Looking after your mental health in lockdown

We are currently in the second lockdown here in England. The first lockdown, which started back in March, was certainly quite an experience. It was so interesting to be a witness of my own, daily response to it and how difficult it was to navigate through the unprecedented with the daily ups and downs, highs and lows, and so much uncertainty floating around.

This experience made me realised, how incredibly important, now more than ever, is to look after our mental health. Being restricted in so many ways is not healthy for anyone and it’s affecting a great number of people. This, sadly, isn’t the topic that is often covered by the mainstream media and how important is to look after ourselves: physically, mentally and spiritually.

If we only look at the latest statistics, we can clearly see how the mental health of people around the entire world deteriorated in the last few months. This is heartbreaking and very upsetting to me, being a past anxiety sufferer. I fully understand, that when your mind is not in the right place, everything becomes extremely overwhelming and challenging. Even the simplest of tasks, such as taking a shower or sending an email becomes difficult.

I must admit, during the first lockdown my mental health deteriorated as well. It was a shock to my system. From regular nightmares to waking up exhausted (as if I was fighting in a war at night) to comfort eating and over-consuming information from the internet. I became exhausted, ‘depressed’ and very moody.

Today, I’d like to share with you what I’ve learnt from the first lockdown, what helped me and what I’m not repeating in the second one. I hope it will inspire you.

Social media usage

During the first lockdown I had to go on a social media detox. After the first week, I’ve noticed I was over-absorbing information from every corner of the world via the internet. What was exhausting and upsetting to me the most, was the division between people. Verbal attacks on each other, because of a different opinion, blame, pointing fingers at others. I never engage in a low-vibe conversations, but being a witness of this on my daily newsfeed was draining. I’ve never seen so much suppressed anger, people forgot they even had, working itself up to the surface and attacking each other. I needed a break and the break served me well. During this lockdown, I’m being very conscious how I use social media and what I let in.

Mindful eating

At the beginning of the first lockdown, I over-stocked up with the food (not toilet paper though) and not always the healthiest food. And what do you do when you are locked-in at home? You eat more. We’ve never experienced a lockdown in our lifetime before, so with the confusion, the stress, the uncertainty and the overwhelm of it all, most of us began eating more. A big lesson learnt. In the last few months, I became very mindful what I eat again and I feel so much better: physically, mentally and spiritually.

Exercise

Even though I’ve been attending my weekly Zoom ballet classes and have been going for walks during the first lockdown, it still wasn’t enough for me personally. I had to add more exercise to my daily routine. Since I did, I feel more energised and more balanced. In the Summer I created a nice routine and the routine serves me very well to this day.

Daily contact with my family

I’m very close to my family and we talk daily. My family supported me enormously during this global crisis. We support each other and check on each other all the time. It’s important to talk to our loved ones and share how we feel.

Writing my thoughts down

There is a magic in putting the thoughts from your head onto the piece of paper. I find it very therapeutic and it served me very well during the first lockdown. I’m writing even more during this lockdown, and every time I do, I feel lighter and more at peace with myself and everything that is happening around me.

Working on my dreams

I always work on my dreams, but during the first lockdown, I’ve noticed I became more pushy when it came to accomplishing something. This wasn’t healthy for me, my dreams and for the people I serve. I’ve learnt to slow down a bit and act on my dreams from a place of power and not forcing it just for the sake of doing something. These days, I take steps towards my dreams every day, but not in a pushy way, but act on them from a place of power and inspiration.

Daily motivation

One of my strengths is to stay motivated and inspired. I read something inspiring every day, even if it’s only a couple of pages. I listen to podcasts or watch inspiring videos. I’ve done that during the first lockdown and also continuing every single day.

Meditation

Even though I’ve always been a dedicated meditator, during the first lockdown I’ve neglected my practice a bit. These days I’m in a full swing of meditating daily again and it brings so many incredible benefits into my life. I need that daily alignment with my soul to see more clearly, which I’m not able to do when the volume of the world is turned up and the voice of my soul down. Meditation plays a huge part in my life.

Look after yourselves. 
With best wishes, 
Jana x 

Let’s talk about mental health

Just over two weeks ago I’ve had an anxiety attack, after being anxiety-free for almost ten years. It was very brief, but a bit overwhelming. Luckily, I have some great tools now, which got me out of it within a few minutes, but it reminded me of the times when those attacks used to be part of my daily life. Life was very different back then. My anxiety used to be so bad, that even the simplest of tasks, such as standing in the supermarket queue, would put me into the states of panic for no reason. It wasn’t because I was scared to be standing in the supermarket queue, but because I had suffered from, something called, a depersonalisation disorder. Depersonalisation disorder, simply put, is like living in a ‘dream state’ (not a pleasant dream to emphasise), where you don’t really feel part of the current reality, but you are basically being just an observer of what is going on around you, and perceiving it all with the foggy sensation in your mind. Living this way used to put me into unexpected states of panic, without any warning. It was scary, overwhelming and it caused so much damage to my confidence and my self-esteem in the years to come, amongst other things. It took me about four years to get through this period of life, but the imprints of it stayed with me to this day.

The reason I want to talk about mental health today is…

because I know how many people are suffering in silence when it comes to their mental health. And please note, that this is not a medical advice. I’m not a health care professional, I’m just sharing my experience. Always seek medical help, if you are struggling. I did too. I was in therapy for some time, and it offered me comfort and peace. I really want to emphasise not to suffer in silence. This is nothing to feel embarrassed about. When you have a physical problem, you are not embarrassed to visit a doctor, so why should you feel embarrassed to seek medical help when it comes to your mental health?

I have so many great tools these days, I’ve trained as a holistic teacher and a practitioner, but yet, I still seek therapy and help when I need it.  I had to really slow down these last two weeks, because life got a bit too much. I’ve been worried, I’ve stressed, I’ve been having palpitations and yes, one evening, out of the blue, while watching the Matilda musical on Netflix, I got a panic attack. Just like that, without any warning when nothing was going on in that moment. The stress within me has built up, and suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. I’m pleased to say I’m okay now, I don’t feel anxious, but I’m going through emotions every day. Anger, sadness, frustration come and go. And when they go, they are often replaced by creative thoughts, peaceful thoughts and a great ideas, which I’m very grateful for. It’s like being on a rollercoaster. But, I’m dealing with it.

Can you relate?

My point is this: If you are finding the current situation overwhelming, please do not keep your feelings inside. Pick up the phone and talk to a friend or a family member. If all of this is getting out of control, please don’t be afraid to seek a professional help. Don’t suffer in silence. I want to encourage you to talk. I did suffer in silence in the past, for a long time, but the moment I sought help, things started to change. Of course, on a very small scale, but they did. Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings.

Look after yourself. Look after your mind, your body and your soul, and treat your entire being with love and respect.

Stay safe and well!

Jana x