Many people are having a hard time coping with life on lockdown and remaining calm and happy. So I put together a guide for how to maintain a good mindset.
We all have our own personal mental health struggles. We all experience good days and bad days.
In recent months, however, many of us have been experiencing more than our fair share of bad days. And good days can seem harder and harder to come by.
All over the world, the COVID-19 outbreak has dealt devastating blows to people’s lives. Even those of us who have been lucky enough to avoid exposure the virus itself, will likely find that it continues to have far reaching effects on our health for some time to come.
Even those who have never experienced conditions like anxiety, depression or agoraphobia prior to the lockdown may be experiencing symptoms of such conditions now.
Many of us are sleeping less, losing our patience with loved ones all-too quickly and generally feeling as though the person we want to be is slowly eroding. And we’re less than thrilled by the person who’s emerging in their place..
But fear not.
Though you may be facing extraordinary circumstances, you can take control of your mental health and wellbeing.
If you follow my work then you know I’m a recovered anxiety sufferer. I wrote a bestselling relaxation guide book called Instant Calm and created a groundbreaking video course, The Anxiety Cure, which has helped many thousands of people from around the world to feel more calm, focused and hopeful.
Below are some ways to live your best life, even while under lockdown. You’ll learn helpful tips to reduce anxiety and depression and keep a calm and happy mindset.
Many of us are sleeping less right now.
(Don’t worry, we’ll come back to the topic of sleep later in this article.)
Even when we do manage to drift off, our sleep can be plagued by scary, sad or outright bizarre dreams.
When we wake from these dreams it can warp our perspective and start our day off on the back foot.
You may start your day feeling depressed, grouchy or filled with anxiety, as though something terrible is going to happen at any moment.
These dreams can be scary and bewildering.
But there’s no need to let them ruin your day or make you into someone you don’t want to be.
Get out of bed. Don’t try and fall back asleep to dream up something more positive. Get all the way out of bed. Take some time to stretch.
Consistently studies report that writing in a journal not only boosts your emotional wellbeing, it also helps people to be healthier too.
So take some time to write in a journal, like my line-a-day Listen to Your Heart Journal – and get your day off to a more positive start.
While we’re under lockdown, without the stimulation that we’ve come to expect from our jobs and our social circle, it’s easy to feel imprisoned within your thoughts.
If you occasionally experience thoughts that seem unwelcome, alien or intrusive it can be especially worrying.
We humans have a tendency to “catastrophize” and assume that the worst case scenario is an inevitability.
In a time of global crisis, our imaginations can run wild, much to the detriment of our mental health.
I recommend trying some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) strategies to help you to unravel those harmful thoughts and expose them to the cold, harsh light of reason under which they inevitably wither.
Plus, when social distancing rules are relaxed, you can also undergo CBT with a counsellor
You may also benefit from acceptance and commitment therapy. This is another self-help strategy which helps you to find acceptance of unwelcome thoughts and, over time, limit the damage that they are able to do to your wellbeing.
Speaking of acceptance, you may find that over the coming months, you need to accept a lot of things that you are unable to control.
Every day as the news reports more death, loss and suffering as a result of the lockdown, you’ll need to come to terms with the fact that you cannot reunite the bereaved with their loved ones.
You can do, however, do your part to prevent the spread of the illness by adhering to self-isolation and social distancing guidelines for as long as is necessary.
Mourning and bemoaning the things that you can’t control will leave you feeling frustrated, anxious and full of dread. Only by exerting your will over the things you can control will you create a calm, happy mindset.
Remember that even under lockdown, it’s important to spend time in the humble majesty of the great outdoors.
Under most circumstances, you can (and should) spend at least some time outdoors every day.
This will allow you access to fresh air, sunlight and nature.
Plus while you’re outside in the sunshine (practicing smart social distancing, while being safely masked etc) you can pick up life’s little essentials and maybe the odd indulgence.
If you don’t feel safe venturing outside, spend time looking out of your window, (if possible with the window open) so feel much less trapped and confined by circumstances.
You can also consider getting a SAD lamp to give you extra rays of the healthful sunshine you’re missing.
The company of animals can be extremely therapeutic under all circumstances.
Check out this post to see how enormously beneficial the company of animals can be. Especially in times of crisis such as these.
If you don’t have a pet, some studies report that you can get a nice serotonin rush simply by looking at videos and photos of cute animals!
As stated previously, the pandemic may well have wrought havoc with your sleeping patterns. However, it’s possible that you’re not helping yourself on this front.
Many of us are spending our days with our faces glued to one screen or another, frantically scrolling through our news and social media feeds, or watching season after season of TV shows on streaming services.
The trouble is that all the blue light from those screens can slow the body’s production of sleep-inducing melatonin and keep us awake at night.
A good day starts with a good night before.
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