It’s a weird time for everyone self isolation and social distancing can make it hard to feel normal and can be even tougher on your mental health so here are some 5 tips to help you stay calm
Clear up your social media
you are probably spending a lot more time scrolling through Instagram Facebook and Tik Tok but Have you ever wondered how this can have an effect on your mental health? Try unfollowing accounts that make you anxious, worried or angry. Replace them with some positive, good vibe accounts. Trust me you will thank me later
Plan your day Lola when your normal routine is disrupted it can cause you distress which impacts your mood and your productivity
take some time each day to write down how you want to spend your day. This will give you a sense of order and normality. Decide on your new routine and make sure you build in time to do things that you enjoy.
there are lots of free apps and even Instagram and Facebook lives on practicing mindfulness at home. Whether it’s breathing techniques meditation or yoga there are practices that can be done with the whole family and it will help restore a sense of calm and peace within the house.
Take a break from the news.
With all the constant updates directly to your phone and coverage on TV from morning to night it can be hard to switch off. You might even feel guilty for doing so, So if you notice that this is having a negative effect on your mental health, try limiting how often you check the news.
Read a book or listen to an audio book
taking a break open your screens is so important. Reading or listening to a book can help you escape. Why not we read one of your favourites or take a peek of some mindful minute blogs.
Phone calls are amazing, and are a great way to stay connected. But seeing someone’s face really can make a huge difference on a phone call. It can lift your mood and make you feel less lonely. There are lots of free video calling services you can use, and if you can connect to wifi this will help if you’re worried about your data allowance. Don’t be shy about going on camera – your loved ones will really appreciate seeing you, even if you’re in your pyjamas! You could really brighten someone’s day
Find a positive online community
If you do want to stay online, there are lots of positive online communities, where you can make new friends, get inspired and chat about things you care about. You could try searching for groups involved in causes, music or TV shows you are passionate about.
But remember to avoid anything that encourages you to do things which are harmful for your physical or mental health. If you’re worried by things you’re experiencing online, talk to someone you trust.
You’re probably not the only person feeling worried, bored or frustrated. It’s a good time for a catch up, so don’t be afraid to make the first move and reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. They’ll probably be very grateful to hear from you. Send them a message and let them know you care.
Make a list of all those things you said you would do but never get round to. It could be sorting out your wardrobe, doing some gardening, fixing things around your living space etc. These tasks can make you feel productive and give you a sense of accomplishment. Tidying your living space can also make you feel calmer and more positive. If you want to take the time off to rest and not be productive, that’s also fine too. Listen to your body.
Dealing with stressful situations at home
Walk away from tense situations if you can
Being cooped up with other people will naturally be frustrating and might create tension between you and those you live with. You can defuse difficult situations by walking away from arguments until everyone starts to feel calmer. If you and those you live with do not have any coronavirus symptoms, you could go outside for a walk.
Create a rota
If you’re in a situation where lots of people are fighting over who gets to decide what you watch on TV, who cooks and cleans, or anything else, you might find it helpful to create a rota. This can help you agree a fair system and help avoid arguments.
Reach out for help
If your living situation is difficult, please don’t struggle in silence. Speak to someone you trust. Call a friend or a helpline. If you’re worried about being overheard, you could try texting or emailing instead. There are lots of helplines which also offer text and online messenger support.
Finally some calming tips for kids.
Play a mindful game
It can be hard to think of ways to keep your children occupied, especially without resorting to screen time. One way to occupy their time during the day, and help them feel calmer at the same time, is to play games that involve the senses. This can help them bring their attention back to the present moment and create a feeling of groundedness.
Here are some quick, simple, mindful games you can get your children involved in, without much preparation time and hassle:
Touch: Put a bunch of mystery items in a paper bag and take turns feeling one object at a time and guess what it is as you describe the texture and shape.
Sight: Look around the room in silence for one minute, and point out all of the things you never noticed before.
Sound: Set a timer for one minute and count how many different sounds you can hear with your eyes closed, and then share what you heard with each other.
Cooking with a twist
When the children are home all day, there will be more cooking to get through and mouths to feed, which offers the perfect opportunity to get children stuck into some mindful cooking and baking – while learning multiple new skills at the same time!
Encourage your children to help you out with the daily cooking, teaching them small skills and keeping them engaged in the process of turning ingredients into meals. Focusing their attention on tasks such as stirring, mixing and weighing, can be an active, fun way to help them concentrate and keep their minds in the present, allowing stressful thoughts to leave the mind.
To further use the senses, encourage your children to describe the colours of the ingredients, the texture of the food during different parts of the process, and notice the different forms the meal has taken, from start to finish.
Baking in particular can be a fun activity for children to be occupied with, whilst also being a grounding and therapeutic experience. The repetitive actions and gentle rhythms when mixing or kneading can help relax the mind. This is a similar process to concentrating on your breath during guided meditation sessions.
It is also very rewarding; when children have finished baking and can see and eat the end result, it can provide them with a feeling of satisfaction. They can also share the food they made with the rest of the family, with the act of sharing being great for mental wellbeing, as well as bringing the family closer together through the exercise.
One of the best parts of this mindful activity is the delicious aroma of the baked goods filling the house, creating a lovely cosy atmosphere, perfect for the family to unwind in.
I hope you all stay safe and healthy.
Until next week. Make memories and smile.
Jon Adkin Author of ‘Can I Change?’ Available from Amazon.