There is no denying that this 2nd lockdown is having a direct impact on vulnerable peoples mental health. After the first lockdown of over six months, many were relieved to have more flexible contact with others and recover from the effects of isolation.
Now, this lock-down for the second time, is having serious consequences, as individuals are just not able to cope. People who have never been treated for mental health before the pandemic are also experiencing difficulties with coping.
This is a completely unique experience that no one knows the answers to. There is also the impact of peoples jobs and finances, which is understandably causing a great deal of uncertainty, anxiety and pressure.
Add the isolation, financial hardship and job insecurity on top of vulnerable mental health and isolation with little support from outside services and these individuals will experience a huge downward spiral.
So what can you do if you are experiencing mental health challenges to help yourself cope and take control back . That is what we are going to explore and i will be providing tools, resources and daily practices for you to incorporate in to your life. If done consistently, they will make you feel great relief and comfort, as well as reduce the symptoms of fear and anxiety.
STEP ONE ~MORNING ROUTINE
The way we wake up in the morning can have an impact on how we feel for the rest of the day. Sleeping in late or not getting dressed will not help us feel motivated to complete daily tasks or provide a positive mind.
It has been shared by numerous successful people, such as Tony Robbins and Richard Branson, just how important a morning routine is, to keep their mindset in check.
There are different techniques and practices that these people use and they report this as being a key reason for their success within business, health, emotional wellness and resilience to stress.
Many mental health conditions can be worsened by the things we are doing during the day. Sleeping in late, not eating a good diet, lack of exercise and late nights, will only make any existing issue worse. A routine like that can also bring on emotional disturbance for anyone, not just those diagnosed with a mental health condition!
So starting the day off with mood boosting activities, not only promotes a better frame of mind but also a solid routine
MORNING ROUTINE EXAMPLES
The benefits of a good morning routine actually has scientific evidence for starting the day right. The benefits of taking that time in the morning to care of our mind, body and spirit are just too good to ignore. They have a list of benefits as long as my arm..
improved sleep, lower stress, increased productivity, development of healthier habits, more energy, improved relationships, improved confidence, control and so on..
The last one, CONTROL is especially important at the moment. We are all experiencing a lack of control in many areas of our lives and to take that back with how we manage ourselves will take away that feeling of helplessness .
Once a steady routine is in place there will be a drastic improvement in the way we feel both physically and emotionally.
This will be an absolute struggle for many of us, especially if mornings are not your best friend at the moment. But if you are wanting an improvement with the way you feel, then the choice is to either stay stuck, in which case your situation will likely remain the same or you can take action..
Even taking small steps and adding just one change to your morning routine, is a great start. Maybe start with getting up at the same time every morning and then add to that over several weeks. Before long, you will be awake before your alarm clock and ready to add another to your list.
STEP TWO ~ EXERCISE
When we are feeling tired, anxious and maybe even depressed, the thought of running around our living room in a spandex get up, is just too much to contemplate. I absolutely get that. So if leotard wearing jumping jacks are not your thing, maybe there is an alternative exercise that can actually be enjoyable.
It really does come down to personal preference with exercise and the way to chose is by what you actually have fun doing. If this is to become apart of our daily lives, doing something that we absolutely despise will only lead to an abandonment of the practice altogether. It needs to evoke fun and light -heartedness to be sustainable.
New year resolutions are always well intentioned but rarely last long term because the process is too much like a chore. The same can be said with the morning routine. Adding too many new things, that are not enjoyable, is a sure way to regress back to old habits because they are safe and familiar. So it’s important to take it slow and build up gradually to change.
When we do rigorous physical activity, the brain releases a feel good hormone called serotonin and drops the stress hormones. The increase in oxygen to the brain which has the effect of improved rational, social, physical and intellectual thinking.
There really is an abundance of positive effects from taking physical exercise, so much so that to ignore this, especially if you are battling a mental health challenge would be a great shame.
Take a look below at some of the benefits to both the body and the mind.
No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow your progress, you’re still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying
~ Tony Robbins
Exercise it the key not only to physical health but to peace of mind
~ Nelson Mandela
There are many different forms of exercise but due to the restrictions of covid 19, these maybe limited as sports centres will be closed or have limited use.
