The past weeks have brought tremendous change, and for many of us, new kinds of fear, sadness and loss. Today I felt low. I felt a bit deflated and a little lost. I had a revelation when a friend suggested I should get some of my own tools out of my tool kit and apply them to myself. Here are 8 ways to boost your emotional wellbeing during Lockdown:
Assist your brain to get out of fight/flight mode
When we’re faced with acute stress our brain offers to help in a number of ways. The oldest element of our brain, the primitive brain, is activated and suddenly releases hormones including adrenaline. This is not the best part of our brain from which to think rationally and logically. We need to find ways to access the human part of our brain. One way to do this is to practice mindfulness, meditation or prayer. Breathing exercises can really help. I’ve just completed a Coaching in Mindfulness course. You can access free mindful meditations from my course via Rising Minds.
Be physically active
It’s really advisable to commit to exercising regularly and this brings many health benefits. It raises your self-esteem and enables positive chemical changes in your brain to help lift your mood. I’ve been using online workouts for the past 8 years and several of my clients have started doing the Couch to 5km running programme during Lockdown. Try to find something you enjoy and be intentional about planning it into your week.
Think about your core values and what matters to you most
Knowing your core values and navigating what you need to sustain yourself at this time is valuable. What do I adhere to most at this time? How can I measure my day during Lockdown? For a short video on finding your core values click here to join Tara Mohr as she explains how to connect to what matters to you most. If one of my values is nurturing others, how am I expressing that value at this time?
Connect with others and be of service
Be intentional about connecting with others during Lockdown. You can write emails or letters, set up video calls on Zoom or use Facetime to see family and friends. It’s good to share positive experiences and talk about the challenges you are facing and to realise you are not alone. Connecting to others builds a sense of belonging and self-worth. It can also be a lifeline for people who live alone and who may well be feeling very isolated at this time. I have created a list of the people I want to connect with and support during Lockdown including those who are vulnerable, alone or a key worker.
Create your own routines and rituals
It’s important that you build in time to regularly do things which give you pleasure. For some that might be gardening (I hate gardening!) or baking or reading. I find that if I blow dry my hair, put on some make-up and wear one of my favourite outfits, it lifts my mood. Try some different things if you’re not sure what to do. Work out what you need and communicate it to your family. One friend has a hot bath during the day as her ‘me’ time treat, which she finds helps her to relax mentally and physically.
Write a journal
Journaling is one way to sit with your emotions and relieve stress at this time. Writing down your feelings helps you to ‘brain dump’ your anxieties, frustrations and pains, as well as capture positive things. Some people keep daily gratitude journals, others write just one line per day. It’s entirely up to you how you structure your writing. My journal is a mixture of the events of the day, my thoughts and feelings and my prayers. I don’t write it every day, but I do write regularly.
Take one day at a time, but plan it
Life has placed us in this unusual situation where our normal long-range hopeful way of thinking is more difficult. Taking it day by day means reducing the degree of control we expect to be able to bring to bear on the uncertain future. Stop worrying about the ‘what if’s’ which may never happen. Take time to listen to what your body needs, today. Congratulate yourself on the small things. One of my clients takes a few minutes before bed to plan their next day, setting achievable goals and intentions. Others plan one week ahead and prioritise the tasks they want to achieve, reporting back to me at the end of the week. I tend to have an ongoing list for the week, which I prioritise each day.
Get some fresh air each day
Fresh air has been shown to help digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate, and strengthen the immune system, leading to a healthier you. Even if it’s only in the garden, getting outside has so many benefits and it’s good for the kids too.
I hope these ideas will help you to carve out who you want to be in these circumstances.
Jackie Meek lives in Oxfordshire and is a qualified life coach with a passion to see frazzled mums move from surviving to thriving. Her coaching sessions are calm and inspiring, giving her mum clients the time to stop and think clearly about how they want to bring about change and to help them to find balance as they juggle family and work. Jackie runs a group coaching programme called The Mum Boardroom and works with mums on a 1:1 basis either face to face or online. You can connect with Jackie on Facebook or LinkedIn