It’s hard enough to maintain good mental health in a usual, modern situation. Now that we are faced with the challenge of COVID-19, which comes with loneliness, physical health concerns and economic worries, your mental health might be suffering more than before. If that is the case, you are not alone, and there are steps you can take to better care for your mental health. Read on for tips and advice.
Meditation is becoming more and more mainstream, with apps and podcasts and videos to help guide you through the process. We at Positive Luxury just launched our own meditation series with Terrence the Teacher, who is a massive advocate for mindfulness and meditation.
According to mental health organisation, Mind, spending time in nature can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress and help you relax. Being outside in natural light can also help you if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, as well as anxiety and depression.
Exercise is a great tool for improving your mental health. The Mental Health Association says that staying active can reduce stress, increase alertness and help us sleep better. Find a way to fit at least half an hour of exercise into each day, whether it’s done inside or outdoors.
Stick to a routine
Maintaining a regular routine is super important for your identity, self-confidence and purpose. Even in these strange and uncertain times, it still might be worth it to get up, shower and get dressed as you would if you were heading to a “normal” day at work. Make a schedule for yourself and try to stick to it as best you can, and be sure to work in time for meditation and exercise.
Focus on positive thoughts
Sara Griffiths, who is the founder of our brand community member, The Universal Soul Company, is a qualified spirituality mentor, holistic therapist and well being expert who teaches people how to stay positive & deal with whatever is showing up in life for them – whether personal challenges, or as we are experiencing at the moment.
She uses many different approaches, as well as helping people develop their own meditation practise to feel the best they can.
Even though you can’t physically interact with your colleagues, friends and family, it’s still important both for you and for them to check in as often as possible. Arrange regular video chats, call people when you can and keep in touch via text if you’re not up for face-to-face chats. Do what works for you.
Focus on your sleep
Difficulty sleeping is common under normal circumstances, but anxiety about COVID-19 might be adding to that challenge. Sticking to a routine when it comes to your sleep can help, along with eliminating screens and creating a relaxing environment. The NHS program, Every Mind Matters, has lots of excellent suggestions to help you get your best night’s sleep.
We have asked two members of our community to answer the following questions, Terrence the Teacher and Sara at The Universal Soul Company.
Terrence the Teacher:
- Why is meditation vital to taking care of your mental health?
Science has shown that a meditation practice changes how our mind works , with benefits that range from reduced stress and anxiety, enhanced relaxation, productivity and creativity plus even an Increase in general health and immune function. The above benefits add up to a person becoming more mentally strong , able to deal with whatever life brings their way and to thrive even in difficult situations.
- What is your first piece of advice for someone who is new to meditation?Start with easy to do meditation exercises, keep it short and do it whenever you have a moment. The most important point is to start. Once it becomes a habit, it will be easier to expand the practice to longer times and to try different techniques on offer.
- How is your mental health connected to your physical health?It all has to do with the effect thoughts or a mindset has on the body. For example, if you are continuously stressed or anxious about something, you will release stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones in turn will increase stress responses in the body like increased heart rate, higher blood pressure and affect the immune response in the white blood cells. None of the above is healthy for the body in the long run and can eventually create disease. The opposite is also true . When we are more mentally calm , content and feel in control of our lives, the feel good hormones will aid a healthy body. With increased dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin the body’s immune response is more robust, heart health is increased and even sleep patterns improved. I always say : ” The mind is the key to a healthy body.Together they create a stronger individual “
Sara at The Universal Soul Company:
- How can your spirituality and connection to nature help improve mental health?I think of spirituality as being the part of us that has a sense of connection to something greater than ourselves. Nature is a profound and instant reminder that there is something greater than us, ‘running the show’- it unfolds with no help from us. The trees and plants lovingly take our carbon dioxide and gift us back fresh air, as love letters to us all. It does not discriminate. It just is. What better reassurance for our mental state, especially when the World is uncertain & challenging, than the knowledge we don’t have to do it all, or have all the answers. There is a powerful, vastly intelligent, compassionate and loving force that connects and supports us all.
- How does surrounding yourself with beauty improve mental health?Beauty is such a great reminder of the goodness and benevolence of this Universe. Noticing it, in any form, cultivates gratitude and a sense of appreciation, which gifts perspective. So anything that helps us experience our own beauty more, or reminds us of it in others, or the World, has to be a good thing for our mental well-being.
- How can you focus on positive thinking in challenging times?By keeping our attention in the present – our direct experience. So often the mind runs away with ‘what if’s’…and fear comes in unnecessarily to terrorise us. Much of what we’re being asked to look at, and face at the moment, needs to be seen & acknowledged, in order for us to evolve and move forwards. I think it’s about recognising the positive possibilities in these challenging times, and seeing them as opportunities for change – and for the better. And then cultivating trust that ‘something’ greater than us will help that unfold.
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Written by - Tara MacInnis