How to Look After Yourself During Self-Isolation
I’m a mum of 3, juggling family and online schooling with work and running the house and, like you, I’m acutely aware of the headlines. These are unsettling times, financially and emotionally, as we navigate our way through unchartered waters and if you’re feeling worried, low or frustrated that’s totally understandable and you’re not alone.
You can’t necessarily change the situation but you can change the way you wrap your thoughts around it and thereby protect your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those in your care.
Imagine your brain is divided into 2 parts. The Primitive Mind (which hasn’t evolved much since we lived in caves), prioritises our short term self-survival and determines whether our response to the crisis is freeze, fight or flight whilst drawing on emotions of anxiety, depression and anger. It is negative, vigilant, obsessive and ready to hit the panic button and open the floodgates releasing cortisol and other stress hormones. Ongoing stress can manifest itself emotionally, mentally and physically. Therefore, as well as your mood, your confidence, energy levels and productivity, creativity, appetite and quality of sleep may be compromised. Perhaps you’re nodding in recognition at this point and no wonder given what we’re currently up against!
However, when you operate from your Intellectual Mind, you have clear access to all your inherent skills, strengths and resources. You have the benefit of perspective and can apply logic to assess and process, thinking rationally whilst remaining calm in order to arrive at the best solution available to you, given the circumstances.
So how do you spend more time in your Intellectual Mind? You need to produce a neurochemical called serotonin which acts as a catalyst for mentally healthy behaviour and elevates you into your Intellectual Mind. You need to find and acknowledge positive triggers to maintain a steady flow of serotonin during your waking hours by Positive Thinking, Positive Action and Positive Interaction.
Focus on what you can control, what you’re already achieving and allow yourself to feel good about that. Think of something that has made you smile today? Is there a hobby or an activity which you enjoy doing? Who have you been happy to see (even from a distance), speak to or even simply wave at recently? You can use your memories of past times if that’s helpful.
The mind can’t tell the difference between imagination and reality. How would you prefer to be thinking, acting, interacting? What difference would that make to you? To anyone else? Visualise what you would be able to do differently if you were coping better. Neurons that fire together wire together and so create a new neural pathway for your behaviour, thoughts and feelings to follow. This is how you start to reassure and override the primitive mind and take back control to improve your wellbeing.
Take one small step, one day at a time and be kind to yourself,
BA (Hons), DipSFH, AfSFH-reg
If you’re finding the current situation challenging and would like some help, please get in touch for a free introductory phone call.