Well, who knew what a curveball 2020 would throw at us.
Who’d have thought that hugs would become a thing of danger, that our smorgasbord of coffee shops would shut up shop, and the nearest we’d get to seeing our friends would be screen time on Zoom.
It’s clear as time rolls forward that there are two main groups emerging: those who are thriving and loving the time to retreat and hunker down, and those who are finding life under lockdown a mental health assault course.
So what to do?
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a preachy piece on how you can have your “road to Damascus” in the kitchen, or have your Kundalini rising on the sofa. What I wanted was to offer a range of ways to strengthen mental health during these challenging times.
And hey, if at the same time it enables you to throw some sparkle on your soul, then what’s not to love?
So here we go:
1. Create one magic moment every day.
Whether that’s baking, dancing, reading, knitting, gardening, or playing a board game with the kids—pick one thing to do each and every day and do it fully present with all your heart. No day is wasted when we have experienced one magic moment.
2. Write it out.
Whether you feel joyful and in the zone, or as my friend would say “flatter than a basset’s bollocks,” start the day writing how you feel. Knowing that no one will ever hold you accountable for your diatribe, feel free to let loose and share everything. Writing is cathartic, it’s a creative expression. Instead of storing stuff in your mind, store it on paper and write it out.
Exercise keeps the spirit high, releases endorphins, and boosts your immunity. Fresh air and nature can’t be beaten, but there’s also yoga, Pilates, and a wide assortment of home exercise classes (including PE with Joe Wicks) to get the blood pumping or the body stretched.
Most of us do a great job at neglecting our needs. But right now, people are either busier than they’ve ever been or have so much time on their hands they’re bored. Either way, now is not the time to ignore your self-care.
Okay, so most of us know the basics—that nutritious food, a solid block of uninterrupted sleep, and moderation on all those nasty vices we all adore so much is the best way forward. But, what about those things that make your heart sing and put a smile on your face? That’s the crème de la crème of self-care! Who could you call and laugh with? What club classics get you shaking that tush? There are no rules here—just what floats your boat and you making the time to do it.
5. What would you like to try out?
This is a great time to try your hand at those hobbies, courses, or interests you’ve always fancied doing. And there’s so much to choose from if you count YouTube, Facebook Groups, podcasts, books, workshops, and online programmes. Now is the perfect time to get those synapses firing and to expand your mind. What about downloading a meditation or mindfulness app and giving yourself the best life skills of all?
6. Authentic not perfect.
Every single emotion we feel tells us something about ourselves. Frustration shows us our triggers. Worry reveals what our insecurities are. Sadness often shows us what we are carrying. Even grief and loss are our teachers. This is the time to be present with how you feel and be authentic about your emotions.
Try not to fight what arises. Instead, hold yourself in loving awareness. When you learn to flow with your being you begin a poetic dance of inner connectivity and spiritual awareness.
7. Supercharge your mental health and let your spiritual light inside shine.
Chose one or all of the following:
>> Breath practices.
>> Practice gratitude.
>> Practice kindness.
>> Self reflection—what was and wasn’t working? How would you like to move forward from here?
>> Practice mindfulness (do one thing at a time, fully present).
>> Forgive yourself and those who hurt you.
>> Accept yourself—flawed and fabulous.
>> Sing, dance, exercise, walk, and move your body.
>> Try grounding your body to the earth.
>> Be conscious of what you eat. Is it nourishing?
>> Get creative.
>> Stretch and move (walking, yoga, dancing).
>> Listen to peaceful, uplifting music (432 Hz music is said to resonate within the body, it releases emotional blockages and aligns you with the heartbeat of the universe).
>> Enjoy nature and the natural world (even pictures and videos work!).
>> Be still and sit with yourself in loving awareness.
>> De-tech (put down the electronic devices and have time-out).
>> Declutter (wardrobes, spaces, rooms, etc.).
>> Cleanse your energy field with an Epsom salts bath or a stick of smoking sage (smudging).
>> Cleanse the energy of your house with smudging.
>> Drink more water.
>> Get the blood pumping and exercise.
>> Talk to those around you who lift your spirits and make you sparkle.
>> Read inspirational literature.
>> Watch/listen to motivational podcasts, videos, and films.
So, there you go. Some ideas to help you stay strong during these uncertain times, and how you can be proactive in your well-being.
Remember there are no rights and wrongs, just what works for you. So take the ideas here that resonate with you and let those that don’t go (guilt-free).
Take care and, as the new catchphrase we all seem to have adopted goes, stay safe.