It is approaching mid October , and the evenings are drawing in. For some of us the months seem to have flown by in some respects, but for others it has also been a long haul of living in uncertain and changeable times.
Facing New Restrictions
Restrictions are constantly updating and differ-depending on the area in which you live. It can seem very confusing, draining and hard to keep up with the latest advice even though we know this is because this is in some ways unknown territory and even the scientists are still learning. There are new rules requiring people to self-isolate, with businesses having to abide by workplace safety measures, and limitations on how many people we can socialise with, both inside and outside our homes, and in cafes, bars and restaurants and in some areas even full closures of businesses.
You may be feeling fed up now and tired of the restrictions and just wish it was all over and back to some sort of normality. Or you may be anxious about the future, worried about not seeing your friends and family, or worried about the stability of your job, worried about the virus itself and wondering if it will ever go away. It is understandable to feel like this, and to feel ground down with no clear idea of when life will feel ‘normal’ again.
It is important to try and keep your spirits up and make some time for you. Keeping in mind we are being asked to do something very important to help the wider community and keep the vulnerable safe.
With restrictions changing so frequently, it is worthwhile checking out the updates in with your local authority. While we are not allowed to socialise like we used to, and currently not able to visit each other in our homes, you can still visit people outside in the fresh air, enjoy a nice walk, or treat yourself to a cuppa and catch up with another household in a cafe or restaurant. Keeping in touch with your friends and family is so important. Use video calls, arrange an online quiz night for family, check in with people you care about, or someone you know in your community who lives alone.
Self Care During COVID-19
Make sure you get plenty of fresh air. If you are shielding, keeping your windows open for a while every day will make you feel better because otherwise the house can get very stuffy and you feel more lethargic. Stick to a routine, open your curtains in the morning and let the daylight in or take a few moments to notice what’s outside. Don’t watch too much news, or spend too much time on social media (just enough to keep you informed) but enjoy a movie, read a book, listen to a podcast instead, and distract yourself from worries around the virus.
Make Things Interesting at Home
While a lot of us have been more house-bound than normal; perhaps you are working from home as well as spending a lot more time with family members, and unable to socialise with friends in your house, it is a good idea to create an outdoor space in your garden if you can, which allows you to still see another household safely in the comfort of your own surroundings. If you are creating a space, use it for a nice activity for you to escape for a while- planting or meditating for example. You might be feeling that it is hard to get some breathing space at home so make sure you can escape for time to yourself.
Create a Calm Space Indoors
It is a good idea if possible to have a space indoors where you can find time to relax, away from the busy and noisy hub of the household. All your rooms have a purpose- eating, sleeping, washing etc… so why not create a space dedicated to your calm relaxation time?
Some ideas to create a calm space indoors:
Define Your Space- if you are creating a peaceful meditation space it should be a place that’s quiet and off-limits to other people for at least a short while. When you’re in your calming place kids, spouses should give you some time to yourself. It’s ok to say to others ‘I just need a few moments on my own’ and suggest they do too. Your space should also be void of distractions and away from noisy areas such as the kitchen and living room.
No Distractions- make your space a phone or tech-free zone. This is a time for you to reflect, what’s going well, what could be changed, what am I grateful for today and maybe even write a journal. You don’t need distractions while you’re recharging your batteries.
Lighting- your space should be a place where you feel comfortable. If you enjoy natural light, choose a space with windows where you can watch the sun come up in the morning, or set at night, or turn the lights down low light a candle (safely) if in the evening and draw the curtains to make it cosy.
Music- there’s something soothing about music. Music gives your happy hormones a boost and drowns out background noises. Make a play list of your favourite tracks and artists or alternatively, use instrumental music or apps that have the sounds of nature- rain or birds tweeting can relax you.
Connect with Nature- Houseplants can have a calming effect, as can a small indoor water feature, a nice picture of the sea or landscape or a picture/photograph of your favourite place in the world.
Feeling Safe at Home
For many people feeling safe and relaxed at home is not always easy. It has been widely reported during the coronavirus pandemic that there has been an increase in phone calls to domestic abuse helplines and a rise in calls to Childline. For many reasons old or new many people have found themselves unable to leave a frightening, aggressive volatile environment. If this is you, it is important that you strive to find access to a safe place and know that you can get help.
Women’s Aid’s direct services have reported escalating abuse and with adults and children having to live in lockdown with an abuser due to Covid-19; “Women in lockdown with their abuser will be less able to get breathing space. It will be harder to text or phone to get support from friends and family, and from specialist support services. Child survivors will no longer have the respite of school or nursery, which can often be a safe space to access support.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the world has been divided into many different camps of beliefs with various conspiracy theories and media rumours circulating from one being the belief that the virus was created in a lab and spread via 5G towers to rumours of government control.
It is good to be aware that there is an overload of inaccurate and misleading information surrounding the virus and these rumours gain more attention and spread faster than those from valid sources. There has been a lot of debate on social media about the virus, with differing opinions and views being rallied around, this can all feel exhausting on top of the worries you may have surrounding the restrictions, your family, and your work, so try not to get caught up in it.
It is understandable to feel angry and frustrated by the restrictions being put on us at the moment, however it will benefit you greatly to try turn your energy towards supporting and helping each other through these testing times. To give yourself a break, while developing compassion towards yourself and others. Try to listen more not judgementally and be compassionate and gentle to yourself and others as people we are all vulnerable. Even the scientists and politicians respectfully debate the current information, this is a healthy approach and how we all learn and move forward.
You may have heard of mindfulness. This is an ancient meditational approach that encourages us to focus our mind on the moment rather than on worries and concerns. Our mindfulness Slow Down and Be book available online. Here you can learn how to: pay attention to the right stuff, slow down so that you can calmly see what’s happening more clearly and practice kindness to yourself and others.
Try Tension Control Training – helps the person replace anxious feelings with calm feelings.
Tension Control Training can be a very useful tool for aiding relaxation and improving your sleep. Find it here in our Free Resources Page. Using our TCT handout and the two linked audio relaxation files, you will be taught a method of achieving a state of calm relaxation simply by concentrating your mind on relaxing thoughts rather than unhelpful, fearful thoughts.
The key to the approach is to help you to relax the tension in your body and move your thoughts away from the worries that can dominate your thinking. It involves noticing and being mindful about your body and breathing and also helps you let thoughts just be so you can move your mind to a calm controlled relaxed state.
For more resources to help you why not sign up to our course at www.llttf.com
The Living Life to the Full Team.