24 Sep How To Support Your Wellbeing In The Covid-19 Era
]The lockdowns and restrictions of Covid-19 are taking their toll on many people – here are some practical ideas and strategies to support your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing :
Laughter and play are powerful ways of boosting your mood and releasing feel-good hormones like endorphins and serotonin.
- Do something silly – skip down the road, have a spontaneous dance party, karaoke, give yourself a crazy hairstyle, have dessert for breakfast and breakfast for dinner?
- Play a game – who can build the highest tower out of toothpicks and sellotape? Who can make the fanciest dessert? Who can tell the funniest joke? Who can find the funniest youtube video?
- Make a laughie – record a video of yourself laughing for one minute. Then play it back – I bet you can’t keep a straight face??
Get at least 20 minutes of sunshine every day
- Our body and brain need direct sunlight for Vitamin D to keep our bones strong and healthy
- Sunlight releases endorphins, hormones associated with happier mood, less depression, less anxiety and greater calmness. Quite simply, it helps us feel better.
- It helps you sleep better – sunlight supports our body clock – our circadian rhythm, so that our body effectively produces melatonin – the hormone that helps sleep.
- Getting outside is also a great antidote from staring at a computer screen!
Gratitude will boost your mood!
- Gratitude is about appreciating what you have, and it is essential to enjoying life. Research shows gratitude is linked to higher levels of happiness and psychological wellbeing. It can help lower depression, lower anxiety, reduce stress, and even reduce pain. It can improve our relationships with others as well as with ourselves.
- The best way to start practicing gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal and write things for which you are grateful each day. Take time to notice how your body feels when you express gratitude – what emotions come with those feelings?
- If you want to express gratitude to others, you could try a random act of kindness – help a stranger, give someone a compliment. You might want to phone someone and express your appreciation to them, or write them a note or letter. Or do something special or meaningful for them.
Nourish Your Body
- Nourishing your body with good nutrition will support your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Avoiding sugary processed foods and eating more vegetables, fruits, nuts and other plant-based foods can help stabilise blood sugar levels which means a more stable mood. It also helps to reduce depression and avoid the tiredness and irritability associated with erratic blood sugar levels.
- Aim to eat a rainbow of colours, and enjoy a variety of plant-based foods that provide vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients for a healthy mind and body.
- Learn more about the connection between nutrition and mental health here: https://www.tedxchristchurch.com/julia-rucklidge
- Sleep is crucial for our wellbeing. It helps to recalibrate our emotions, restore our immune system, regulates our appetite, and is important for our learning and memory.
- Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, immune system failure, stroke, cancer, skin cancer, overeating, and heart failure (Ref. Dr Matt Walker – Why We Sleep).
If you are struggling with quality or quantity of sleep, try having a dedicated wind down period before bed – avoid devices, enjoy a warm shower or bath, do something calming or relaxing. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon, avoid alcohol, try and go to bed around the same time every night, avoid eating large meals in the evening, ensure your bedroom is cool, dark and device-free, and try to get at least 20 mins of direct sunlight every day to help regulate your internal body clock.
Move Your Body!
If there one thing you can do to make your brain feel better, improve your mood and boost your energy, while reducing your risk of illness, move your body!
- Exercise is one of the most powerful things we can do to improve our wellbeing.
- You don’t need to join a gym – in fact, the people who live the longest and healthiest lives in the world (Blue Zones) move their body naturally – they walk, stretch, climb, lift, dance – quite simply, they sit less and move more.
- The key is to find something you enjoy. If you really don’t like exercising, try putting on your favourite music and get your body moving….you might even be surprised at how good you feel afterwards!
The power of music
- Music can have a powerful influence on our health and wellbeing.
- Listening to your favourite type of music can help to drastically reduce stress and anxiety, and keep your heart calm and steady as well. It can be highly effective at boosting your mood, and also reduce pain.
- Be selective about the music you choose to listen to – choosing the wrong music can actually produce a stress response, or trigger negative emotions. So it’s really important to tune in to yourself and see how you’re feeling with different types of music.
- So if you want to do something good for your brain and your body today, turn on the music and sing along to a few songs. Better yet, have a bit of a dance at the same time!