Now that we are (hopefully!) moving out of lockdown, it’s important to recognise that for many of us, life will not be going ‘back to normal’ for lots of reasons. The impact of Covid-19, feeling isolated, the stress of having to bring up children and home-school and juggle a million other roles and responsibilities might not disappear now that we can start to meet up with people outside.
With that in mind, I thought it might be useful to put together a list of resources that might be useful as ways of looking after your wellbeing. Remember, not everything connects with everyone, so it might be worth trying a few of these out to see if any work for you.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have a great package that they have put together, called ‘Doing What Counts in Times of Stress’ which you can find here. Even better, it has some audio exercises that you can do yourself, which are a really good introduction to mindfulness, a practice that can help with managing stress and worries.
The next suggestion is a collection of different relaxation exercises that are a good starter to introducing the connection between mind and body. These exercises concentrate on helping us become more aware of how we are breathing, and how we are feeling in our bodies. As the guide says, the idea is that rather than doing these exercises as a ‘one off’, the more repeated practice you get at doing them, the more benefit you will experience.
Have you heard of the term ‘progressive muscle relaxation’ before? This is a technique that helps your body to relax by you tensing up your muscles first, and then releasing this tension. The releasing of the muscles helps you to develop and focus on the absence of tension in your body. Here is an audio exercise for you to do of this, to help produce feelings of calm:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
I’ve mentioned before the well-established link between exercise and wellbeing – moving your body is really important in helping you feel good about yourself, and keeping you fit. Ironically, when we are feeling low it can be the last thing on our minds, but I would encourage you to give it a go – maybe going for a walk outside in the fresh air, or even a Zoom exercise class from the comfort of your living room. Here is a resource which has a number of free Zoom classes (including yoga) that you might like to try out:
Finally, I would just like to mention the importance of sleep – which I know can be difficult if you have small children! Here is a website which can help explain why sleep is so important, again it has some audio exercises to listen to as well https://www.headspace.com/sleep/sleep-hygiene – in particular an audio exercise to listen to in order to help you wind down, relax and get ready for sleeping.
This is my final blog post for YMSN – I hope you’ve found them useful. If you would like to discuss anything that I’ve written over the last few months, do feel free to get in contact with me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care and be well,