Protecting our Mental Health?
"I've been baking! Never done much before and find it’s relaxing but focussed and structured - and makes me stop looking at my screens too much - also nice to eat the results !"
Practicing Qi Gong most days and meditating most evenings
Trying to maintain a routine re sleep times/ eating times
Listening to music , singing and dancing most days
Sharing daily jokes with friends via WhatsApp or text, laughter is very helpful.
Video calls with close friends
Checking in with people regularly to make sure they are ok
Forgiving myself for not learning a new skill, decluttering my home or obtaining a 6-pack
Feeling content with keeping going every day
Taking things an hour at a time, not letting my head run away with itself
I made a list and keep adding to it of the advantages of staying home
also a list of things to be grateful for...
"One thing I have found really sustains me is early morning walks around Chorlton meadows. It's a way of feeling the unchanged rhythm of nature all around, hearing the birdsong and watching spring unfurl. I feel enlivened and comforted by so much life carrying on unaffected by the pandemic. It gives a bigger perspective, a sense of connection to the power and beauty of nature, of which we are a part, and a sense of calm and gratitude. Sets me up for the day."
"During lockdown the way I am looking after myself emotionally. I get up quite early and do some early morning meditation, then while it is still quiet I go for a walk. Just half an hour, and making sure I keep to social distancing. If I don’t go for a walk I do a bit of exercise at home – exercises learned from groups I’ve been to over the years. Other things I do during the day – I turn the telly off and put some music on, and do puzzles, or some art or colouring. I try to ring a couple of friends each day. And I always go to the front door on Thursday night and clap for the key workers. It’s really happy as everyone is out doing the same. We all wave and shout hello – and we don’t feel so alone."
I'm trying to make sure I find time to go outside every day, stretch my legs and spend time away from screens! I have a long bucket list of interesting places to visit around Manchester and Stockport – buildings, public artworks, parks and green spaces that I’ve read or heard about or seen in passing and meant to go and have a closer look at! Sometimes I find it hard to get the motivation to go out if I don’t have a reason to, so I’ve been making an effort to walk or cycle to see new places.
Natalie Bradbury, you can read more of Natalies Writing by clicking here :
"This can be my top tip for keeping sane whilst in lock down: keep attempting things, whether drawing, cooking, practicing Q.G, being still, sleeping, whatever it is, have a go."
"I’m not naturally green fingered, many plants have not flowered or fruited at my hands. But, digging in the dirt, placing bulbs in possible new homes and seeds in fine soil and warm spots is forever satisfying and soothing to the soul.
Being around plants is possibly the only time I enjoy my own company and during a lockdown that’s become a necessity. I can quite happily take a cup of tea and sit and watch a plant, almost in a meditative state. This is how I’m taking care of myself during the lockdown. And with the lack of shopping I’m doing door step drop offs with neighbours of plant cuttings. Which means I can feel connected but also spend time finding plants to share.’"
Going out for a walk or bike ride every day
Having a varied daily routine
Playing with next door's cat
Keeping in touch with others – not only helps them feel less isolated but helps prevent me from getting lost in the spaces of my own head
Thinking of things I have to be grateful for – not having COVID-19, still having a regular income ...
Remembering that this is a temporary situation and that it will pass – and that frustration, boredom
feeling down etc are quite normal reactions to it and that they too are temporary and will pass
I go for a daily walk in the park, and try to get out of my head by noticing the things around me, just the combination of light, air and birdsong lifts me. I have also done the odd online work out when I am feeling low, again it always seems to change how I am feeling. I try to practice mindfulness, I manage it about three times a week (I recommend any meditations by John Williams and those on the Manchester art gallery website). And last but not least, phone calls to friends and family.
Having a good routine helps to anchor me and keep me grounded. I do this by (roughly) fixing my meal times and the times that I do my health practices, and I keep the same bed time too. This means that although there is time for going with the flow and responding to the moment I know that at 12.30 I will stop for lunch for instance. Keeping these daily rhythms helps me to keep my mind and body in tune. I think there is something about feeding your body and soul that if reliable means that you can dwell in a peaceful state knowing your core needs are being met. I am a big believer in biorhythms and inner clocks, and when I follow these I know I feel better.