We don’t need telling that it has been almost a year since the pandemic fundamentally changed all our lives. As the government has set the roadmap out of lockdown, many people are finding this final hurdle the most difficult. Have we lost our social skills? Will people ever shake hands again? Will we feel comfortable in a crowd after lockdown?
If you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed every day, struggling to feel motivation or enthusiasm about anything and finding it hard to get in touch with friends and family because you feel you have nothing to say, you are not alone.
These months of stress, anxiety and big changes to our routines, and add to that not having the usual connection with others is having an impact on our mental health during lockdown. I’d like to give you some scientifically proven tips, that can help you navigate the gradual steps back to normality and improve your mood and wellbeing.
We need to bring moments that “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say. This doesn’t need to be expensive; it can just be rushing outside when the sun is out and having a cuppa mindfully without looking at your phone. Do more of what you love. If you love reading instead of scrolling, read a chapter of a book. Listen to a short podcast. Have a game of snap with the children. Give yourself a healthy treat.
Make routines for your wellbeing – if you think you don’t have time for it, you will soon have to make time for being ill. Small amounts of time every day go a long way to make you feel better.
- Avoid Stimulation Before Bedtime:
- Create a ritual at night to help get you into a relaxed state winding down for the last hour
- Avoid screens for at least 2 hours prior to going to bed
- Enjoy a Hot and Cold Shower or Bath
- A bath or shower before bed is a great way to relax your body, especially if you keep switching between hot and cold water.
- This as a pump for your lymphatic system and expands and contracts your blood vessels which brings your awareness and consciousness and all your energy into your body and out of your mind.
- Stretch Your Body
Perform a mild stretch before bed. Try getting into child’s pose by kneeling on your knees and placing your hands in front of your head and touching your forehead to the ground or bed. Stay in this pose for about 20 seconds to a minute and just focus on your breathing.
- Listen to my “Help with insomnia” mp3
“Help with Insomnia” uses progressive relaxation and powerful hypnotic suggestions to focus the mind on the body instead of that spiral of thoughts.
- A bedtime routine of listening to the MP3 can be started and our mind soon recognises and enjoys this and then falling asleep is expected.
- The recording can also be used on waking in the middle of the night to aid the quick return to peaceful sleep.
Lie down on your bed and listen to my evening visualisation because it’s specifically designed to put you into the state of deep sleep. You don’t have to listen to what it’s saying, you can tune out and let your subconscious listen.
Do a kind thing
Apart from being the right thing to do, doing something nice for someone else can help reduce anxiety and make you feel happier. A simple compliment can make someone’s day, start a new friendship, or just make the world a better, kinder place especially during lockdown. It’s easy to underestimate the impact kind words or the effect kind actions can have on people and yourself. Some ideas here are random acts of kindness, volunteering (you can do this online, if you are shielding) or checking in on your neighbours.
Find a style that suits you and do at least 10 minutes a day. I love mindfulness as it brings you into the present without any wish to change anything (ideal at the moment). An easy way to start is to download my 3-minute breathing space.
Find something you love doing or you won’t keep it up! I love to run, but you may love dancing, walking the dog or walking around town.
Yoga – I do online Yoga with Sally at Beeston Fitness – it’s £12 per week and I feel so much better for it, mentally and physically. I’ve also been working with Sebastian Sutherland from Seb Fitness. If you are in a position where you are not spending money on holidays, for example, or have been re-evaluating your priorities, you are worth it. There are also plenty of classes on YouTube. I’ve recently discovered Mr Vybes Dancehall workouts!
Talk to friends, colleagues, family or get help from a professional. Do NOT keep your feelings bottled up, we all need to release them, and the best way is to talk to someone you trust.
How the Live Well Practice can help
If you need any help with overcoming a particular issue such as anxiety, stress, or have any mental health concerns, whether the issue is lockdown related or not please get in touch. I am a clinical hypnotherapist and Reiki practitioner. You can reach me via email email@example.com or on 075 222 777 22.