Managing mental well being at times of uncertainty
Updated: Mar 26
Regardless of your circumstance there is a lot of change and uncertainty at the moment with how to respond to COVID-19. I have seen amazing acts of compassion and kindness and the devastation it has created. In this blog I'm going to run through tips to help and some free resources to help you utilise these strategies. Read through and try out the ones that are relevant to you.
1) Give yourself permission to slow down.
At the core of mindfulness is the skill to step away from the productive drive mode that worries about the future create and to check in with you in the present moment. Headspace has created a free mindfulness section called "weathering the storm"
This video explains the benefits of mindfulness
If you find that you are mindlessly eating do read my blog on getting in control of emotional eating.
Your day may not have it's usual pattern with a change in caring or work responsibilities. For the next 24 hours make a note in your phone or diary of what you are doing and when. Once you have completed this acknowledge the steps to changing this routine. There are some great apps for creating routine Habitify and Habitica are a couple of free ones. The power of habit is a great book to read on the topic.
Structure your day around the daily activities of daily living. Have set times to sleep, eat and move.
Related blog: How to exercise at home and stay active.
The ability to be flexible can seem daunting and in uncertain times it can be helpful to tap into. Flexibility of mind comes from being able to see the tightness and resistance. Notice any rigid thoughts and what prompts these. Now gently lean into responding with compassion. I talk more about stretching in my blog on stretching yourself. If this feels to abstract a more concrete task that you can do is to write down a list of your certainties and your strengths within these.
Allow demands to crop up in life and to re prioritise. I allow flexibility and shifts in prioritisation by using a post-it note system which is free to download.
Set boundaries. It's OK for you to not be all things to all people at any one time. In order to look after others you do need to put yourself first, Saying "No" can be hard. I do some NHS work. Believe me I know that saying no is hard when it feels essential. But approaching whatever demands are being made ask"Can I compassionately achieve this demand" and if the answer is "no" it is a choice if you can manage the impact of it.
Reach out to other people. You might need to get a bit creative if opportunities for this have changed. Look at options for online connection. Host a virtual board game night or drinks night. Search Social media. My local networking group Inspire and Connect has moved online and Listen to local radio to find out about what's happening in the local area. My local station Solihull radio has opportunities for you to ring in and to find out about local support.
People and organisation are wanting to connect and reach out.
One of my favourite authors Russ Harris has released his app free of charge download it
Once you have downloaded the app click on subscription and type in TOGETHER
If you need any mental health support:
Mind has an infoline: 0300 123 3393
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgText: 86463Post: Mind Infoline, PO Box 75225, London, E15 9FS
Whatever you're going through, you can call Samaritans any time, from any phone for FREE 116 123 or email Jo@samaritans.org
6) Do intentional things towards self care
And self care doesn't have to be candles and long hot baths.
Action for happiness have a great monthly calendar and have created a "Coping calendar"
You may also want to work through some specific triggers either through gaining support or having the reflective space for a workbook these links are not affiliated with me in anyway.
If you are aware of any other good free resources do share them with me so that I can post them up.