Most of us struggle to maintain healthy self-care skills at the best of times, so in situations of extreme stress, such as the current lock-down, in response to covid-19, this becomes even more vital. Fuses can be short, and even the most harmonious home can become a site where tempers are frayed to explosive. But worry not – the following tips for coping with extreme stress will have you feeling in the zone in no time….
Trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk compares some of the circumstances surrounding the current lock-down to the preconditions for trauma. Factors like enforced immobility, feeling that life is unpredictable, and unsafe can lead to people feeling like they are losing connection with their day to day lives, perhaps feelings of numbness, or of being spaced out. To avoid this happening, it is vital for us to be proactive, in creating safe spaces in our homes and in our lives. If personal space is scarce, its worth actively mapping ‘safe zones’ (like an armchair) that people can go to and be undisturbed. Take back some control over your life – plan ahead and create blocks of activity that help you bring balance back. Make sure you include:
Find what works for you. This may range from stretching, gentle breathing and mindfulness techniques or yoga, to more active forms of activity. Take a walk in the local park, or empty care park of the local super-market. If you’re not able to get outdoors, you can walk up and down the corridor, or run up and downstairs. Use your imagination
Remember, chronic stress leads to increased levels of adrenalin and cortisol in your body. Over time, this can deplete your body of vital nutrients. This creates a downward spiral, making it harder for you body to regulate itself and fight infections. This creates further stress on the body, and so on. Be aware of falling into bad eating patterns. Ensure that you eat regular, healthy meals that are right for your body.
Drink lots of clean fresh water! Over 60% of every single cell in your body consists of water. Good ol’ H-2-O is essential for every function of your body, from the healthy functioning of all your vital organs to flushing out toxins from your system. Aim to drink 2 litres (or eight small glasses) of water every day. Imagine all the toxins being flushed out of your system every time to drain a glass.
Stay connected to family, friends… learning and culture
We may be locked-in in a global pandemic, but it has never been easier to stay connected with friends and family – or to make new connections. Send out invites for a virtual coffee morning, or dinner, or dance party – the list is endless. The unexpected gift of lock-down has been the amazing generosity of individuals and organisations in offering all sorts of free online experiences. Here are just some examples:
- The National Theatre is offering a free play every week.
- Still not impressed? Then try this link to the Creative Isolation website. I defy you not to find something that grabs your fancy!
- Access Farrukh’s daily self-care meditation here.