Nobody could have predicted the events of 2020 so far, or the impact that the global pandemic has had. But one thing is for sure, the uncertainty and circumstances driven by covid-19 have taken their toll on the mental health of each and every one of us.
For me, unfortunately, having dealt with the loss of my second child five years ago, I have learned a number of coping techniques – actually not just coping but also surviving and thriving – that can help in difficult and uncertain times. I swear by these to help me stay focused and so I hope by sharing these I can help any of you that might be struggling on any particular day to introduce new habits to make life a little easier too:
- Practice gratitude
I journal daily, outlining three things that happened that day which I’m most grateful for. It could be the smile a stranger gave me whilst walking down the street, it could be my husband making me a cup of tea as soon as I get home from work, or it could be something like my son making a lovely piece of colourful art. Looking at everything you still have in life and being grateful for cherished moments takes away from focusing on the negatives.
Recently I’ve had three very close people in the family with injuries. I focus on the fact that they are receiving the best care, are in the right place for it, are being looked after, and think about moments with them. It takes away from focusing on the injuries and the impact it has on them being injured and caring for them all
It’s my saviour and really helps with breathing, keeping calm, removing any anxiety and brings clarity in my mind to think things through logically and clearly. Meditation has been part of my life for the last three years almost. Start small, only 5 minutes a day is all that is needed, then you can increase as you gain focus. For me, on a good day I do 30 minutes in the morning and about 20 minutes in the evening.
3. Do the things you love most
If that’s cooking, over cook! If that’s reading, read more to, if that’s putting on your best lipstick, like I do, do it! These things make you feel good and boost your mood
.4. Reach out
There’s nothing wrong with seeking help and there’s a plethora of information and resources online to help with links to follow through on for support services. Reaching out also means taking up the opportunity from a friend for a coffee or a chat.
For me that’s walking but any form of exercise is great. I find walking with a really good podcast to listen to is the motivation I need to get going. It sets me up with the excitement to do it, and I can carry on walking for longer. It really helps to have fresh air circulation around the body, uplifting your mood and I always feel more alert and energised from it.
Don’t suppress them. When I was experiencing grief in the early days, I wrote out my emotions, and it really helped release a lot in me. As time goes on, I openly talked about grief, that again helps me. I’ve also written a letter to the person I was grieving for. It helped release a lot and give me closure with so much more.