Stay Well and Stay Connected!
31 October 2020
Happy Halloween to everyone reading this – it’s a great time to take the opportunity to connect to those around you, even if we’re currently limited in ability to connect in the ways we’d like to sometimes. And this leads us on to the theme of this blog post, which is to cover some options for staying well and staying connected at this time!
With Autumn fully set in, the clock’s having gone back last week and another lockdown in progress, we need now as much as ever to look after our health, particularly mental health which is under more strain in our population arguably more than ever before. So here we go with some ideas, and we’ll develop some in further detail as we move through the Autumn into the Winter:
Consider how to connect with others
Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing, so stay connected with your support networks (and maybe build new ones). Talk with your friends and family and work out what kind of support you can offer to each other, Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to offer it too.
Communities are really pulling together at the moment, so now might be a great chance to remotely meet your neighbours by joining a local Facebook or WhatsApp group. Helping others could make a big difference to them and make you feel better too.
Talk about your worries: This is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help. If you don’t feel able to do this, there are a range of NHS recommended helplines
Find an outlet for your stress
Long baths or showers, baking, maybe even cleaning: we all have ways we like to relax – and they’re more important than ever at the moment. It’s quite useful for us all to think about what our coping strategies are, and recognising what’s possible at the moment of time when we’re feeling troubled.
Be present: If you decide to watch a TV show or film, really watch it. Put your phone away and avoid rushing in and out of the room.
Look after your physical wellbeing
We all know that our physical health can have a big impact on how we’re feeling, but often still forget to keep up those habits that keep us healthy. If working out at home is difficult, take an easy jog – you can go at your own pace with walking pauses in-between.. you don’t have to break any records, just get outside and move and breathe for a while. This is so important for our wellbeing, and if you’re in Swansea the seafront is always a great option.
Also try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, and look into Yoga as a powerful all-round tool to massively enhance wellbeing..
Despite breathing being something we do all day without thinking about it, breathing mindfully can actually make a big difference to our wellbeing. What’s more, it’s something you can do on the go – on the way to Tesco, on your evening stroll, or on your way to the kettle. Make it a resolution to take a few moments to focus on your breathing every day. There are many apps and resources to help you with this, check out The Breathing App, founded by Deepak Chopra and yoga teacher Eddie Stern, which aims to recreate the same rate of breathing that Buddhist monks and yogis enter into while meditating.
Thousands of years later, it’s safe to say meditation isn’t a passing fad. While viewed in the previous decades as “woo woo” or something just for specific religions, this spiritual practice has gone mainstream. Studies have shown meditation can improve emotional state, focus and overall wellbeing.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of meditation, then you are probably the kind of person who needs to meditate the most. The trick is to find a type of meditation that you connect with.
For beginners, any kind of guided meditation is best. It lets you focus your mind instead of paying attention to all of the thoughts in your head. Choose a specific meditation that will serve you, whether it’s to relax, forgive or energize. There are a seemingly endless amount of videos on YouTube and apps like Calm.
Ration your news updates
Constantly scrolling on news sites or social media? There’s a lot to be said for rationing news and muting alerts.
Manage your media and information intake: 24/7 news and social media can make you more worried. If you find this is affecting you, try to limit the amount of time you spend keeping up with what’s going on.
Decide what time you’ll get the news or check social media every day – and try stick to it.
Keep up your routines & Set Goals
Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home.
Many studies have shown that having structure and routine are important to our wellbeing. While some of your usual routines possibly went of the window a while ago, there are some activities you are still doing that can give structure to your day like taking daily exercise, sticking to your regular mealtimes and sleeping patterns…
Look after your sleep
Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.
While we’ve been obsessed with sleep, and trying to get more of it with smart pillows and tonics, it’s the timing of sleep that is absolutely key to getting high-quality, restorative sleep. This means sleeping at the right circadian time – we all have slightly different times that are best for us for sleeping. For some it may be best between 10pm and 6am, for others it may be between 1am and 9am.. find out what time of night gives you the best quality sleep!
Embrace bedtime stories
We all know that our reliance on screens is doing us no favours when it comes to falling asleep, with countless books and apps devoted to improving our “sleep hygiene” or reducing the impact of blue light. But what if the best way to ensure some shut-eye were to revert to the childhood practice of bedtime stories? A host of apps and podcasts make it simple to get your story fix (should your partner not be up for reading to you), from Calm’s Blue Gold, read by Stephen Fry, to Sleep With Me, in which host Drew Ackerman chats away in a soothing fashion that makes staying awake really quite tricky.
Take time to relax and focus on the present
Take action for happiness
Stay calm, be wise, be kind. Let’s take action to look after ourselves and each other as we face this global crisis. We may be physically apart, but we can still be together.
We’ll be back with more in the week, until then we wish you a good weekend
The GLC Team