With it comes to life post-pandemic, one of the biggest issues out there continues to be mental health. Perhaps you are already feeling anxious about the easing of restrictions, and concerned about life in the “new norm” in general. Well, I have to say I’m 100% with you on that one. With that said, we’re sharing top tips from Alison McDowall – mum, mental health advocate, PND survivor and the co-founder of The Positive Planner – on prioritising your mental health after Covid.
A lot has changed in the past few months but you can certainly draw some positives from these strange times too. Taking care of ourselves and making our mental health after Covid a priority is one of them. Here are my top tips for prioritising your mental health after Covid….
Self-care is NOT selfish
It’s a sad truth that we will prioritise everyone else around us before our own needs. However, in order to function at our best we really need to make time to rest, replenish and regain our energy. Think of it like protecting yourself from burnout! We like to think of self-care like damage prevention or self-preservation.
Nourish your mind, body and soul
Think of it like three circles that overlap each other. You can find a sense of wholeness right in the centre if you treat each with kindness, care and respect. Feeding each element will help you maintain a more balanced lifestyle, have a healthier mindset and be more resilient at dealing with whatever life throws your way.
This can look like simple daily rituals like list-making or maybe a planning session on a Sunday that could help you feel more in control of the week ahead. We suggest getting pen on to paper and mapping things out to try and find a little calm in the chaos. Planning your self-care and positive moments will help you carve out time and make them happen.
Ditch the guilt and be your own best friend
Finding a positive way to talk to yourself can really help your sense of wellbeing. All too often we can slip into that familiar negative quicksand. Your inner narrative needs to be on your team too. Realising that you are doing your best and that is all you can really do is quite liberating.
Try and respond to your irrational thoughts with more of a rational ‘wise’ voice, ask yourself if what you are saying to yourself is kind. Would you say that to a friend? If it’s a no then maybe have a words with yourself!
Calm your mind
Find a mindful activity to help you process the many threads of life that you have running at the same time. Something repetitive can really help your mind unwind, also we believe that having something to do that is off-screen can really help reduce anxiety and calm your frazzled brain. Think of it like giving your head a hug. Whatever brings you back to the most authentic version of yourself is what you should be striving to make time for.
Circle of trust
We all need to have a team we can turn to and trust with our deepest thoughts. It’s important to keep talking and communicating your feelings in times of stress and anxiety. You will probably have found in the last few months that your true friends will have become evident to you.
Who were you in contact with the most? Who did you miss during lockdown? We suggest only ever investing in friendships with people that feel as though they really have your back. We all need to be heard and having conversations rooted in trust and truth can really help you work through your problems.
Get the professionals in
If you don’t feel that the people in your life have the time to listen or don’t truly have the ability to understand what you need. My advice is to find people that do. If that means finding a mindset coach to help you or maybe you need to find a therapist that can help you work through some of your concerns. What you need is people to effectively ‘hold space’ for you. A place to talk about the things coming up and find ways of coping with them.
Move your body
Sometimes it really is the last thing you want to do, but it’s proven that getting the blood flowing really does improve your mood. It doesn’t have to be hitting the gym or lifting weights, find what works for your body and the main thing is just to raise the heart rate and simply moving your body in some way.
A lot of online classes are very inclusive and we guarantee that you will get that post-workout glow whatever you do! It helps increase the serotonin levels in your body so staying physically healthy can often be the key to keeping mentally healthy too. It’s all about balance!
Find your joy
What brings a smile to your face? It could be nature, family or even adrenaline seeking. We don’t know what makes you tick, but you do! So go ahead, be a thrill seeker and find the joy in your life again. It’s a crucial part of looking after your wellbeing. If it’s been a while since you felt that warm fuzzy feeling then we suggest journaling about all the times you felt true joy and try and make more of those things happen again!
Being realistic and accepting your reality is an essential part of making your mental health after Covid priority. We love the quote ‘Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can’, it’s all about having the awareness. Shining a light on things that are getting you down and facing them head-on.
The stressors in our lives can have a huge effect on our mental health. We try and encourage people to write down their worries in a journal and this can really help unearth what is keeping you from living to your full potential. Because let’s face it, if you don’t work, not much else in your life will.
We’ve teamed up with The Positive Planner for a chance to win a copy of the original mindful gratitude journal that encourages mental wellbeing through the use of daily reflections and mindfulness activities.
Alison McDowall is the co-founder of The Positive Planner. She is a Mum, a mental health advocate and a PND survivor.