Lockdown.... When will this pandemic be over?!
Firstly, how are you all?
Covid-19, lockdown and restrictions are continuing to take its toll on us.
Lack of routine, industries at a standstill, missing loved ones, pressures of home schooling and so on.....
So what can we do to make things a little easier?
The main one is focus on you. We often neglect ourselves taking care of life admin and others around us.
When was the last time you took care of you? Me time is not selfish, but essential. Even if it is only 5 minutes a day, take that time for you.
Here are my top tips to help you gain focus and clarity.
Being stuck indoors most of the day everyday can be draining. Have you got your little corner of calm?
If not I highly recommend creating one. A lot of us are not sleeping too well at the moment, myself included. Anyone else in the 4am club before actually getting to sleep?..... Our bedrooms is our room of relaxation. Ensure your bedroom is tidy, free from clutter and in its rightful place. It makes such a difference. If your room is tidy, you feel calmer. A messy bedroom makes you feel stressed and plays on your mind; whether you realise it or not.
Keep to a routine. This is essential. Even if you are not sleeping well or its taking longer for you to get to sleep, still get up when you hear your alarm. Of course it is tempting to hit snooze or turn it off completely and sleep the morning away, but doing this often your body is confused. Thinking this is your new routine making it harder to get to sleep and even harder to get up on lack of or very little sleep.
Ensure your bedroom is clean and tidy with no clutter lying around. Without realising this will actually play on your mind as all you can see is a messy space. Tidy space clearer thoughts.
Drink a herbal tea or water before bed. Never caffeine. Herbal remedies are a great alternative. If you must have your evening cup of tea, try decaf or have an hour before bedtime.
If your bedroom has spotlights dim the lighting, create that calming mood. Alternatively if you have a lamp utilise this, do not sit for ages watching tv with bright lights on. The bright light will stimulate the eye and keep you awake.
Light an aromatherapy candle and let the gentle aroma fill your room. Inhaling essential oils has an impact on your body. Choose soothing scents, lavender, petitgrain, sandalwood, camomile, rose....
Eye Mask - have you tried sleeping with an eye mask? This will block out any light glare and may help you get to sleep.
Detox before bedtime. Ideally an hour or at least 30 minutes before bed. We are constantly looking at our phones, laptops, tablets or televisions. Remember that bright light will keep you awake. Dim the lighting on your devices may help, but we suggest you detox 30 minutes - 1 hour prior to bedtime. Relax the mind and read a book or take some time to do a little self care; meditation, yoga, pampering....
I know it is hard to stay motivated or have a day off which lasts the duration of lockdown but exercise is good for the body and mind. When we exercise we are releasing endorphins, feel good hormones. There are so many online coaches offering FREE online live sessions to keep you active and motivated. Why not join in and give it a try! We are spending a lot of time sitting around. Not getting our bodies moving, not getting in our steps and this can make us feel sluggish, lethargic, bloated, self critical, lazy and in a slump.
If for any reason you can't do exercises which require equipment (although online coaches do workouts which require no equipment) then walk. We should all be walking on a daily basis, us who drive will agree we are lazy. Instead of walking to the local shops, unless you need to do a big food shop, still get in our cars regardless. Using the weather as an excuse or it just being more convenient to walk.
Go on a long park walk, or find a country park / forest and enjoy nature. Leave your phone in your pocket, listen to some music or have a meaningful conversation with who you are with. I find walking through a forest so relaxing, plus it is great exercise. Don't forget your wellies!
