Caring for your mental health in lock down
The psychological impact of living through a pandemic should not be underestimated. We have all been impacted in one way or another.
BE Offices’ resident client personal trainer offers advice on maintaining your mental health equilibrium.
While each of us reacts differently to stress, common reactions can be:
- Fear of the unknown
- Change in sleep, eating habits and increased use of alcohol or drugs as a way to cope.
- Weight gain through stress and over-eating
Here are some ways you can support yourself:
- While it’s important to educate yourself to reduce the fear of unknown, try to avoid excessive exposure to media coverage of COVID-19.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories. It can be upsetting to hear about the crisis and see images repeatedly.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind and remind yourself that strong feelings will fade. Try to do some other activities you enjoy to return to your normal life.
- Connect with others through the telephone and social media outlets.
- Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships.
- Try to plan time to communicate regularly with those in your support system.
- If interaction with others is not possible, a phone call or video chat may be an option to consider.
- Keep social distancing in mind (staying away from places where people meet or gather, avoiding local public transportation (e.g., bus, train, taxi), and maintaining the recommended distance of 2 metres.
And some tips that could help you lessen the stress you might be feeling whilst either working from home or self-isolating:
- Recognise and accept the things that you can’t change. This can help you let go and not get upset. For example, in other times, you are not able to change rush hour traffic, but you can look for ways to relax during your commute, such as listening to a podcast or book.
- Avoid stressful triggers when possible. For example, if your family squabbles, give yourself a breather and go out for a walk run or cycle in isolation.
- Exercise! Regular exercise or physical activity most days for about 30 minutes can help your brain release chemicals that make you feel good, and help you release built-up energy or frustration.
- Change your outlook. Are you being too negative? Work on more positive attitude toward challenges by trying to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones.
- Do something you enjoy. Preferably daily, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Examples include reading a good book, listening to music, watching a favourite movie, trying a new hobby.
- Try and get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is important for mental clarity and will help you think more clearly as well as increase energy levels.
- Eat enough AND eat healthy foods. This can help fuel your body and mind. Skip the high-sugar snack foods and load up on vegetables, fruits, raw nuts, lean proteins, good fats.
I hope some of these tips have been useful. Stay safe and well everyone!
By Hugh Brown – BE Officers Personal Trainer
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your GP or mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.
Images courtesy of PA Images