Mental health & wellness in the times of coronavirus
Tips for self care during coronavirus
Our mental health affects the way we think, feel and act. It includes our emotional, psychological and social functions and affects the way we handle stress, make choices and cope in times of hardship. Caring for ourselves and our mental health have long been overlooked by our busy society, however after finding ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic it is fast becoming a priority and we are realising just how important practices of mindfulness and self care can be.
Here we have some key points and practices that we believe can be most beneficial in caring for ourselves in these uncertain times.
Making sure you are getting even a little bit of exercise throughout your week will do wonders for your mental state. There are many studies that show that physically active people have much lower risks of developing depression and anxiety than people who rarely move and new studies have shown that moving for even 10 minutes a day can contribute to our experiencing more happiness. Luckily there is an absolute abundance of home workouts, yoga & pilates sessions and dance activities available for free or very cheap online at the moment. Take advantage of these generous opportunities and get that body moving!
MEDITATION / MINDFULNESS
Meditation or the practice of stillness in one way or another is perhaps the most beneficial practice we can undertake for our mental health. Having a daily meditation or mindfulness practice has enormous health benefits including stress and anxiety reduction, improving mood and emotional health and enhancing optimism and self esteem amongst many, many others. There are countless guided meditations available online or if you prefer to work with the breath, which is another excellent method of slowing day and becoming more mindful, we have a beautiful breath-work exercise available on our facebook page. It is called Alternate Nostril Breathing or Nadi Shodhana and is very effective at calming the nerves.
Try bringing out your creative side in one way or another for some release and to pass the time. There are so many ways to get creative such as playing music, dancing like nobody's watching (because they probably aren’t right now!) or painting or drawing something. Who cares if you are not exactly Picasso, no one has to see your modest attempts, do it for yourself! For expressing something inside of you that wants to come out and releasing some tension that might be seeking an outlet. You could also start the 19 Day Drawing Challenge that we recently took part in with Arts House Jersey and Bill Wertram. It doesn’t matter that the challenge is over now you could still do it for yourself. There are many crafting ideas out there too, a quick google will provide you with plenty of inspiration or you could try checking out Get Creative for some inspiration https://getcreativeuk.com/activities
There is nothing like being in nature. No substitute can compare with getting out and taking a long (or short) walk (or sit down!) out on our beautiful island. Now that restrictions have eased on time spent outside we are lucky enough to be able to really soak up the nature vibes and all the health benefits that come with it. A recent study found that people who spent two hours a week in nature — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who don’t https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44097-3
With countless walking routes and tracks we really are spoilt for choice here in Jersey. If you need some inspiration for where to go you can visit https://www.jersey.com/guides-features/self-guided-walks-in-jersey for a comprehensive guide.
Being idle or bored has got to be the fastest way to send yourself loopy in this big pause that we are experiencing. Try and keep yourself busy by finding projects to do. Clear out your wardrobe and maybe even make some money by selling your stuff online or for donating. Reorganise your kitchen or spring clean the house. Study something online, build something or get that gardening project going. We also have a vast collection of online resources available to keep you busy with reading. If you wanted to be more active and you are not high risk you could even go and offer your time to volunteering. https://www.gov.je/Health/Coronavirus/Volunteering/Pages/CoronavirusVolunteering.aspx
LIMIT NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA INTAKE
I know it can feel somewhat comforting to keep up to date with all the information and stats about what is happening but too much of this is really not good for us either. There is a lot of information and even misinformation out there at the moment and it can be easy to get swept up in it all and forget all the good things that still exist in the world. If you do find yourself online more than you think you should then maybe try and find some of the good news networks and instagram sites available that highlight all the positive things still happening all around us. Specifically on Facebook there is a group called "coronavirus jersey - acts of kindness" that is spreading love and working to unite our community in helping each other out and lifting the current mood. Go check it out and help to keep the vibes high!
I know that for a lot of us these times are a very serious and even a sad or scary space to be in. However we must try to find joy in these moments too, because they do still exist and like I just mentioned, it is good to remind yourself of these things. Watch something funny, connect with friends and play games via Zoom or Facetime. Google or Youtube funny animal videos. If all else fails there is always Tik-Tok!!
Connect Me is a free service provided by the States of Jersey for assisting anyone in need of help during these times. From dog walking to providing information, grocery shopping to a nice friendly chat there are people waiting and ready to help. You can contact them on 445566.
It can be easy to fall into all those tempting snacking habits and looking for comfort in fatty and high sugar foods but i think we can all agree that the high is only temporary! The come down from these can be extremely detrimental to our mental health so do try and stick to healthy whole foods as much as possible and keep the mental fluctuations to a minimum. Make some nice healthy meals and if you still crave the sweets then google some healthy treat recipes and get creative! I promise they actually do taste as good! Even better infact as no guilt attached!! WIN-WIN.
CLAP FOR THE CARERS
Such a simple act to thank our hero’s who are out there on the frontlines saving lives and putting theirs own at risk for the greater good, and as if that wasn’t enough there is actually such a beautiful feeling of solidarity that arises from clapping outside your house (or from a window) and hearing others join in even if they are far away and you can’t see them. Join in every Thursday at 8pm, no matter where you are.