I’m struggling, it’s taking its toll, I’m bored, I just feel flat at the moment!
These are all things I’ve heard in the last week, as more and more people seem to be struggling with the ongoing pandemic and lockdown restrictions.
If you are struggling, know that it’s not just you, many are struggling and experiencing good days and bad days.
Myself included, quite a few times recently people have said to me, you must be ok, it’s alright for you, your house must be so calm and relaxed, I bet you’ve got the home schooling sorted.
The truth is, like you, I’m only human and I’ve had days where I’ve had my down days, with low energy and everything feels like a real effort and struggle!
This global pandemic and subsequent restrictions have been going on for nearly a year now.
So why are we finding it harder now?
There are a number of possibilities why....
We have been living under restrictions for a nearly a year.
It’s winter and not as easy as in the summer.
We’ve been connected to negative news (more than usual), for over a year,
Worries about the future are escalating, worry about finances, jobs, loved ones, health, education.
The ongoing juggle of working from home and home schooling.
Missing out on human interaction from not going to work, not seeing friends and family in person, social activities, going to the gym/sports clubs, holidays and days out, going to watch sports, visiting the cinema and theatre or whatever your chosen way is to spend your downtime.
And although there is positive news with the vaccine being rolled out, there is still no definite end in sight.
The accumulative effect of some of these factors are probably why nearly year on, so many people are finding it difficult.
With no real clear end in sight…
How can you manage your mental health during lockdown and beyond?
With over a year of negativity and restrictions, our mind’s ability to seek out pleasure and positivity has been supressed, leaving us feeling flat, sad, frustrated, bored, tired and often just a bit blah!
But imagine if it was possible to manage your mental health and retrain your mind during these difficult times, to focus and think differently, because you can!
First make sure you are taking care of the basics, that you are keeping hydrated, eating well, getting good sleep.
Now let’s look at some ways that you can help yourself cope better with lockdown, ways you can change your mindset and manage your mental health in challenging times.
Be kind to yourself, stop being hard on yourself, stop beating yourself up, stop comparing yourself to how well others are doing, or why you feel the way you do, when others who have it so much worse than you.
I’ve shared this quote and I’ve seen it do the rounds a few times during lockdown, which is worth remembering…
“We are not all in the same boat.
We are all in the same storm.
Some are on Super-Yachts.
Some just have one oar.” Damian Barr
So be kind to yourself and be kind to others, it’s easy to judge and make comparisons, but we don’t really know if others are navigating the storm in a yacht, or simply treading water to keep afloat.
Shift Your Focus
Take time everyday to focus and look for something good, or positive in your day. Ask yourself what are you grateful for, what have you enjoyed?. Do this on a daily consistent basis and it will help you retrain your mindset to look out for and pay more attention to the good things.
Also take time every day, to watch, to listen and tune into some good news, turn off and tune out from the negativity in your life, and tune into something that you find uplifting, encouraging and motivating, whether that be your favourite uplifting podcast, music, book, YouTube videos, comedy show, simply spend more time connecting to these sources.
I want you to think of your mental and emotional energy like a bank account, are you depositing any credit into it, or are you constantly withdrawing form it?
All the exposure to negativity, worry, stress, unknowns, lack of direction and routine, are all withdrawing from it, so maybe that’s why you feel like you are running on empty.
What can you do to keep your account topped up and in credit?
Here’s a few ideas to help get you started,
- Get outside, and connect to your senses, notice what you see, hear, feel, smell and even taste.
- Get active, go for a walk or a run, do some exercise at home, just get in the habit of being mor active.
- Connect with people, even if you can’t in person, reach out, get in the habit of reaching to at least one person every day, send a text, ring someone, make a video call , say hi and have a catch up, it might just be what they needed but it will help you too.
- Get out of your own head and be more present, stop thinking and worrying about the past and the future and spend more time in the moment, doing some breathing or mindfulness exercises can help, meditation and self-hypnosis is also great practice for this.
Many of these can overlap, which is great If you can stack them up to make then even more effective.
Get outside and go for a run/walk
Get outside and go for a run/walk and connect to your senses, notice what you hear, see, feel, smell, taste.
Get outside and go for a walk with someone and catch up while you’re walking.
Watch your favourite comedy, while practicing some breathing exercises.
When I go for a walk in the morning, I like to do some breathing exercises, look up and come to my senses, reflect on what I’m grateful for and engage in some positive self-talk or affirmations.
Please remember we are all different, so do what works for you. I always encourage my clients to come up with a variety of different ways to help keep charged and where possible combine some together.
Like putting money in your account, doing it once or twice isn’t going to help long term, especially if you keep withdrawing from it regularly. So, look at reducing the withdrawals but also look at how many different ways you can put credit into you account and keep yourself charged up.
I like to call this mind fitness, what can you do to strengthen and maintain your mind fitness?
I hope this has given you some ideas for how you can help look after your mental wellbeing and cope better during lockdown and beyond.
There are lots of different ways, but hopefully this has given you a few ideas.
Feel free to leave a comment or get in touch and let me know what ideas you have taken from this episode, or let me know how you are coping with lockdown.
And if you know anyone who would benefit, please share this episode with them.
And if you’re thinking, or someone says, what’s the point of doing these things, what’s the point of changing your mindset.
Well, the point is, its good for your mental wellbeing, isn’t that a good enough point!
Simply do it for yourself, simply making some changes to your thoughts and feelings will make a positive impact to your overall wellbeing, do it and see what a difference it makes for you!
Remember what your mind believes you will achieve. So, believe yourself, take action and you can achieve the life and the goals that you want.
All the best
Let’s Stay Connected;
Podcast – https://the-achieve-podcast.captivate.fm/listen