We are going through unprecedented times and the world is not the same place as it used to be! We are all having to adapt the way we live, way beyond what we could have ever imagined. Not being able to see and hold our loved ones that do not live with us or go out when we want to. Our elderly relatives, of whom a lot live on their own not being able to leave their homes or have visitors. Not being able to go to work, struggling to pay our bills, schooling our children from home and having to queue to get into our supermarkets. Things we previously all took for granted!
Life has just got more stressful and worrying for everyone. We have a lot more time on our hands to think and are consistently being updated with awful news on how the coronavirus is taking peoples lives and changing the way we live here and around the world.
The people I have spoken to say they are constantly in a state of anxiety and keep worrying about what the future will be like in a month, six months and in a years time. Their focus is on what is happening and what they are now unable to do. Their emotions are on such high alert they are finding it hard to function and due to this their mental health is suffering.
We are all struggling without our normal routines, we are finding it hard to just have the motivation to do basic everyday stuff. We are also not surrounded by the things that give us our identity; our roles in life, our hobbies, our loved ones and the things we normally buy and do!
Due to the challenges we are all facing I have come up with 5 tips that can help you cope. By refocusing your mind and dealing with what you can control, these tips can help you feel calmer and able to see what you have in your life.
Tip 1 - Exercise. I know you may not feel like exercising, however it is so important for your physical and mental welfare. This is why the government has allowed us all to get outside and exercise once a day. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy and enhances well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, even if you start with just a 10 minute walk. You can then build up from there, the main thing is to be outside and moving. Try to notice the sensations around you, the rhythm of your breathing, the warmth of the sun and the feeling of the breeze on your skin. By adding this mindfulness element and really focusing on your body and how it feels as you exercise, you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster, you may also be able to interrupt the flow of the constant worry running through your mind.
Tip 2 - Routine. Most of us have lost our normal routine in life and we are feeling lost. The days become the same and you do not feel like doing anything, you may also not feel that you are in control of your life now. A daily plan will give you back focus and control. It takes little time and effort to draw out a weekly plan, splitting each day into hourly chunks. Also along with your weekly plan write a list of things you would like to get done. Then start setting up your new plan, by adding when you are going to get up, and go to bed. Then add when you are going to exercise, when you are going to do something on your to do list, when you want to call, zoom or FaceTime friends and relatives. You can also look at setting time aside to learning something new, reading a self improvement book or do an online course. Another important thing to add is a couple half hour slots each day to meditate or listen to some hypnosis. By having a routine it will give you stability and normality. It will also give you a sense of achievement by ticking off what you have completed on your to do list.
Tip 3 - Connection. With us being in lockdown and most people having to stay at home unless it’s essential or daily exercise, our lives have become less connected and it can be very lonely. However before the coronavirus our normal lives were a lot more hectic and we were all rushing around trying to get everything done! Therefore take this time to really connect with your friends and relatives. Even reconnect with people you have not spoken to in years. With technology like Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, we can see who we are talking to and even talk to a group of friends and relatives. Also take this time to call an elderly friend or relative, you will be amazed what joy you will bring to their day and in return it will make you feel like you have made a real difference to someones life.
Tip 4 - Meditation & hypnosis. In everyday life our minds can be fearful and uncertain about what life has for us around the corner. At the moment our minds are full of fear and what life will be like going forward with the coronavirus. Meditation and hypnosis is beneficial at any time, and especially now. As it helps us to relax and allow the mind to just be, as it reduces stress, controls anxiety, enhances self awareness and improves sleep. Taking time out twice a day, preferably first thing in the morning and in the evening will give your mind timeout, allowing you to stop and wind down from what you were doing and thinking about. If you haven’t meditated or used hypnosis before it might take you time to relax. It takes time to practice being relaxed and not focusing on all the internal chatter that is going on in your mind. I promise you if you listen to either my free hypnosis audio* or a guided mediation you will feel less anxious and not so stressed.
Tip 5 - Your focus. Where your focus goes your energy flows! I know there is a lot of scary news at the moment and so many people have lost their lives throughout the world. However you have to put this into perspective. This is not forever, it will pass. Each year over 1.4 million people die in a car accident and 18 million people die of heart disease. Despite these figures, the news and everything we do normally is not focused on these deaths. Therefore we do not see them as a big threat to ourselves day to day. I know this virus is contagious and we have to protect ourselves and not overburden the healthcare service. Just remember what you focus on becomes your life. Also that nothing has a meaning until you give it a meaning. Therefore be careful what you let into your mind and the meaning you give it. I’m not saying do not listen to the news and I’m definitely not saying you should ignore the governments advice. However if you sit in front of the TV listening to everything that is going on in the world and listen to everyones opinion on how the world is going to cope with this, you just fuel your anxiety and stress levels. If you are going to watch TV, watch a good film or a comedian to put you in a happier and more relaxed mood. The best thing is to focus on everything you can do! Ok you can’t go out, but how long have you wanted to tidy that cupboard under the stairs or your kids bedrooms? How often have you mentioned a list of things you would do if you had the time! Well, you have more time now! Don’t waste this valuable time at home, do the things you have always wanted to get done in the house.
Take this difficult time and turn it into a personal triumph. You have time to go for a walk or cycle and do one of the many PT sessions on YouTube to get fit. Don’t just sit around doing nothing, getting up late and not even washing your hair. This is another day of your precious life, so make the most of it. Get yourself a new routine, one that you can be proud of and work through. I know that some of you reading this are thinking that you are not up to doing this and you are feeling anxious and tired. All I can say is ‘how is your routine working for you now’? If you carry on doing the same things you will get the same results. Take action and get into a routine, you will not look back. Get connected with friends and relatives, you are not alone even if physically you are! People out there would love to hear from you and you can reconnect with people you haven’t spoken to for years. Start meditating or listening to hypnosis, your mind will thank you for doing so! Just remember it isn’t something you just do once and say it was ok, but didn’t really work for you. This is something you need to do daily. Finally, you are what you choose to focus on. Ok we are in a very uncertain time, but as I said this will not last forever. Look after you and your loved ones, do everything you can to keep safe and well. Focus on you being the best you can be physically and mentally.
*for your free relaxation hypnosis audio go to www.desireforchange.co.uk
I've been a full time hypnotherapist and mind coach for over 10 years. My unique approach to therapy is client centred and I aim to educate and empower my clients to enable them to make positive choices and changes in their lives.