Calm states of mind to cease your anxiety
As we waved goodbye to 2020 and welcomed in the new year many of us hoped 2021 would be the light at the end of the tunnel. With the promise of new vaccines, returns to school, work, and new lives, people began to feel lighter and brighter.
However, many have found the beginning of 2021 even more challenging and difficult than its predecessor. A new strain of the virus, a dramatic rise in Covid cases, hospitals at capacity, the reopening of Nightingale hospitals, school closures, online learning and online lessons, leaving Europe, a rise in unemployment, businesses having to close, bankruptcy, the end of the furlough scheme fast approaching, and even more makes the start of 2021 appear ever more bleaker.
A sharp rise in stress levels, acute anxiety, trauma, depression, and PTSD and the mental health needs of the country, and the demand for therapy services soaring means that many go without the help and support that they need.
This in itself results in even more problems and the accompanying rise in addiction, self-harm and suicide.
So what can we do to help?
Here I offer you five easy ways that you can use to help yourself at home, and to also support others during this difficult time.
1. Get a routine
Many of us function best when we are working to a routine. That doesn't mean you have to be working, or even turning out to work. It just means living your life to a routine. We all enjoy time out, a break from routine and the rewards of a day off or a duvet day. But even these become meaningless if there isn't a routine to begin with.
That is why when people retire they are often advised to keep a routine and to still treat themselves to weekends, i.e. a couple of days to look forward to that are different to the other days of the week. Eat, sleep, repeat: The routines of dogs and cats are often envied by us, but we need a few extra ingredients in our full routines to create the magical concoction (see below). And it is also important to remember to keep a healthy work life balance too. All work and no play is no good for anybody.
*Plan a routine for yourself that you could follow this week.
2. Variety is the spice of life
So what extra ingredients do we need to keep our days fresh and alive? Well, mixing things up from time to time is a good start. Trying new hobbies, and doing new things not only exercises your brain and creates new neural pathways but it also makes life more interesting and exciting too. Try baking a new recipe, learning a new language or skill, play an instrument, or even just read a book that you wouldn't normally read - a different genre or a new author.
Moreover, we all need: i) a challenge, ii) a purpose, and iii) something to look forward to in life... What would your challenge, purpose, and something to look forward to be?
*Maybe you can scribble a few ideas down and plan them today.
3. Get outside
Getting outside is a real happiness and feel-good boost! The more you can get outside, the better. And if you can get out into nature even better. Maybe your garden, your street, a local park or open space. Go for a walk, breathe in fresh air, awaken all your five senses. And bonus ways to boost your energy, immune system and your mood include exercise, eating rainbow food (all the colours), and drinking plenty of water.
*Go for a 15 minute stroll before dusk. Watch the sunset.
4. Phone a friend
Social contact is incredibly important. We are social beings. The benefits of keeping in touch with others can never be underestimated. Phone a friend. Write and post a letter. Arrange a Zoom chat. Social contact and a social purpose is great for mental health and overall well-being. It's good for you. And it's good for them too. Everyone's a winner!
*Write a postcard to someone that you haven't heard from in a while. Drop it in your local post box.
5. And finally, know that this too shall pass
Nothing lasts forever. Find your calm place. Find your happy place. Ask for help and seek support. Clinical hypnotherapy provides a safe, reliable and extremely effective therapy and treatment of anxiety, depression, addiction and more.
Please do not suffer in silence.
Keep in touch. And look out for your friends, neighbours, and loved ones.
*Maybe check on your elderly neighbour today. Do they need anything from the shops? Or perhaps they will just appreciate a quick chat on the doorstep. Knowing that someone cares can make all the difference.
Stay safe. Take care. And be kind to one another.