No one could have ever prepared us for the past 2 years. One minute we are all going about life as normal and the next minute businesses are closing, we are working from home, kids are doing home schooling and sadly many have lost jobs.
Emotions are heightened and you may have felt waves of anxiety or depression start to kick in. Its important to firstly acknowledge these feelings and allow them to sit with you for a bit. Feeling angst or low moods during a time where your whole life has been flipped upside down is a perfectly normal response.
Process why you are feeling this way. For example " I'm feeling anxious because I don't know how I will entertain the kids plus trying to work" " I am feeling saddened because I have not seen my family in....".
Being kind to yourself is something I practice regularly, and its something my clients will often hear me say. Its even more important right now that you are nourishing your soul and taking care of you first. Take that ten minutes to have a cup of tea, leave the dishes in the sink, listen to some music.
So how can you support yourself during lock down if your're starting to feel stressed and or anxious? Below are a few ways that have not only helped me during these times, but many of my clients:
1. Focus on your breathing
Stop and pause (if you're driving of course pull over somewhere safe)
- close your eyes and inhale for 4 seconds
- Slowly exhale for 4 seconds
- pause for 4 seconds
repeat this process 3-4 times or until you notice that your breathing is steady and you're starting to feel more relaxed.
2. Practice gratitude
I don't want you to dismiss any feelings that have been arsing (angst, sadness or stress) as its important to acknowledge those first. Suppressing emotions is toxic and only leads to further pain down the track.
But then gently bring your awareness back to now and think of 1-2 things you are thankful for.
3. Reduce caffeinated drinks or foods that are high in sugar
Consuming these will only be heightening your angst and causing your nervous system to go into fight or flight mode
Instead swap coffee for a herbal tea, swap the biscuits for a bliss ball or fruit bowl.
Its so easy to become complaisant when working from home.
You may work in your pjs, perhaps skip lunch as you're distracted, keep working late at night. However as our daily routines have already somewhat been disrupted causing us angst, its important for us to try and maintain a certain level of routine to help us adapt and transition into this new way of living and help bring us some predictability.
What does this look like:
Waking up at the normal time and exercising before work.
Whilst the gyms may not be open simple ways you can still incorporate exercise are:
* Going for a walk
* Doing an online yoga or pump class
Packing lunches the night before
Whether you are working from home or not you still have to eat. Take the stress out of trying to work, school your kids plus make lunch during the day.
Pack school lunches normally in their lunch boxes, and pre- pack yours too. That way come lunch time its already ready and you can sit and eat together. Or if the kids come to you saying "mum im hungry" you can tell them to find something to eat in their lunch box
Turning the computer off at the end of the day
Shut down the laptop and perhaps go for a walk in your street or back yard to stretch the legs, after finishing work and then head on in for dinner. It may be different for those who are working from home and also trying to home school your kids. In this case you may try home schooling for the first half of the day, and then the second half of the day log into do your work. Or you may need to log back on after the kids are in bed for a little bit. (Try not to work too late and give yourself some time to rest before heading to bed)
Make sure you are taking dinner breaks and family time before having to log back on to work.
5. Vitamin D
Working in the corporate spaces and shift workers they tend to already be lower in vitamin D, and if you are working from home you're likely cooped up inside on zoom calls and typing away on your computer forgetting that you actually have more of an opportunity now to actually step outside into the fresh air.
Vitamin D has many benefits such as:
- Supporting immune system
- Regulating moods
- Brain function
- Supporting healthy bones
Simple ways to increase your vitamin D levels are:
- Sit / work next to a window. Allowing natural lighting & fresh air into your work space (how good is it that you aren't in an office with fluorescent lighting)
- If possible take your laptop and work outside
- Have a picnic lunch in the back yard or veranda instead of sitting inside
- Supplementing with vitamin D (I will discuss this on a separate blog)
6. Call and friend
There is some truth to a problem shared is a problem halved.
Whilst we may not physically be able to connect and talk with one another, thankfully we have phones. Let someone know that you are having these emotions and feelings. Often just getting our thoughts out into the open and off our chest is just what we need.
These are just a few ways in which you can be supporting yourself during lock down. I hope that you are able to incorporate them into your days and they help bring some balance and peace to you.
Please know you are not alone, and if you are needing someone to talk to I am here.
Pop me an email and we can organize a cup of tea over zoom: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe and take care of you