65% of people have felt more stressed since the COVID-19 restrictions started according to a study of 2000 people carried out by the Stress Management Society. In addition 53% felt more anxious than usual and 43% felt more depressed than usual. The top causes of lockdown stress were:
TOP 5 CAUSES OF LOCKDOWN STRESS:
54% feel isolated
46% feel disconnected to others
46% worry due to uncertainty about when things will get back to normal
38% feel a lack of motivation
36% difficulty concentrating
In these challenging times, it’s extremely important to develop our resilience to cope with the increased pressure and demand that we’re experiencing and there are actions we can take to do this. Here are 5 tips that make a real difference to maintaining a healthy mindset.
1.MAKING TIME FOR RELAXATION & CALM
Focussing on the moment rather than your fears about the future will help you to feel calmer and less anxious. This can be achieved by practising mindfulness, going for a walk or booking some time out for yourself for a massage or reflexology which can help free the mind and body of stress and stress related pain.
2.BEING OUTSIDE IN NATURE
When you’re feeling down, sluggish, stressed or anxious, ask yourself how much time you’ve spent in nature lately? The answer to this question might be more closely related to how you’re feeling than you think
The modern way we live has changed radically from life in the savanna, but our brains less so. We still have a deep connection with nature, and research shows that if we don’t nourish that bond, we may suffer in many ways. Whatever you call it – forest bathing, ecotherapy, mindfulness in nature, or the wilderness cure — humans evolved in the great outdoors, and your brain will benefit from a journey back to nature. So go for a walk, a bike ride or simply drive out into the countryside and drink in the beautiful views.
3.GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
Sleep problems are fairly common. In fact, 1 in 4 people experience sleep difficulties, which includes trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, early morning waking, sleeping too much, restless or unsatisfying sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep can improve your mental well-being and help you to better manage your anxiety.
The good news is that there are things you can do to improve your sleep, such as regular exercise, going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning – even weekends, and stop using your phone or laptop at least one hour before bedtime. You can also try a natural remedy to help you fall asleep by using essential oils known to have sedative properties. I produce a unique blend including Vetiver, Chamomile and Lavender called Sleep Easy which clients have found helpful. Just 3 drops on your pillow at bedtime can really help relaxation.
Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Endorphins are responsible for the “runner’s high” and for the feelings of relaxation and optimism that accompany many hard workouts.
Exercise and sports also provide opportunities to get away from it all and to either enjoy some solitude or to make friends and build networks. When your body is busy, your mind is distracted from the worries of daily life and free to think more positively. Almost any type of exercise will help. Even a simple 20-minute stroll can clear the mind and reduce stress.
5.UNPLUG DIGITAL DEVICES
The technology age has given us access to abundant information, simplified many aspects of our lives, and even improved our ability to connect with others, a very valuable tool during Covid. It does, however, come with a few downsides. For instance, a 2019 study found that spending too much time on the internet, to the point of addiction, can profoundly impact our mental health.1 Even non-addicted internet usage can negatively affect us. There’s even a term for the fear of being disconnected from your phone: nomophobia.
24 hour access to news has proved to have a significant impact on our sense of wellbeing. The daily onslaught of Covid coverage can at times feel overwhelming, producing irrational fears and ramping up anxiety levels to such an extent it can impact on how well we manage our daily lives.
However, we can prevent this by creating boundaries that are non-negotiable for ourselves. Healthy phone boundaries might include not using it during a meal, when you’re in a social situation, before bedtime, or in the bathroom. It’s also recommended that you set time limits for how long you spend on your phone or computer.
It can take time to become comfortable with the reduced usage but finding the right balance will ultimately make you feel more in control and less stressed.