Looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus pandemic
Some practical ideas to improve your wellbeing and increase resilience
We are entering a new phase of the COVID 19 pandemic. It has brought an immediate impact to many people’s lives, whether because of financial, health or emotional problems. Some people lost some loved ones and most of us have had to live in an atmosphere of danger and threat, to a lesser or greater extent. It has certainly brought radical changes to the way we live.
The stress of this collective trauma could have a long-lasting impact on our mental health for years to come, bringing out existing vulnerabilities for people that experienced mental health symptoms before or creating new ones as a result of the social isolation, economic downturn or the experience itself of coming into contact with COVID 19, whether first hand or indirectly.
For this reason, it could be more important than ever to be proactive and have something in place to help our body cope with the constant feeling of threat and powerful emotions that are bound to be stirred up in the coming months.
Here are a few ideas
Getting your body moving
The stress created by the situation is felt in our bodies at a physiological level. In order to soothe it, it’s often beneficial to do something with our bodies too. I find yoga an easy, free practical I can do, if I need to de-stress. You can find videos of Youtube. Yoga with Adriene is a good one
Mindful breathing and stress management techniques
The breath is very powerful in regulating our internal state when we feel too much or too little. Spending a couple of minutes each day, observing your natural breath, could have a positive impact on your wellbeing
For some free posts and videos about breathing techniques and other EMDR techniques like the butterfly hug, have a look at my Instagram account for posts
I have also uploaded my IGTV videos on breathing techniques and stress and anxiety reducing tips to this youtube channel.
Necessary as they are to control the virus, measures such as self-quarantine, local lockdowns and social distancing are bound to have an adverse impact on our wellbeing. Keeping in touch with friends and supportive people, either online or through whatever type of in-person small group gathering is allowed where you are at the time of reading this – could be a life-line.
My lockdown favourite has been a regular Zoom call with a few friends, at times playing Pictionary with Zoom's whiteboard, or Codenames online at https://netgames.io/games/
If at all possible to meet in person in small groups, whilst practicing social distancing, that is also potentially something not to take for granted. I am making the most of socially distanced choir rehearsals in COVID secure premises whilst they are still allowed.
Accessing psychological support
If investing in some private psychotherapy and EMDR – in particular – is an option for you this could be a great way to work directly on any traumas associated with COVID or with pre-existing symptoms that have worsened because of the pandemic.
Alternatively, check out these websites for more information, helplines and free resources
If you would like to access support but are worried about the cost of therapy, feel free to get in touch any way and I might be able to recommend some options.