How to Keep Psychologically Fit
Over the past week I have noticed that perhaps I am beginning to struggle with the whole coronavirus lockdown/social distancing measures.
At the weekend I really felt the urge to go out somewhere, apart from where I have been going for the previous few weeks, to work or for walks in my local area.
The realisation that I couldn’t do that sat with me for a while and then I carried on as normal. So I thought!
It was only today that I noticed that I held a niggling feeling that my brain was struggling with something, but had no idea what it was.
It was after some serious self-questioning that I realised that the feeling from the weekend had not left me and was sitting in my subconscious somewhere, irritating me from within.
What did I do?
Once I realised what the problem was, I thought about all the things I have been doing up until this point to keep myself in an okay space emotionally and mentally and got myself out of stress mode and into a place of control and calm.
Notice I say an ‘okay’ space. You don’t need to take yourself beyond this if you don’t want to. Okay, is okay. You can look for euphoria, excitement and all sorts of positive emotions, but as you are no doubt aware, these are unsustainable and the drop from these spaces can cause issues if not managed.
Onto my list. I thought I would share some of the things that I have been using to be ‘okay’ at this difficult time that you can try to help yourself be psychologically fit.
The purpose of this list is to you find safety, calm, connection, efficacy and hope:
Firstly, avoid any misinformation and fearful stories. The news, social media, family and friends are going to be full of stories and you need to shut out anything that isn’t reliable.
Insulate yourself from the continuous flow of negative news.
You can do this by:
Limiting your time on social media – maybe just check in once a day.
Watch a reliable news channel for any information you want – again, keep it brief, the headlines are likely to be all you need.
Focus on the fact that you are relatively safe at the moment – all the things that you have got in your life, rather than what you don’t have.
Make a Covid Free Zone
It is important in everyday life to have a space where you remain in the present moment as being present helps to regulate your nervous system and has the added effect of boosting your immune system.
What can you do to remain present?
Bake a cake, read, listen to music, exercise or use some mediation or mindfulness practices.
What would be your thing to be present?
I have just ordered an archery set for the garden. Never owned one before, but I think it will be something to engage with that will help with my mindset.
Again, avoiding the news etc
Create a time period where there is a no entry sign for anything covid related.
At least once a day, do something that allows your body to relax.
This could include your hobbies, exercise, getting enough rest/sleep (remember sleep is restorative and helps keep you healthy. It also helps you to process the things in your subconscious, including anything stressful).
Breathe – take some time out to close your eyes, notice your breathing and then incorporate some deep breathing exercises – remember to breathe from your stomach and not your chest. This will release hormones into your system that create calm and relaxation.
The ability to produce an intended or desired result.
There are many things that have changed over the last couple of months that will have led to some losing a sense of identity as we can no longer engage with our lives as normal.
The places where we find happiness, connection, solace, purpose and meaning.
Probably the most difficult of things to replace at this time.
Can you plan and execute a meaningful project?
Things around the house that you haven’t been able to find time to finish, a language or instrument you have always wanted to learn or improve at, plan the first trip that you will take when this passes, who you may want to spend more time with that you may have neglected due to other life ‘stuff’.
If you have lost your job, can you look into something you have always wanted to do? Learn skills and study for this. If you want to stay in the same field, is there a particular company you want to work for? Read up on them and be ready.
Share your new plans with friends and family that will support and encourage you, avoid those with negative mindsets who will just criticise or show no interest.
Contribute to the well being of others.
This will help you to see that not only are you going to be okay, but you are able to help others to do the same.
This takes us out of space of lack and into abundance.
Help a neighbour in need, make that call, hold some kind of online gathering, show off your skills and invite everyone to watch, donate blood (you don’t get a covid test with this despite the rumours).
Anything that allows you to connect to yourself and others in a meaningful way.
Know, like everything in life, this will pass. The situation you are in right now is a form of grief, whenever we lose something, we will experience grief in some shape or form.
In times of uncertainty our brains can play amazing tricks on us as it seeks certainty and an element of control.
Plan for your future, this can give you back a sense of balance and empowerment.
Plant the seeds of your future and see how they can grow.
Share positive stories about what you are going to do when this is over (again with like-minded people, positive and encouraging people).
Start a gratitude/appreciation journal – this wires the brain to focus on positives and then look for them too.
Reassure yourself that this is an ever-evolving situation that you are moving through.
I hope that this list helps you and that you are able to put something into practice immediately.
Remember that you can always refer back to your list, even when the pandemic is over.
If you would to discuss how coaching can assist with these then please fill out the contact form or call 07709 350019.
I am always here to help.
Be good to yourself