Protecting your mental health during lockdown

Protecting you health during lockdown

ALISON RALPH

Muddling our way through these difficult times is a challenge for everybody whether they have mental health issues or not.

I cannot count on my fingers the number of people I have spoken to lately who have heightened levels of stress and anxiety due to the restrictions of lock down, even as they begin to ease.

There are some ways that we can help ourselves to manage the feelings that have been created from these unusual times.

Restrict social media and the news.
It can be guaranteed at present that whenever you turn the news on or look on your social media page it will be full of debate, possibly a large amount of negativity and when we feel that there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, our hopes are shattered.

Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media and watching the news will allow you to filter the bits that you need to know, meaning that it doesn’t sabotage your goal of staying positive.

Keep to a routine
Before all this began you were more than likely getting up at the same time each day, eating breakfast, getting the children and yourself ready for the day, taking children to school or making sure you arrived at the gym/ work on time and so on. Routine motivates us and keeps us focussed.
Your new routine could include exercise and spending times outdoors or reading a book.

Be kind to yourself
Remember, we are living through a world pandemic. You are likely to feel anxious or stressed, this is our bodies natural reaction to help us survive. So run yourself a bath, tell yourself that its okay to have a low day, buy yourself gifts and nurture yourself during this time. You’ll thank yourself in the future!

Exercise
Whether it is a walk outdoors, a long cycle or a fitness video indoors, take some time out to exercise. Exercise releases the feel-good hormones in our body, meaning that we will be more motivated and more able to stay positive!

Set yourself achievable goals
Spend any spare time during lockdown redecorating your house, learning a new skill, maybe even changing careers but make sure the goal is achievable! Set yourself a week by week timetable and include the goal in this timetable to ensure that you can complete it over a couple of weeks. When you have achieved a goal, it will make you feel great and positivity a little easier!

Anxiety – Top Tips

Anxiety - Top Tips

ALISON RALPH

When you are experiencing anxiety, it can cause you to feel loneliness, a sense of being trapped, scared and in a state of panic. You may feel physical reactions to the anxiety such as, dizziness, increased heart rate, lightheaded and general feelings of low mood. When in this state, it seems impossible to bring your self back round to your usual way of thinking and feeling.

Anxiety is a natural reaction inside of us, triggered by the subconscious mind to keep us alive. It kicks in when there is a perceived danger, or what it perceives to be danger. The subconscious is built up of patterns and behaviours from our previous experiences and the subconscious uses these.
So how can you make these reactions easier to bear?

Top tip number 1: Knowledge
It is thought that the more we know about anxiety and its function within us, the more we can control it within our bodies. If you do choose to read about it, I suggested using the NHS website or another reputable website. In short, do not just google information!


Top tip number 2: Breathing
If you can learn a relaxing breathing technique it will allow the body to relax. I teach my clients deep belly breathing. As you breathe in through your nose you fill the belly with air and then as you continue the breath you fill the lungs with air. As you release the breath out of your mouth you empty the air form the lungs first and then deflate the stomach.
This not only gives you something else to focus on but activates the parasympathetic nervous system – that’s the part of the body which helps us to relax.


Top tip number 3: Affirmations
Chose two affirmations to repeat in your mind, even at times when you are not anxious. These should be affirmations which promote calmness in the body and give you the confidence to be in control. One of my favourites is: I am calm, I am confident, I am in control.


Top tip number 4: Diet and lifestyle
Believe it or not, the things we eat can have an impact on our anxiety. Eating too much sugar and having too much caffeine in our diets can activate the feelings of anxiety so the restriction of these can have an impact. If you like a drink or are a smoker, this can also influence anxiety. Finally, lack of sleep can cause us to feel more anxious so making sure you get your required hours is a must!


Top tip number 5: Favourite place
This is my favourite way to forget all about the anxiety and one which I use with all my clients. If you sit back and close your eyes, use your breathing technique and at the same time build up an image in your imagination of your favourite tranquil place this can help relaxation and encourage you to think about something other than the anxiety. This could be a place you have been to before or simply one made by your imagination. Examples are a favourite holiday destination, the beach or your garden.

 

 

Get in touch...

Want to know more about how you can take control of you anxiety of stress?
Find out how I can help you by getting in touch on:

07719032346