Mind

Self-care practices for our changing world

Things to consider trying

Routine
Keeping a routine as much as possible. Get up and dressed every day. Make your bed. Brush your teeth. Move. Keep normal mealtimes. Be strict about when work / home-school finishes and allow yourself proper down-time and rest (including weekends). These little things help us ‘anchor’ and make everything that feels very abnormal at the moment stay a little more normal.

Mindfulness
Using a mindfulness or meditation app if you enjoy them or think it might be helpful. It’s an essential part of my morning routine at the moment before Willow wakes. YouTube has many free guided meditations, including lots for beginners. If you don’t have time for a formal practice, set an alarm on your phone 4 times a day to remind you just to stop, take a couple of deep breaths and release tension in your shoulders and jaw.

Lose yourself
Find a few cheering, educational or interesting podcasts or TV box sets, to lose yourself in. Sometimes, escapism and distraction are a welcome and healthy relief. I love browsing House & Garden and Ben Pentreath’s Inspiration Blog for some beautiful home and nature inspiration.

Social Media
Cleaning up your social media feed. Unfollow accounts that are triggering or contributing to you negatively. Find ones that soothe and delight. For me, that’s a lot more gardening accounts!

Journaling
Write down how you’re feeling and help get the thoughts that might be spiraling around your mind. A good ‘prompt’ that I have found helpful is to write ‘How are you doing today?’ at the top of the page and simply write whatever comes into my mind below it. I don’t worry about how much I write, but I invariably feel better for doing it.

Reminding ourselves that we are not alone in how we are feeling. Coronavirus affects everyone and the worries, panic, anxiety and stress we might be feeling over the next few weeks and months, will be shared by much of humanity. It is part of the experience, but we can try our best to meet ourselves with kindness and compassion. I highly recommend listening to any podcast with Kristin Neff talk on this and take a look at this article for more information on mindful self-compassion during Coronavirus.

This too shall pass. What will you do to celebrate the end of Coronavirus? It’s helpful to remember that this won’t last forever. We will get back to normal (it might be a new normal) eventually. What positive changes could you take with you?

Music
Don’t underestimate the power of music that resonates deeply with you. Play it loudly. Sing along if you can (it tricks you into doing some deep breathing), or dance around the room.

Things to consider minimising

Reading the news

Obsessive reading or checking the rolling news coverage. Try checking-in just once or twice a day, ideally at times you know you feel more resilient (i.e., not first thing in the morning or last thing at night). Turn off news notifications if possible.

Caffeine

Especially if you are feeling the physical symptoms of stress or anxiety, caffeine can make these worse. As always, don’t go ‘cold turkey’, as this can trigger severe headaches, but do gradually reduce your intake over a few days.

Alcohol

Relying on alcohol to unwind in the evenings. However tempting, be careful to keep to a sensible alcohol intake. Avoid binge drinking (as this may potentially impact immune function) and do try to make sure you’re having at LEAST 2 alcohol free days a week.

Other resources

Stories:

  • Audible has made hundreds of titles of their classic and children’s audio books completely free during this crisis.
  • Lots of online book clubs are popping up, often with online meetings including the author: Check out Quarantine Book Club, Salon London and the wonderful Robert MacFarlane’s #CoReadingVirus read-along.

Apps:

  • ACT Companion: The Happiness Trap App: Download from the App store and enter code TOGETHER on the subscription page to unlock all the app content free for 3 months.
  • The Calm App has a page full of free resources for anyone to access, including lots of meditations, sleep exercises and calming music:
  • Headspace

Breathwork:

  • The Breath Guy (Richie Bostock) is offering free online breathwork classes via Instagram.

Creativity:

  • Molly Mahon teaches masterclasses on beautiful, creative potato printing
  • Create and Make at Home, free printable activities from the Design Museum
  • Tess Newall’s guide to pressing flowers
  • If you’re keen on interior design, indulge in developing your passion by signing up to Rita Konig’s Create Academy Masterclass. I cannot recommend it enough, it is the most glorious escapism!
  • Skillshare (an online workshop platform with all sorts of creative classes) is offering 2 months of Skillshare Premium for free.

Plays & Films:

Supportive Podcasts: