Low mood, stress and anxiety
Hi, This is a post about mental well-being and ways to cope with anxiety, stress and low mood. A number of people, all in very different situations, have opened up to feeling exhausted and very low at various points during the pandemic. Me too. Ordinarily, I find massage therapy very grounding, both giving it and receiving it, but in its absence I've used some different strategies. If you hit a low point and uncertainty is affecting your physical and mental well-being, have a read through the points below: 1. My first thought is that as a society we each need to extend generosity towards ourselves and generosity towards each other - try not to judge the actions or feelings of anyone, including yourself. Everyone is doing what they need to do and coping the way they cope for for their own reason. Yes, there's a lot of disparity between circumstances. Yes, there's some idiots out there, but focus on what you can control. 2. Allow yourself to feel emotion and, if it is persistent, give it proper attention and allow it. After a while ask what you might need to feel better. It's normal to feel a range of fluctuating emotions. Nothing to feel worried or even guilty about. I was given this advice by a wise and sensible friend. 3. When it all feels too much and your thoughts and emotions feel scarily strong, go back to drawing two big circles, one inside the other. For the inner circle write what is inside your control and for the outer circle, what is outside your control. Last week I amended mine. Turns out my sole control in the absence of work and school are the basics - what I read, what I watch, what I listen to, how I exercise, what I eat and how I spend my time from 9pm in the evening. Not a lot, but a huge comfort. As a result, I am choosing healthy eating, said cheerio to caffeine and limited alcohol to a bottle over the weekend. I am also taking regular breaks from Facebook and the news and have written a list of simple art and craft projects to do after 9pm while the husband studies. You can amend your circles as many times as you need to in the coming weeks and months for whatever circumstance. 4. With persistent worries, if you can't move on from them, write them down. If they are worries you can pinpoint and actually do something about rather than whirling, escalated fears, start to make a tentative plan and ask for support from someone you trust. It may not all get solved now and you can extend time, but a few baby steps may help. For instance, I've been worried about not being allowed to work and managed to escalate my fears into thoughts of failure and a full-blown career change panic (Mum reminded that one should never make big changes in a crisis). On writing it all down and talking to my professional body, I've found the space to know that my business hasn't gone anywhere, it's just on hold. In the present I can give a few hours a week to interesting, well-being related online training, which will benefit both me and my business. There are no other decisions to be made and for now I feel proactive. 5. If your worries are really affecting your mental well-being and you feel you are not coping, please take it seriously and ask for help. It's natural to be fragile in such an unprecedented situation. Personally, I got tired of the war time spirit rhetoric. Heroes need support too. We are all heroes in this. My GP surgery gave me these details to pass on to you: https://slam-iapt.nhs.uk/lambeth/welcome-to-lambeth-talking-therapies-service and https://slam-iapt.nhs.uk/southwark/welcome-to-southwark-psychological-therapies-service/. You can self-refer and a very kind person will help assess what your needs and concerns are before signposting you to either one of their services or a different service. 6. And finally, breathe! Thank you to one of my lovely clients for sending me this link to a simple, guided meditation from the London Buddhist Centre https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxttBmJOR1g - I will be going back to this frequently between now and September.
I sincerely hope the physical and mental health of you and your loved ones hasn't been directly affected. Please write to me or call me if there's anything you want to talk about. Breathe and stay well, Claire x