Caring for Yourself

Topic for Today - Caring for Yourself

Here’s the thing - we are part of a Hartlepool Mind WhatsApp group.  The group help and support each other in all kinds of unusual ways.  We share highs and lows, when people are struggling and when they are doing really well.  We share small victories and comfort each other on days that aren’t going our way with an occasional funny video and picture of cooking triumph! - it’s great. Well, I asked them - what topics should we be covering in the blog this week and one member said straight away:


“Talk about self compassion, being kind to yourself, don’t feel guilty, we are all just trying our best”


And I think thats right.  This is something we all need to talk about.


Whether we are alone or living in a group, still trying to work full or part time, retired, not in paid work at the moment or “furloughed” we are all having to find new ways of living and working. 


(And we need to be clear - working from home under Covid-19 is not, repeat is not, the same as working at home before this all happened.  Working from home now might be extra stressful.  People are missing the social interaction and professional support of the work place). 


Many  people are trying to balance complex caring responsibilities with lock down - not an easy task at the best of times.

Not being able to go out and perhaps struggling with a lack of money and resources can be hellish and more demanding than perhaps ever before.


So how do we cope with these extra demands and this challenging situation?

Please let us make a few suggestions


We start by being kind to ourselves!

And this starts with no “bad chat”

Please do not use this time to be cruel to yourself about what you have done or have failed to do.  Calling yourself names inside your head can be so negative.  It reinforces unkind ideas and makes it harder for you to move on.  Start with self love and commit to kind words and kind actions for you, and for others.


In order to keep going you need to ensure your basic needs are also in place.


Sleeping

Try to make sure you get a good nights sleep - if it is broken for any reason maybe you can get one or two naps during the day to make up for it


Eating

Try to eat well and maybe plan your menu for the week to help organise and reduce shopping trips

This can involve effort and fresh food can be a little more expensive but it helps our body work better and good food can work to lift our spirits and give us more energy

Check out the bootstrap cook for cheap and easy nutritious recipes if you can

https://cookingonabootstrap.com

Or check out Jamie Oliver’s “keep cooking & carry on” on TV


Exercising

I know, I know, in the middle of the madness it can seem like a stupid waste of time, but we know it isn’t.  It really does help.

It keeps us fit, boosts our sense of wellbeing and can support our immune system so give it a go

Anything is good, half an hour of going up and down the stairs is a start or check out other digital support, you can do gentle arm chair yoga or something more athletic - but please - be sensible.  You do not need an extra trip to A&E right now!

Just try something, and if you don’t like it, try something else till you find the thing that works for you.  Maybe share doing it with a friend - even in different houses you can skype or facetime while you exercise.


Me Time

Try and find at least 30 minutes in the day to have peace and quiet and do something for you.  Read a book, watch a favourite bit of TV without interruption, have a bath, something that you choose and is protected time


Digital Break

Give yourself a digital break - put your phone or tablet in another room and give yourself a complete break from all the news and problems coming through.  Reconnect to you and your home and enjoy your space.


Nature

Being outside, even for a short time, can be great for wellbeing.  Try to really focus on everything you can see, hear and small and let it relax your whole body.  Take deep breaths and remember that this is a very big world with so much beauty in it. Things are difficult at the moment, but they will get better.


Do something for someone else

Almost sounds back to front, but it works, when we do a kind act for someone else it can work to help and nurture us, so try writing a real letter “snail mail” and sending it to a friend or family member. Draw them a picture or make them something.  The value is in the thought and the effort that you make - they will appreciate it.


Now… here’s the big one

Be gentle with yourself, forgive your mistakes and accept what has gone.

We all make mistakes, behave badly sometimes, get things wrong.  The great thing is we can move on.  We can say sorry in whatever way is appropriate and we can try a different way. Each day starts fresh and there is a new chance do a little better.  But remember we are all only human, if things are tough, reach out and ask for help. You might be surprised by how many people will stand next to you and do whatever they can.


Ok, well those are our thoughts for today, please stay safe, well, kind, creative and connected

Don’t go out if we don’t absolutely need to (i.e. for food basics), keep a safe distance (2 meters) from the other people around us. Keep smiling, waving and talking. Wash hands and avoid touching faces when out and about. 

Anything we can do to stop and slow the virus is keeping more of us safe and literally saving lives. 

If you have symptoms, stay inside and contact 111 or the website to get more advice.


Look forward to speaking again soon!

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