these changes have put a huge strain on us mentally, meaning it’s more important than ever to spend time taking care of our mental health and ensure we have the resilience to cope with the winter months ahead.
Have you found yourself:
- Feeling lonely
- Crying over small things
- Worrying about the future
- Dealing with health anxiety
- Avoiding certain situations
- Having problems sleeping
- Feeling angry
These are just some of symptoms which indicate you could be more stressed than your realise and that it’s time to take care of yourself! So here are 5 tips that help you deal with the next few months feeling stronger, calmer and more resilient. For more support, tips and to take advantage of some fabulous relaxation recordings, do feel free to connect in my closed facebook group The Health and Happiness Hub
Accept how you’re feeling
Whatever you’re feeling is ok, they’re your feelings and there’s nothing wrong with them. When we accept how we feel, rather than fighting our emotions, it allows us to be more accepting of ourselves and rather than feeling we’re not doing things right and we have the opportunity to see alternative ways of thinking/feeling/doing. Take away the ‘I shoulds’ and change it to ‘maybe I could’, that takes the pressure off and helps us see things more in perspective and also to see the the small changes we can make to feel calmer and more in control.
Get enough zzzzz’s!
Sleep is so important for many reasons, not only does it boost our energy but we’re able to see things much more in perspective when we’ve had a good nights sleep. It can also boost our immune system, prevent weight gain and improve our mood……..good for those around us as well as ourselves!! One way to improve your sleep pattern is to set yourself a regular bed time and then consistently get up at the same time in the morning too. Our bodies like routine and we can really benefit from this type of routine, so think about what works for you……..if you’re a night owl that’s fine, you can set your bedtime at 2am, but do it consistently!!
If you have trouble sleeping you might benefit from joining my closed Brighter Life VIPs group on facebook where you’ll find a relaxation recording focused on improving your sleep pattern.
Think about what you eat!
The stomach isn’t called the second brain for nothing and the food we eat can influence not only our general health and weight, but also our mood. When our blood sugar drops we can feel irritable, have trouble concentrating and even feel depressed. Eating 3 regular meals helps to balance our blood sugar and drinking plenty of water not only keeps us hydrated but keeps our digestion moving well and helps to avoid a sluggish gut! Alcohol has been an issue, with many of us drinking more than we wanted to this year, particularly in lockdown. We can easily fall into the habit of a drink every evening because there’s not a lot else to do right now and although it can make us feel relaxed and happy initially, it is actually a depressant and can see our mood heading south before we know it! It can also interfere with sleep as it’s metabolised in our liver 4 hours after it’s drunk, so while you’re trying to sleep, your body is going into work mode, not conducive to restful sleep! Limiting your alcohol intake to a couple of evenings a week, can have a huge impact on us physically and mentally!
If we’re struggling it can be tempting to withdraw from our friends, but it’s so important to maintain those connections, even if they’re not in person. In lockdown we’re able to meet another person to exercise with and even it takes a bit more planning, it’s so worth doing……..fresh air, a good walk and chat with someone can boost our mood, not only in that moment but it can keep us going for days!! If you can’t meet anyone in person, make sure you schedule in regular video calls with people who ‘life you up’. Sharing how we’re feeling validates those emotions and if your calls are anything like mine, you’ll end up having a good belly laugh as well!! Especially in those moments you lest want to see someone, make that effort, you won’t regret it!
When we’re dealing with an unknown situation, as we are right now, it can be easy to skip ahead in our minds to try and figure out how life will return to ‘normal’, or how we’re going to be living in 6 months time, what plans are we going to have to cancel etc etc. But we have no precedent for this situation, we don’t know how things will be next month, let alone next year and keeping ourselves more ‘present’ allows us to reduce overwhelm and find enjoy the little pleasures in everyday. Being flexible, not only in our planning, but also in our thinking, allows us to accept changes when they need to happen and to feel more resilient to the uncertainty that currently surrounds us.
Wishing you a happy healthy end to 2020 and if I can be of any further help, please do feel free to get in touch.