2020 has thrown more challenges at us all than anyone was expecting. So if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, lonely, anxious; or you’re just not taking care of yourself like you should it’s completely understandable. We’ve put together some easy activities to incorporate into your daily routine to help your mental and physical wellbeing. And the best thing about them? They only take 5 minutes so it’s easy to make small changes that have a huge impact!
Yoga & stretching is a great way to bring your attention back to your body and the present moment. Taking part in a yoga class, like our free Thursday night session, is a great idea. But you don’t need to commit to an hour for a bit of stretching to have a big impact. This quick video from Yoga With Adriene can be done from the comfort of your own home. It features 5 minutes of stretches designed to combat stress….blissful!
2) Plan your meals
Making sure you’re eating well is an essential part of taking care of yourself. So a great trick to set yourself up for success is to plan your meals in advance. Whether you do it a few days in advance or you’re filling your freezer with batch-cooked meals every month; writing a list of intended meals using ingredients you already have can take lots of the pressure out of mealtimes.
For ideas of nutritious, cost-effective meals head to our blog for recipe inspiration, including this curry using only tinned ingredients.
3) Meditate before bed
You’ll never know how important sleep is until you’re not getting enough of it! If you struggle to get your full 8 hrs it’s worth setting up a bedtime routine. This way your body and mind recognise when it’s time to start switching off. Reducing screen time, cutting out caffeine & alcohol or reading a book are great ways to sooth a restful mind. And why not try a quick meditation or mindful activity before you go to sleep every night too. Try out some of the many free guided meditation apps, playlists or videos available online. Or go to sleep.org for a guide to mediation to aid sleep.
4) Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness is the practise of bringing your awareness back to the here & now – a great way to catch a mind spiraling into worry. Mindfulness is particularly effective as it’s designed to be quick! This article is a great resource of 5 minute activities you can do every day to boost your wellbeing.
One of the things about experiencing a dip in your mental health is that your mind tricks you into thinking you’re the only one who feels that way. It can be a lonely place to be. It’s sometimes too much effort to pick up the phone & reach out. However when you do you are guaranteed to find someone who can offer support & empathy. Using Voice notes & texting is a quick, accessible way to reach out to friends & family. This is especially helpful if you can’t face a full-on conversation or meeting them in person.
Or you can join our phone-buddy scheme to be paired up with a friendly member of IP17 GNS who will chat with you on a regular basis. Just add your details to our request form & we’ll be in touch.
6) Engage your senses
A great technique to de-escalate panic attacks & help people cope with short bursts of high emotion or feeling overwhelmed is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 activity. Take a moment to pause & list:
- 5 things around you that you can see.
- 4 things around you that you can touch.
- 3 things around you that you can hear.
- 2 things around you that you can smell.
- 1 thing around you that you can/could taste.
It’s a great way to reign in an overactive mind or navigate periods of high stress.
7) Get outside
Nature sounds, feeling the sun on your skin (if you can catch it) and breathing in fresh air are all great for lowering blood pressure and improving your mood. Try to spend a little time outside each day. Whether you pop out for a walk, spend time in your garden or stand on the doorstep & watch the world go by – it’s a super easy way to take care of yourself.
We wrote before about how important vitamin D is to maintaining overall health. It’s especially important in the winter to be mindful of this & take some supplements if you think you need a boost.
8) Take a news break
A lot of people I speak with at the moment say they’re suffering from news fatigue. The reports at the moments are largely focused on one main story & it’s mostly negative-sounding. It can be exhausting and really impact your mental state to absorb such a lot of challenging information. So the solution is….don’t. Take a break from the news for a while & see how it makes you feel. Or, if you still need to feel connected to the world, why not try Positive News or The Happy Newspaper, both dedicated to bringing you positive stories to boost your mood.