Even with the restrictions, there are still endless possibilities to choose from. High aerobic exercise is especially good for releasing the feel good hormones in to the brain. Running, skipping, aerobics, cycling and weight training are all things you can do at home or outside.
Yoga is a great exercise for both the physical body and the mind because it incorporates meditation , and breathing with movement. There are many yoga apps available on the internet that offer free workshops and an option to get the full courses if you are wanting more choice and guided support.
STEP THREE ~ INFORMATION
The information we take in on a daily basis from the media, our interaction with others and our general surroundings can all be sources of negativity.
The news has only one agenda and that is display only the terrors of humanity, there is not an even balance of positive and negative. Watching this gloom will do nothing at all to lift, already wavering spirits!
Social media can be another platform that can spread negativity. By reading lots of negative posts and interacting with and discussing everything that is wrong with us and the world, has absolutely no benefit at all for anyone, let alone those battling emotional distress.
Our environment can literally make us sick both physically and mentally with what we are surrounding our space with. This includes our relationships and the physical things we surround ourselves with.
A toxic relationship that is fraught with tension and hostility will, over time, wear away any sense of a positive atmosphere. This applies to our partners, parents, friendships and any other form of direct influence. They say, to measure a man, look at his environment!
Physical clutter in our living space also carries energy that affects our health and self. An unkempt or cluttered home can cause us stress and tension and feng shui is a really interesting practice.. it involves clearing negative energy with placing furniture in certain areas of the home and adding elements of earth, water, fire , metal and wood. This is meant to bring a sense of calm in to our home and eliminate negative energy.
If you are interested in learning more about feng shui, take a look at this article by knowfengshui.com
I saved the best till last because this is the most important for withstanding any outside noise.What we say to ourselves has more impact than any other outside nonsense.
Start paying attention to what that inner chatter box is telling you all day long. Most people are unaware that this voice is not our true self but an accumulation of conditioning from childhood and early life experience.
When reflecting on these inner thoughts, ask yourself.. would i talk the same way to a friend! Usually the way we talk to ourselves is unconscious and never questioned.
To begin the process of healing from this negative conditioning, we need to address the thoughts and replace them with new and positive dialogue. This takes patience but most of all, consistent action. One way of doing this is by using positive affirmations every single day.
Below are a list of affirmations ( by Jack Canfield) that can drastically improve that inner chatter, from beating us down to egging us on. I know which i prefer!
~ I am changing my thoughts, images, and behaviors to produce better outcomes.
~ I am acting in alignment with my true life purpose, and all my actions are
automatically serving others.
~ In my life’s marvelous journey I know where I am and where I want to be.
~ I am expecting the best, and I always get what I expect.
~ I confidently believe in myself even if no one else does. I am always a winner!
~ I am accepting fear as natural and boldly taking the necessary steps forward
to achieve my dreams.
~ I am confidently and courageously confronting my fears and moving forward
on my life’s journey.
~ I am comfortably asking for guidance and advice from those who know what I
need to know.
~ I am constantly aware that my world today is full of abundance and opportunity.
~ I am calmly expanding my comfort zone to include everything I want to be,
do and have.
~ I am activating the creative powers of my subconscious mind by visualizing
~ I am joyfully living the lifestyle I want and deserve.
~ All things are becoming clearer and easier for me as I take action.
I am clear and specific when I am asking and I often end up getting exactly
what I want.
~ I am now doing whatever it takes to eventually achieve success on my own terms.
~ I am confidently and comfortably asking for whatever I want.
~ I now have realized that rejection is a myth and does not really exist except
in my mind.
Do not lose hope. The way you feel right now is only temporary and will pass. There are tools and resources available such as mind and the samaritans. There is also the option of professional services which can be better addressed by a professional. If these resources are lacking for you due to the pandemic, there are other options available and that will give you a sense of control and increased self esteem. All of the practices above can be researched online and you can find the resources that fit in with you. I am available through my website https://tourmalineblack.com
Having battled eating disorders, depression and body image issues for over 20 years, i do have personal experience with mental health. I am not a trained professional but do have the benefit of living the experience too.