These are challenging times for us all, and the climate of fear and uncertainty can have a – sometimes – significant impact on our mental wellbeing. Here are some of our ideas on ways that could help us to stay positive and resilient:
Control and influence: thinking about what we can control and what we can influence helps us to see where our power lies; whilst it can feel like things are happening to us, we do have control and influence. I can control washing my hands. I can influence my child to do the same. Knowing what we can do allows us to have some power in a situation that can leave us feeling powerless. The stuff that is out of our control and our influence is where we probably spend most of our time worrying – which is futile. Learning to accept the things we cannot control and influence, and identifying the things that we can, helps us to become more resilient and solution focused.
Positive thinking and catastrophising: we might get a feeling of fear, panic or worry and it is our thinking that helps to keep it in place. Looking out for when we find ourselves tumbling into a cycle of negative thinking and challenging it – I know this isn’t true, for example – can be helpful. As can recognising when we are catastrophising – the doom-laden ‘what it’ thought process should be stopped in its tracks when we notice it.
Looking for the good: we don’t have to just wait for this to pass to notice the good stuff. Writing three good things from the day, or three things you’re grateful for, can help to build a positive mindset. It doesn’t have to be big things; it can be little moments like, a kind word . This is also something that can be done collectively, as a family for example, recognising a good thing or things from that day. Even at times like this, there is an abundance of goodness, we just have to take time to notice it. And in doing so, we help to build a positive mindset.
Social media: social media can be good for keeping people connected but it can also damage our mental health if we don’t use it carefully. Think about how you are using it at this time – is it adding value or making you feel worse?
Mindfulness and meditation: Mindfulness and meditation can be really useful to stay calm. Calm, Headspace or The Mindfulness App are tools that can help you to do this, or check out The Happiness Branch.
It’s ok: remember, it’s ok whatever you’re feeling. Fear, panic, hope, just feel without judgement.
Seek help: seek help if you need it.
This storm shall pass: there is a fantastic saying that ‘the only thing permanent in life is change.’ And so, this storm shall pass.
If you find yourself in lockdown which now seems likely, remember there are five things we need for our wellbeing:
- Connect: we need to have human connection. And just because you can’t connect in physical space, we can do so via technology. How about a skype meet-up!?
- Be active: our physical health correlates to our mental health and so we need to stay active. Even if you can’t get outside, you can still be active, via a fitness app for example.
- Take notice: be mindful of that which is in the moment, for example, through meditation. With so much unknown, there is huge scope for us to enjoy all that there is in the here and now.
- Learn: as humans we need to keep learning and a lockdown could give us time and space to do this. This could be an online course, or it could simply be reading a book or watching a documentary.
- Give: our wellbeing is boosted by giving to others. And there is no better time than now to give. If safety and circumstances allow, this could be picking up shopping for a neighbour. Or, if we are in lockdown, it could be as easy as making a call to check in on someone else.