Hi. A different type of blog today. I’ve noticed that the lock down is starting to take it’s toll on some people. So today I want to offer you a weekly mental health check in.
Set an alarm on your phone, or a reminder in your calendar, so at a set time each week you can quickly do a check in on a scale from 0(‘not at all’) to 10 (‘extremely’) of how stressed, anxious or down you are feeling.
Take a moment to notice any tension in your body like tight shoulders, chest or jaws. Other signs that you might be feeling stressed include dryness of the mouth, difficulty breathing, and a racing heart.
If you are constantly struggling to get to sleep, waking in the night,waking earlier than usual and/or finding it difficult to get back to sleep, these are signs your mind is unable to switch off and relax.
Are you worrying about the worst-case scenarios? Focusing on the ‘what-if’ scenarios is not useful and is best to try to limit this as much as possibe.
Reactions and behaviour
If you find yourself frequently snapping at those you love, finding it extremely difficult to focus, or always depending on things like alcohol or food to cope. It is time to prioritise your mental wellbeing.
Check in buddy
Choose a check in buddy. This may be your partner, housemate or even a friend or colleague you’re keeping in touch with via social media or face time etc. Be honest with yourself and with them about how you are coping.
I sadly can’t see you one to one at the moment but I am offering Online sessions if you need that little bit of extra help.
How we can cope with lock down.
We are social animals, So how will we stop getting lonely and crazy as we distance ourselves socially and self-isolate? Well, our first motto should be: “Don’t waste a crisis!” If we are imaginative, we will find silver linings in these very dark clouds. We can experiment with new ways of living. These won’t just help us cope with the emergency. they actually can help us to enjoy it.
Virtual coffees, lunches and dinners
Using face time or What’s app create a group and have a coffee morning. Have a good old chat, moan and more importantly a laugh.
Sing and dance
The Italians are keeping their spirits up by singing from their balconies. But they don’t have a monopoly on bel canto. or how about remote dancing. Friends in Italy are already using an app called House Party to have virtual parties. let’s use the technology for good.
On yer bike
Public transport isn’t safe. So for short distances, why not walk? And for middling distances,as part of your daily exercise, why not bike? It’s also a good way to keep fit.
So many personal trainers are offering work outs for all ages and all fitness levels. Find one that suits you and make it a routine.
Time to reflect
Most people’s lives are dictated by routines: take the kids to school, rush to work, endless emails, get home, crash. The rat race isn’t great. But sitting around home twiddling our thumbs won’t be much fun either. So we need new routines.
Every morning, I have started to say out loud 5 things I am grateful for. Every evening I do the same and think why they are meaningful. These habits provide bookends to my day and help me make the most of what happens in between. I’ve also used my music streaming service and I’m listening to all the albums that made a mark on my life. (boy, some of them are crap when you re-listen), but that is what makes it a great thing to do.
Deepen our friendships
Much of the time, we’re too busy to think deeply about our friends and family. But now we’ll have more time. We can use some of it to think about what our loved ones really need and then help them get it… remotely. this time also shows who the true friends are. The ones who check in on you, the ones who make you smile. The ones who care.
Virtual book groups
People will also have time to read. But that can be a lonely activity – and we get more intellectual stimulation if we share our ideas with others. How about when you finish a book, type out your thoughts and send them to friends to provoke discussion. Why not go further and organise virtual book groups?
Connect with far-away friends
Just because you’re not in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t have a deep friendship. Indeed, the virus offers an opportunity to connect with those who live far away. After all, if you are distancing yourself physically from others, it doesn’t matter whether they are in London, Cayman or Milan. The more we reach across the world and show we care for one another, the more we’ll help defeat that other terrible virus: nationalism.
Other people will have different ideas about how to make the most of this virus crisis. We can all experience the pleasure of inventing and experimenting with new ways of living.
Until next week. Stay safe, stay healthy.
Jon Adkin Author of ‘Can I Change?’ Available from Amazon.