***I started writing this before we got lockdown news on Saturday - now it's even more relevant!**
Not sure if you recognise the title line but that's part of the Kipling poem If, that popped into my mind.
I want to chat about #mentalhealth.
I struggle with my mental health.
In lots of ways, Mokshatrim was born out of those struggles.
This was partly because I turned to creativity, which helped me immensely in my darker moments, and partly because being ill made me realise that my life HAD to change, with more freedom, different priorities and a better work-life balance.
So enter lockdown. A challenge for us all eh!
Generally I've coped well. I already worked from home so that wasn't a big change. Yes, my hubbie has been home more, but actually we've found a good rhythm that works well.
As an upshot of the pandemic, my hubbie has taken voluntary redundancy but actually if anything it's early retirement. (But as an academic they NEVER really retire!).
We've both been on the super cautious end of the spectrum as we are both vulnerable and because of our circumstances we have been able to be. I'm aware we have been VERY LUCKY!
I did have a bad bout of anxiety a month or so ago.
Image by Elisa Riva from Pixabay
Luckily it was brief, but it was a real wake-up call and taught me new coping strategies for during the pandemic, which I wanted to share. They are working for me - they might work for you.
Give yourself a break! Listen to your body.
This is my NUMBER 1 MANTRA.
We can't do everything. And that's especially true now.
We are often sooo hard on ourselves. IT'S OKAY NOT TO BE SUPERWOMAN OR SUPERMAN!!
One of the big things I've learned is that I was SOOOO SELF CRITICAL. I was my own worst enemy sometimes. When I needed support and reassurance I only gave myself criticism and judgment.
WELL NO MORE!
I also totally ignored my body. If my body told me it needed rest I just pushed it further and further and thought I was lazy.
Now I've realised that my body's messages are there to help me not to overdo it. Often a short nap can help me wake up refreshed and ready to take on new challenges and I achieve way more, than if I fight my body.
So I've decided to be the tortoise, not the hare!
Do something EVERY DAY that makes you HAPPY!
Why as adults do we find this soooooo hard!
As children it's all about pleasure. Maybe it's the weight of responsibility we have as adults.
BUT I'M GIVING YOU PERMISSION - do something that gives you joy!
I know a lot of us have been baking, being more creative. It's what we need to do to balance out all the uncertainty and negativity.
It's just as eating is for our physical health, doing something that we enjoy helps maintain our mental health.
I know some of our normal options may be restricted but that gives us the chance to try something new.
Dump that responsibility for just a little while and be a child.
And if we don't do things that make us happy. WHAT IS THE POINT!
Get outside in the fresh air and do some exercise.
I have to confess, I didn't do enough of this at the start of lockdown.
I don't drive, we normally use public transport and I was taking my exercise to post orders and not much else.
I was concerned about there being too many people out and about locally, it seems silly now but it was a real concern for me then.
Now I'm trying to get out everyday, even just a wander around the block really lifts my spirits. And my dogs love it too!
I can't do major exercise as I've got issues with my knees at the moment, but I'm trying to get back on my bike (after a long break) so I can get out further afield.
I do yoga and I've found this very helpful as my teacher went virtual, though I'm really missing physically mixing with the rest of my normal yoga class!
It's made me realise I really need to learn to drive!
Appreciate your surroundings.
While you are out and about look out for the little things around you like the changing colour of the leaves.
They are there in even in the most inhospitable places, like the flowers growing in the pavement cracks.
Get a SAD lamp
I have to say I LOVE my SAD lamp. I was a bit sceptical but it really gives me a feeling of wellbeing. If you shop around they aren't that expensive.
It helps on the rainy days, and when it gets dark early to get that bit of fake sunshine.
And they say Vitamin D is supposed to be good for avoiding the worse of the virus, so it's a double win.
Read a book!
It's all about having a little escape.
An absorbing book allows you to get away from all the coronavirus bullshit, just for a little while. Sometimes that is all you need.
What books have you loved during this time?
And finally check out these happiness tricks!
SMILE. Did you know that even a fake smile can set off happiness chemicals!
Keep well everyone!