Here we are again, trying to get through a difficult, isolating, scary time. More than ever, we need to take care of ourselves so that we can be a source of strength and encouragement for those around us.
Mental and physical health go hand in hand. When we boost our mood we unleash positive changes in our body and support our immune system. This creates a virtuous circle of wellness that can help us overcome the toughest challenges.
These 6 lockdown mental health boosters are great ways to shore up your happiness in hard times.
Cut a rug
Dancing is one of the most uplifting things you can do, hands down. It gets your heart pumping, your endorphins flowing and the energising music will put a smile on your face. Whether your jam is 80s pop tunes or powerhouse techno, put on a playlist and boogie on down.
Drink your greens
What we eat has a profound affect on mood and sense of well-being. Getting plenty of leafy green vegetables helps keep your system running smoothly during less active periods thanks to high quantities of fibre and water, plus they are rich in iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Whip up some delicious smoothies and drink yourself happy.
During lockdown it’s easy to get into a routine of relying on the internet for entertainment. Streaming series and movies, or reading online, is fine in moderation but spending all day glued to a screen isn’t great for your eyes, posture, digestion or creativity. Replace some of that time non-stressful activities that require you to interact in three dimensions, like sketching, knitting, crocheting or re-potting your houseplants.
Join a group of people with shared interests
Have you always wanted to learn more about documentary film-making, or travelling in India, or vegan cooking? Now is a great time to find an online forum, club or group dedicated to that interest and start making friends. Building out your support network, even if it is something as casual as chatting with strangers about a shared hobby, will renew your sense of connection and improve your mood.
Try a new online exercise option
YouTube is a source of squillions of online workouts and fitness ideas. Freshen up your home yoga practice by trying a new move, class or teacher. Want something completely different? Look for a body-weight workout, a dance fitness class you can do in your living, or boot camp style workout that will get your heart pumping.
Give yourself a break
In times of stress and uncertainty it’s normal to be more irritable, impatient, anxious, sad and so forth. Allow yourself to feel how you feel, and give yourself a break when you’re having a tough time. It is okay to not be okay with what’s happening. The goal of self-care and positive mental health practices is not to be a shiny, happy person 24/7 but to be able to cope with circumstances even when you struggle.
Be kind to yourself. This will enable you to be kind to others.
Share your tips for surviving lockdown in the comments, or Tweet @YogaWithPaul