How many of you practice meditation / mindfulness? Do you love it or think its a little airy fairy to practice.... On a training course we practiced mindfulness. I thought here we go..... but in all honesty I found it so relaxing. Here is what we did
Sit back on a chair with your feet firmly on the ground. Close your eyes and rest your hands in your lap or down by your side, with your head slightly tilted down. Hold a sip of water in your mouth and focus on the water. Nothing else but the water. Relax your breathing and be aware of your breathing, slowing it down. As you drink the water, imagine it running through your body as if it were the rippling effect of throwing a pebble into still water. The ripple effect is what the water is doing through your body. Releasing all that stress, worry and negativity away. Keep focusing on your breathing throughout. Focus on your feet, even though firmly on the ground you should feel lighter as if you were in the ocean and your feet floating in the water. Relieving you of that heavy feeling. Your thoughts should now be of water, the ocean and a gentle stillness, a pause from your regular thoughts. After 1-2 minutes slowly bring your head up, elevate your arms out and open your eyes and be back in the present moment.
This technique was delivered by a mindfulness expert and I still practice this technique, admittedly not as often as I should but it is powerful if you do this a few times a day to realign your thoughts.
If you try this technique please do let me know how you find it.
Another effective thing is letting go of the day. Focus on tomorrow being a new day.
The news is so depressing! Limit the amount of time you watch, read or listen to the news. Hearing constantly about all the bad going on in the world is sure to make us feel angry, anxious. Limit your news updates to just once a day.
The power of technology! Feeling lonely, lost, sad, depressed..... reach out to someone, if not a professional connect with a friend or family member.
It is amazing to see strangers connecting on social media, online forums and speaking about how they feel. You may learn something, take up a new hobby, make new friends...
Also check in with those in your life, a voice note, text, call, face time or zoom will make someone's day and that has such a positive impact on mood.
No one should suffer alone during any period in their life, know you are not alone.
7. Self Care / Pamper
Apply all the products! When we feel good it shows on the outside. When we look good we feel it on the inside. Do what feels best for you, style your hair daily, apply your make up daily, paint your nails weekly whatever works for you to feel more confident and better within yourselves. Apply your skin and body care products daily. Utilise the smell of your products. Before applying, take the product in the palm of your hands, cup both hands together and inhale. Close your eyes and take in 3 deep breathe. Inhalation has positive effects on the body. Example if you have ever been to a lavender field and seeing purple tones everywhere, inhaling the calming aroma of lavender and enjoying the day. If your products contain say lavender, what happens is by inhaling you are stimulating the limbic system, located within the brain. Here is where your emotions and memories - taking you back to that lavender field and how it made you feel.
8. Food and Alcohol
It is important in life we do not deprive ourselves of anything, including things such as food and a few glasses of wine here and there. Keep in mind with less frequent movement, constantly having sweet treats and take away dinners will take its tool on not only our waistline but making us feel bloated, sluggish, lethargic and un motivated. Alcohol is also high on the calories and apart from anything alcohol is a depressant. Limit and be aware of how much alcohol you are consuming daily or weekly. It is there to be enjoyed, yes it can make us feel more relaxed, is a social thing even making us feel more confident. However if you are feeling down, low, depressed and lonely alcohol consumption really is not the best option. More and more people are turning to alcohol more than ever during lockdown... know your limits or change your habits not only for how you are feeling within your thoughts but also how the effects affect your body.
Ensure you are having your 5 a day. Use up old fruit or veg and make smoothies, drink 2-3 litres of water each day too. Balanced diet is a happy mind - happy body medium. Everything in moderation.
I recently shared with you all the benefits of water. Yes that dull, clear liquid we all seem to loathe.
Water is essential for our overall health. When our body is well hydrated, we feel more energised, more motivated, less sluggish and lethargic, we reduce the bloating and even the constipation. Our skin is clearer, hair shinier and we have less toxins in our bodies. Being well hydrated also helps our brain activity, clearer thoughts and can help with better sleep.
Bored constantly? Now is the time to take up a hobby. Knitting, drawing, painting, making things, reading, yoga / Pilates, journaling, writing stories, re decorating your home that has been on your to do list forever..... This will give you something to focus on and give you a sense of purpose if you are stuck in with limited things to do.
So there you have it, some of my top picks to help you keep on track during lockdown.
I hope you feel inspired. We can do this!
Keep safe and remember to effectively look after others requires you to look after yourself too
Better days are ahead, one day at a time.
Until next time.......
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