I hope you’re keeping well.
As we continue in lock down, the reality of our situation is sinking in more than ever. We all react in different ways and some of us are more open about how we are feeling while others aren’t.
Some are feeling angry, confused, afraid and others taking it all in their stride aren’t they! We are living in unprecedented times, apart from those still living who survived the occupation, like my parents who are in their 80’s now.
At times like these, our natural reaction is a “Fight or Flight” response and sometimes we can Freeze up too. We have adrenaline and cortisol racing around our bodies and our heart rate increases, pumping blood into our muscles making us ready for action.
These chemicals are also largely responsible for the huge range of other cognitive, physical and emotional reactions, whether people believe they are afraid or not. And anxiety is heightened and this manifests in so many different ways.
And yet we are confused as to what action we CAN take at this time, apart from staying put, getting the shopping in, protecting our loved ones and ourselves. Our muscles are all pumped up and ready for action and yet we have to stay where we are and can’t freely move around for the moment, apart from for exercise and essential trips. Those who are confined indoors are being advised to do some indoor exercise.
As you know, as well as a Coach, I am a Counsellor and provide an Employee Assistance Programme. So, I thought about offering some tips for you to think about and hopefully use and pass on to people: –
As you know, exercise releases adrenaline and noradrenaline which give us that “feel good factor”.
As well as exercise, take a few quiet moments to just sit and breath – taking a few deeper breaths than we normally would. When we are anxious, we tend to breathe in a more shallow way and more quickly and we don’t tend to take deeper breaths, which would actually make us feel calmer.
As you sit quietly, breathe in more deeply through your nose to the count of 4 and feel your diaphragm expand and then breathe out slowly through your mouth to the count of 7. This is known as 4/7 breathing and do this for a minute or so. Top entrepreneurs, athletes and the army practice this and you can find more information online. If you feel light-headed then stop and breathe more normally.
Practice just focusing on your breath and gently let all your thoughts and worries drift past like clouds in the sky. Gently acknowledge them and then let them go. This is Mindfulness and you can practice this when sitting or laying down, walking or doing anything in fact. Just be in the moment. Over time, you will find that you can do this anytime and anywhere and immediately feel calmer and more grounded.
When we think about it, the very first thing we do when we are born is to take our first deep breath. And yet throughout our lives, we forget to breathe properly!
We are social creatures and it’s in our DNA to socialise. So, we feel like a fish out of water if we cannot get out and about. Create new ways to keep in touch with people, such as chatting on Skype, Zoom, Face time and set up groups. I have started an Online Lunch Club via Zoom where people can join, chat, keep each other entertained and informed. Laughter immediately makes us feel better too. Can you do something like this for your team?
FIND A NEW HOBBY:
Have a go at some kind of hobby that you haven’t tried before and that can be enjoyed inside or in the garden for example. I work from home and once I finish work, I have been gardening and sorting out my cupboards!
CREATE A NEW HOME ROUTINE:
In the morning, if you exercise that will be a great start to your day.
Dress as you would if you were going somewhere, rather than lounging around in your PJ’s. This changes our mindset in a positive way so we feel more productive and positive.
Have “Elevensies” each day, whether it’s a coffee, smoothie, juice or whatever. It’s a time for you to sit for a moment and either enjoy a bit of solitude, or take the opportunity to chat to friends or family online or by phone.
Make something tasty for lunch and sit down to savour and enjoy it.
Have a tea break mid-afternoon and, like with Elevensies, take a little time out to rejuvenate and recharge yourself.
If you are working from home, have a cut-off time to stop and do something for yourself or spend time with your loved ones at home or take a walk outside if you are able to. After your evening meal, this is your time to do anything that keeps your spirits up.
Routines give us a sense of stability and safety.
You may feel a bit glued to the news. If you listen just once or twice a day, to the most reliable channels, you will hear the most important highlights, without getting sucked in to too much negativity. There’s a lot of it about! Avoid Twitter as this can keep you sucked in for most of the day and evening.
BECOME MORE SELF AWARE:
Notice how you are coping with things: –
Are you drinking more alcohol than usual?
Are you taking more medication than usual?
Are you feeling lonely / isolated?
How is your mood on a scale of 1-10 today (10 being the best)?
How are you sleeping?
Are you staying up later than usual and feeling tired the next day?
Are you getting drawn into Conspiracy Theories?
What do you need right now and who can support you?
Who can you reach out to? There are groups out there you can join on Facebook, such as: –
Men’s Shed Guernsey
And more. However, for your own well-being, do choose those where others are positive and avoid any negativity.
REACH OUT TO OTHERS:
How can you help others (without putting yourself or your loved ones at risk)?
Who haven’t you spoken to for a while? Maybe give them a call or message them.
What do they most need right now and who can help and support them?
It’s a well-known fact that helping others takes us out of our own worries and releases that fee-good factor in us.
We all have to do our bit and keep our distance from those outside our immediate family, as tempting as it may be to invite a friend round. It’s only temporary and we CAN all do this!
If we all stay 2m apart when we have to go out for essentials, we all have the same responsibility and have to adhere to this.
The situation we are in is very volatile and can change moment by moment and some people are still awaiting test results. And of course this means changing in our daily habits – for instance we can’t scratch our nose when in the supermarket!
We all have to be aware and stay safe. We all owe it to those we live with as well as to ourselves. None of us want to be that person who is careless and takes unnecessary risks.
Even if there was one useful nugget here, then I am glad I posted this.
Remember, if you or anyone you know needs help and support, please reach out to me and we will go from there.
Stay safe and well.