These are truly unprecedented times. We are all scared, we don’t know what will happen, friends and family might get ill, or might already be ill, people are panic buying, and we have all been told to stay at home and keep away from people.
So how do we look after our mental and physical health during these challenging times?
These are my top tips based on my experience as a mindfulness practitioner and teacher:
- Accept we are where we are
This may sound counter-intuitive, but railing against the current situation won’t change anything, it just increases our stress levels. So can we practice accepting that this is how it is for now, this is the ‘new normal’ and instead stop fighting and think about how we can adjust our day to day lives.
- Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness can help decrease stress, increase calm, clarity and focus. All needed at the moment. There are some great online resources, including this free online course from Breathworks.
Insight Timer is a very useful online meditation app. I particularly like this one.
It’s easy to feel cooped up inside all day. Try and go out into the garden or go for a walk everyday while keeping your distance from other people. Being out in nature has healing qualities, just think of the Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’.
Even half an hour outside helps our mental health. Notice the weather, the clouds in the sky, the feel of the air. What can you see? Trees, flowers, buildings. Can you hear the birds? There are fewer planes in the sky and less traffic. What can you smell? How does your body feel?
Exercise is really important for our mental as well as our physical health. Gyms and swimming pools are closed, but can you go for a walk, a run or a bike ride? If you are socially isolating and staying indoors, try some online yoga. This site (Yoga With Adriene) comes very highly recommended.
We can no longer meet up with friends, go to pubs or cafes, or go into the office. Social connection is even more important. Luckily, we have access to a wealth of online websites and apps to stay connected, including WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype etc. Try scheduling time with a friend for a virtual coffee and chat.
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