During this challenging time, many of us may be feeling anxious or stressed as we all try to adapt to our new ‘normal’. Here are some hints and tips for you to try.
If you are feeling anxious or stressed here are some things you may want to try:
- Breathe: Take a few deeper breaths than normal. A long slow in breath (from your stomach) and a long slow out breath; paying attention to your breathing. Feel a sense of letting go on the out-breath.
- Ground yourself: Feel your feet on the ground - notice any sensations like tingling or heat or cold. Paying attention to your feet takes your attention away from thoughts and difficult emotions.
- Smile: You may not feel like smiling, but doing it will automatically relax tension in your body and may light up someone else’s day if they see you.
- Notice: Take notice of one thing you can be grateful for, right now in this moment e.g. help from others; a comfy bed, the taste of tea or coffee; messages from friends; daffodils etc.
Being more mindful can help reduce feelings of anxiety or stress and can help improve self-compassion, the quality of sleep and improve relaxation.
Visit the Mind website for further relaxation tips.
Practising Mindfulness every day can help reduce that feeling of anxiety and can improve self-compassion, the quality of sleep and improve relaxation.
To help you become more mindful, here are some useful tips:
- Set aside some time. You don’t need any special equipment but you do need to set aside some time and space.
- Observe the present moment as it is. The aim of mindfulness is not attempting to achieve a state of eternal calm. The goal is simple: try to pay attention to the present moment without judgement.
- Let your judgements roll by. When we notice judgements arise, make a mental note of them and let them pass.
- Return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning again and again, to the present moment.
- Be kind to your wandering mind. Don’t judge yourself for whatever thoughts crop up; just practice recognising when your mind wanders and gently bring it back.
While practising mindfulness, it’s helpful to remember the following:
- Situations cannot create feelings – only your thoughts about the situation can
- Notice unhelpful thoughts and replace them with helpful thoughts
- Take note of which behaviours make you feel better or worse
- Turn your focus and be present with the task or environment
- Avoidance makes anxiety worse; try and face what is making you feel anxious
- Let go of expectations; enjoy and appreciate
Visit the Mindfulness Scotland website for further guidance on how to practice Mindfulness
Look after yourself
It is important to remember to take the time to look after yourself. We can't help others if we don’t help ourselves! So remember to:
- Eat and drink regularly and healthily
- Take regular breaks throughout the day and ensure you are getting enough sleep
- Keep connected. Speak to friends and family – its good to talk!
- Be kind to each other
Try to keep to a routine and give yourself time to rest and recharge. Build in time each day just for you:
- Practice mindfulness or meditation – even if it’s just for 10 minutes a day
- Try Yoga or some gentle stretching exercises
- Go for a walk and listen to your favourite music
- Read a book or magazine – take a break from social media
- Take a long soak in the bath
Visit the Clear Your Head Scotland website for more helpful tips on how to manage anxiety.
Stress, coping and resilience
Visit the NHS Education for Scotland website for helpful visuals to assist with information on stress, coping and resilience at this difficult time.