In the light of it being Mental Health Awareness Month, the UK Mental Health Foundation is running Mental Health Awareness week to further bring light to this topic. This year the theme of this week is kindness, and what a great time to be kind to yourself! We all know we’re going through a very strange time, where complex emotions and behaviors are manifesting in extremely odd ways. Well, let me tell you…that is OK! Be kind to yourself! and here’s how!
Acknowledge Those Complicated Emotions-Being in our homes for extended periods of time is not normal. We’re not used to not seeing our loved ones for such a long time, and of course it will bring up challenging emotions. However, rather than being in denial about those feelings, label them and talk yourself through that headspace-whether it’s through a journaling exercise or talking to a loved one. This will give you an opportunity to be compassionate towards yourself-and it will help you process those feelings.
Do what you Love-I have talked about this so many times. Even my last blog post talked about how I did activities that made me happy to get out of my negative headspace. Be kind to yourself being doing stuff that you love-music, dancing, reading, self care, innovative zoom chats with friends, netflix & chill-this list endless!
Engage your Senses-Eventually we all grow tired of constantly hearing and seeing news about the pandemic. In fact, it’s overwhelming and induces anxiety. Be kind and allow yourself to enjoy the little things in life-like a nice walk, fresh air, a delicious meal, a clean space-slow down and enjoy the little things in life :). A key exercise to redirect your attention away from those anxious thoughts, which is recommended by lots of therapists, is the 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique:
- Acknowledge 5 Things you See around you
- Acknowledge 4 Things you can Touch
- Acknowledge 3 Things you Hear
- Acknowledge 2 Things you can Smell
- Acknowledge 1 Thing you can Taste
Give yourself a Hug-I started doing this exercise recently and I cannot explain what a positive impact it has. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but a simple gesture like giving yourself a hug reduces our cortisol levels.
Practice Gratitude–Another activity I’ve talked about time and time again. In fact, I wrote a whole blog post about it. Appreciating the small stuff-from fast Internet to natural light-can spark joy and immediately boost your mood!
So we cannot control what is happening on the macro levels-what can do is control how act and behave-and that starts with our headspace. So be kind to yourself, you are extraordinary!