FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
It is easy to get caught up in all the things that are outside of our control and this can make us feel overwhelmed and at times, helpless. Whenever possible, try shift your attention and energy to the things that are within your immediate control.
STAY FOCUSSED ON THE HERE AND NOW
Our minds love to time travel, and they particularly love travelling to the future to make predictions about how things will turn out. With so much future uncertainty, this is often overwhelming and anxiety provoking. It is important to shift our focus to the here and now and take things one day at a time, moment by moment. If you find yourself getting caught up in the future, bring yourself back to today and remind yourself of all the things that are within your control.
SET A PERSONAL GOAL
Having a goal, no matter how big or small, gives us a daily sense of achievement and a daily sense of achievement makes us feel better about ourselves and protects us against low mood. It can be anything, from learning a language or an instrument, to running 5km or touching your toes.
DEVELOP A ROUTINE
A routine keeps us busy, keeps us focussed on the here and now and usually contains all the things that are within our immediate control. It also ensures that we complete the things we need to get done and this gives us a sense of achievement.
Now, more than ever, regular exercise is essential for mental health. Whatever type of exercise you enjoy, be it walking or weights, yoga or star jumping, try to start exercising with some regularity. A helpful strategy is to set an achievable goal and build upon it incrementally.
Each day, try and write down or say to yourself one thing you are grateful for. It can be the same thing each day, or a different thing every time. You can keep it private, or you can share it with friends and family.
IMPLEMENT GOOD SLEEP HABITS
Sleep is usually the first thing that is affected when we are stressed and with so much change in the world, it is important to have some tips to ensure we can get a good night’s sleep. These include, no screens one-hour before bedtime, having a pre-sleep routine that you perform each night, implementing a regular wake up time and trying out some breathing or mindfulness exercises if your mind is too busy to sleep. The apps Smiling Mind and Headspace are great for brief, guided mindfulness sessions.
Staying connected with friends and family makes us feel less isolated and less lonely. Fortunately, there are endless options to stay connected and you may need to try new and different ways of connecting that you haven’t used before.
LIMIT YOUR MEDIA CONSUMPTION
Set limits on your daily news and social media consumption, particularly if they make you more anxious.
CARVE OUT SOME SPACE JUST FOR YOURSELF
Remember to schedule in some “me time” throughout the week to treat yourself, to do the things you enjoy and to do the things that make you feel good about yourself. This is for yourself and no one else and may be particularly important if you’re in a busy household.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
This is time limited and has an end date. Remind yourself of this when feeling overwhelmed.
With everything that is going on right now, our ability to function as we did previously may be affected. It is important to acknowledge this, to be kind to ourselves and remind ourselves that we are doing our best.
There will be days where we will struggle and things will feel tough. This is normal and this is ok. Be kind to yourself, have self-compassion and return to this list if it feels right and keep trying.