Maintaining Mental Health
As humans we are by nature social creatures, we are organisms that are social when we live collectively in interacting populations, whether we are aware of it, and whether the interaction is voluntary or involuntary. So important is social connection to humans that according to research the lack of it can be terrible for our health.
As many of us are being told to lockdown down , limit going outside and social contact, things are feeling pretty “real” . Aside from the general worry we are currently feeling, about our family, life, friends and their health there’s the larger toll this will take on our mental health. To try and keep our spirits / health well, here are a few practises to help get through safe and well !
We know how important routine is, especially if we have children and for children. With schools closed and many people working from home , it is easy to lose a sense of routine and order.
For me, I have found writing out a daily achievement list (to do list) has helped, ticking off things I have achieved through the day gives some sense of purpose. It has helped set routine in my tiny apartment , and has stopped or reduced the boredom setting in.
An average day :
Get up and drink the normal 3 cups of coffee (as I always have done)
Read the news – as I always do
Get Dressed – generally into gymwear
Do online workouts – this has replaced the PT sessions I did – It is as keeping to my normal day as possible
Shower , and then get dressed – not return to my PJ`s
On-line work , write a blog, continue with my S&C studies
Watch netflix & nap! yes I have taken to napping, although in winter I generally did afternoon nap due to working in a bar at night – so again keeping with my normal day
Sit on my arse and do nothing ! the evening after food is my “worry” time. When it gets dark is when the boredom arrives ! Social media, facetime, Zoom etc are a great way to keep in contact with the outside world !
Working out at home is obviously a good way to stay healthy and kill indoor time. There are lots of options on-line from beginner to advance workouts ! basic cardio to strength and ways to help adapt your current Gym program to a home program.
Mental health benefits of exercise :
Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. … If you exercise regularly, it can reduce your stress and symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and help with recovery from mental health issues.
I offer 30 mins FREE lockdown sessions via facebook live 4 times a week – anyone can join !
Get Some Fresh Air
OK, so under current circumstances this one isn`t that easy, but opening your door and breathing fresh air if you cannot leave your house can be just as beneficial as a walk in the fresh air .
Fresh air has been shown to help digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate, and strengthen the immune system, leading to a healthier you. Also feel the sun on your face this your day and your mood!
Sunshine causes the release of endorphins such as serotonin; proven to improve mood and energy, and increase feelings of calm and focus, boost our mood and decreases the effects of stress.
Maintain Social Connections
As mentioned humans are fundamentally social creatures, and during a crisis it’s natural we want to gather. Unfortunately, it’s the opposite of what we can do right now, so we have to be creative, to maintain both closeness and a sense of community. Texting and social media are great , picking up the phone and talking or video chatting are great ways that we can come together when we cannot be together.
The definition of gratitude is a feeling of being thankful and appreciative.
The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they’re thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems.
Some ways to practice gratitude include :
Keep a gratitude journal and add to it everyday.
Tell someone you love them and how much you appreciate them.
Notice the beauty in nature each day.
Nurture the friendships you have, good friends don’t come along every day.
Smile more often.
Watch inspiring videos that will remind you of the good in the world.
See the growth opportunity in your mistakes.
Help your friends see the positive side to life.
Give Yourself A Break
I think this is probably the big one !!!! — don’t beat yourself up when things are not going perfectly. If the kids are watching too much Netflix or You Tube, you haven`t got the school work done, it is not the end the world. Things are going to be out of sync for a while, and if you can’t stick to your schedule or can’t fit in your at-home workout every day, it’s really not such a big deal in the long run. It’s much more valuable to everyone to give yourself a break ! Remember we are all in this together, no one has it right, no one has it wrong, we are all working through something that no one can prepare you for ! YOU ARE DOING GREAT ! YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST ! & life will return , but at this moment, future life can wait ! Today is more important .