It’s an anxious and worrying time for all of us at the moment, so prioritising our mental health and wellbeing has never been more paramount.
Whether you’re self-isolating or in quarantine with your partner or family, it’s safe to say that everyone’s regular lifestyles have been disrupted.
Professor Andy Lane, sports Psychologist at Harley Street, The Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP), has some tips on how to improve your wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social contact is vital at this point of time. Sharing our emotions, thoughts and feelings which have been affected, knowing the feelings of our friends, and a sense that strange new way of working is being done collectively is important. Human beings are social and being in isolation is a strong predictor of poor mental health – solitary confinement is after all used a punishment. Social media cites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and skype, google hangouts offer a way to connect.
Evidence shows being in nature has therapeutic effects; helps manage negative mood. Most of us can connect to this idea; standing by a beautiful beach, with the sounds of the sea, sand beneath our feet, sea breeze on our face has a calming effect. Most of do not live by the sea, or beautiful areas, but in cities, and social isolation makes this challenging. But, we can be imaginative, make plans and goals to find nice places that are near us and then plan to go to these where social distancing is possible. Seeing getting outdoor as a goal will help mood. But if this is not going to happen, then youtube will give sounds of the sea, sounds of birds tweeting, and google images will give you images of beautiful places – which can be used a second-best option.
We need to be positive – we need to be imagining a better future, we need hope as these images give us motivation and energy. Think of your goals, how you worked towards them, what you did, what worked, what didn’t? Via visualisation, see yourself working towards these, replay difficult times but when you replay them, follow the strategy which you think will succeed. See yourself overcoming difficult challenges.
Knowing how you are feeling, your thoughts, emotions is important as you want to stay as positive as possible Record these feelings in a mood diary – just write down how you have been feeling. Just get a pen and paper and start writing down what you did, how you felt; don’t worry about grammar (the grammar police are not coming!!!)structure, just write down your thoughts and feelings. This will do 2 important things; a) help you identify with you emotions, and b) the act of writing will help you organise your thoughts and helps you implement strategies to manage them.
There are so many online courses – why not take time and the opportunity to learn some. This is almost endless – and the good news is that a great deal is being offered for free as a gesture of help.
A goal is to have good hygiene, wash hands to help prevent this virus spreading. You need to have relaxing times, to learn to relax. A very good time to learn relaxation skills; progressive muscular relaxation, breathing techniques, mindfulness, all skills that can aid recovery.