Is anyone else feeling this strangeness descend like a black cloak – surrounding us with fear and trepidation. If so – then let me assure you that you are not alone. We are living in a whole new world and that can create huge amounts of anxiety. I know that for the past three weeks I have at times felt totally overwhelmed by it – and how quickly it all happened. And now we cannot get away from it. It is everywhere – open a newspaper, social media, turn on the radio or TV, talk to anyone at all – it is on the tip of everyone’s tongue – and from there, directly to your ears.
It is hard to get away from.
It is at times like this that I begin to put my personal wellbeing plan into place. I revert to it when I am getting it tough – and I am getting it tough right now. So here’s my first piece of advice to you to keep well. And keep up to date with my page as I will be posting about this again, and again, and again until we see the beaches, the mountains, feel the sand between our toes and the wind in our faces – and feel safe again to be the best of ourselves (and leave the other bits behind).
STEP I – CONNECTING
When we cannot connect with others how we once did we can become isolated, anxious, depressed even. I, myself, spent most of my time out with family and friends. Now I cannot do that. I live alone – I go out once a day – so what do I do to stay connected.
First of all – I make sure I speak to someone EVERY day. Being connected online is ok – but you should consider this as a complement to your personal connection. Talking to family by phone or using technology keeps me feeling part of what is going on outside my home.
Secondly – I connect using my five senses. I put my feet on the floor every morning. I feel the water from the shower every day. I taste my breakfast, lunch and dinner. I smell the coffee in my mug. I hear the Chapel Bells ring with reassuring consistency every day, with the birdsong as the chorus to this wonderful sound. I look outside or even better go outside into my garden and look at the trees, the sky, the mess that I now have time to clean up! Always looking for the positives.
And thirdly – I connect with myself. I sing, I dance, I spend silent time away from distraction every day. What is it that makes you feel healthy. Are you spiritual – then focus on that. Are you creative – then do something creative. Are you fond of dancing – blast the music out and dance away. Online activities are everywhere at the moment – but if you can remain connected off line then you will feel great. Some ideas:
Put your Christmas lights in the window – see if your neighbours do the same.
Get your children to design a picture for their granny and stick it on the window facing into the house.
Set up a teddy bears picnic on your front garden.
Put your favourite picture in your front window to cheer the postman up.
Connect with nature. Hug a tree in your garden, smell a flower, share pics of your favourite pet or farm animal.
Draw a picture of a rainbow and stick it in your window.
Put a thank you note on the side of the bin for the binman to see.
Play charades through the window, play a mannequin challenge – someone inside is the mannequin and the person outside tries to make them laugh.
BUT my message to you is to, every day, in some way, maintain your connections with others. This is the cornerstone to your mental health and wellbeing.