So let’s just take a moment to breathe – these last 12 months, what is there to say. We have all been under the cosh, whatever your personal situation and if like me, you have found a few positives, it hasn’t been without sacrifice. The longer our recovery takes, the more challenging things feel as our temporary routines start to feel never ending. With those feelings, I for one have certainly found myself to be cranky, difficult and frustrated much quicker than I usually would.
- Check Yourself
Unfortunately I can’t provide solutions to this global issue, but what I want to do is to share with you a couple of things that I personally have found to be an antidote to calming that internal storm.
If we are all in this together then you better check yourself first- Stress, anxiety and the weight of the world’s issues and that’s before breakfast. Do you check the news first thing in the morning, death rates, vaccination figures and general political mayhem… what a start! Sometimes it’s hard to notice when your mental health starts to deteriorate so it’s more important than ever that you check in with yourself. I always find it hard to answer the general question how are you feeling? Mainly because I always think I feel fine. However there is an undercurrent and I think for me it’s easier to notice behaviour changes in myself as a trigger for a check in. Whichever or however works for you, try to check in with yourself every now and then – we can’t pour from an empty cup!
- Walk it off
I constantly read about the importance of exercise and how it can improve your mood and I am a keen walker so I know it can certainly improve my mood especially when you are stuck in the same four walls all day its honestly the best thing you can do. When it’s the middle of winter and motivation is at an all-time low the thought of it can be the biggest barrier. When I feel like I can’t be bothered or I get a bit moody and fed up – take that attitude for a walk girl –worst case is you come back feeling the same but you got your step count up!
- Productivity Gauge
Life is not the same and therefore your productivity cannot be what it was, so stop comparing it and stop bashing yourself for what you didn’t do. I work in quite a high stress job so I get it when work pressure is on and productivity needs to follow suit. In these situations I tend to take the days as they come. The saying your best is good enough applies here but I always follow that with… was that my best though? And that is how an over thinker ruins their day. I try to think of it like this, what happened was the best it could have gone, even if it was rubbish!
- Take the Day
Raise your hand if you tried to save your days off for when you could actually do something and lockdown was over? Do not do it! It is a trap!
Take the day to step away from your job, even if it means you aren’t doing anything – take it from me, doing nothing is underrated. The world has gone mad momentarily and with it, even if you don’t feel it too much, so have we. Whether you are home-schooling your children, working from home, studying from home, working in the thick of it or desperately looking for employment, believe me you could do with a break. Take the day, spend it however you feel like and reset that busy mind!
- Keep a Constant
Not check on the news….I mean keep something constant. With uncertainty comes a certain anxiety for the future. I find it helpful to find a constant, something safe and reliable, be it a hobby, a good book or your favourite TV show. Your constant is your safe place where you can return time and time again and feel at home.
- Know that it’s OK
In truth there is no one answer and some days nothing will help, anxiety and stress are a natural response to the rapid changes we have all experienced over the last year. It was changes we didn’t want or plan on, it has made life more difficult and lonely. We have lost more than we have gained and we have tried to carry on regardless and there is a real strength in that. Some days we have succeeded and other days we have failed but just make sure your heart knows that it’s OK.