We know it’s important to look after our mental health, but in these stressful times that is far easier said than done.
Here are some basic ways you can incorporate looking after your mental health into your day-to-day routines.
We are stronger, happier and healthier when we connect with each other. At a time when face to face contact is difficult, connecting in other ways is a vital part of self-care.
If you are feeling down it is even more important to try and keep in contact with others as it will help you to feel supported when you need it most.
Some ways to connect:
Grounding techniques can help you focus on how your body is currently feeling so you don’t get overwhelmed by ongoing trauma, fears or anxiety.
Essentially, grounding works by distracting you from negative emotions and thoughts.
When you feel anxiety building, one basic grounding technique is to go through your five senses, one by one, taking note of what you can:
Once you have become more aware of how you are feeling, take some slow breaths to bring yourself back to the present.
“Many people find it calming to take a moment to check in with how your body is feeling by focussing on your different senses. Then you ask yourself, Does my anxiety match the circumstances I am in?” says Jenny Field, Windermere Mental Health and Wellbeing counsellor.
In moments like these, when there are so many unknowns it can be helpful to focus on what we can control, rather than what we can’t.
“It’s useful to go back to basic routines when we are trying to deal with so many external changes. Routines can give us stability and certainty during times of uncertainty. It’s about doing the things that you already know work for you and your family,” says Jenny.
Basic routines might include:
Children will generally be aware that the coronavirus has caused lots of concern amongst adults and may also worry.
It can be useful to:
For family violence and trauma survivors, being in self isolation can be especially distressing as it can be a reminder of the past.
“We are noticing this theme is coming up for a lot of women with family violence trauma. Being in isolation and in an unknown situation makes her body feels like she is back there,” says Jenny.
If your current circumstances are causing you to re-live trauma, it can be helpful to think of the differences between now and then. For example, you may need to stay at home in your current situation, but you are in a safe place and in control of the decisions you make in your own home.
Social isolation may increase your risk of family violence, reduce your safety and increase your mental health vulnerability. If you are at risk of family violence then it is important for you to have a safety plan.
You can find out more information about developing a safety plan here in this article from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre.
The below organisations provide useful mental health resources. You can also contact them if you have a concern or need urgent assistance.
Black Dog Institute
Resources for understanding and supporting mental health.