03 Feb Lockdown Love for Yourself this Valentines Day!
As another Valentines day approaches and we are stuck in a third lockdown, the subject of self-love is particularly important. The nights are still long, the weather has not been great and if you’ve been working from home, your days and weeks probably roll into each other creating feelings of “Groundhog Day”
One of the relationships we tend to neglect the most is the relationship that we have with ourselves.
It is well documented that both the pandemic and lockdown measures have caused an increase in mental health concerns such as heightened anxiety and depression. Back in October, The World Health Organisation published results of a survey of 130 countries stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health support is increasing.
Social isolation, bereavement, financial concerns, work pressures, household pressures, fear of the unknown all have created a perfect storm of increased mental health issues at the same time as a reduction in access to face-to-face mental health support services due to the restrictions.
In Chiropractic, we talk about the 3 main stressors to the nervous system: Physical, Chemical and Emotional. If we are suffering from an increase in emotional stress, it will eventually take it’s toll on our overall health and wellbeing and so it is important to recognise when your emotional health needs attention.
It is with this in mind that we have put together our tips on how to love yourself and boost your mood this February and beyond:
- Get Enough Sleep
If you don’t get enough sleep, your body will start to produce more stress hormones which can lead to heightened anxiety. Of course, if you’re feeling anxious anyway, it can be hard to fall asleep.
Some tried and tested ways of helping you to fall into a restful sleep are to limit screen-time for at least an hour before bedtime, limit caffeine intake in the afternoons and limit alcohol. Try to get yourself into a relaxed state before sleep by doing something restful such as reading a book or meditation.
- Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down all the things that are worrying you can really help to get things out of your head and try to process them. Keeping a daily gratitude journal of all the things that you are grateful for and all the things that you are proud of help you to cultivate a habit of being positive for the things that are going well in life. When you are in a state of gratitude and positivity, it will boost your overall mood.
- Exercise Outside in Nature
Exercise is the most potent anti-depressant and it is completely free!
The gyms and swimming pools all being closed makes regular exercising harder for some but you can still get outside for a walk or a jog. Being outside in nature will also help to boost your vitamin D levels which supports your immune system. If you stop to appreciate your surroundings it helps you to live in the present moment and boost your overall mood.
Exercising regularly will also help improve the quality of your sleep so we really can’t stress enough how important it is at the moment.
We are allowed to exercise with 1 other person outdoors at the moment so try to do this if possible. Having an exercise buddy will help you to maintain motivation and have some social contact.
When you have many thoughts all racing around in your brain, particularly if you are worrying about things that you cannot control, this will lead to a state of anxiety. Taking a moment to slow down, breathe and be more mindful of what is happening in the present moment will help to calm a busy brain.
There are a couple of apps that you can download on to your phone which have some very good meditations you can listen to. The apps are called: Smiling Mind and Headspace.
- Talk to Someone
Even though we can’t meet up with friends and family at the moment, we can still pick up the phone and connect with them. Of course it is not the same as seeing people in person but sharing our experiences of what is happening globally and talking through our worries on the phone can also be very restorative. We are all experiencing this pandemic together and sharing our feelings about it helps us to process our feelings and know that we are not alone.
If your feelings of anxiety are overwhelming you then please talk to us and seek help.
Above all, know that it is OK to admit that you’re not feeling OK.