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9 October 2020 | Comment |

Breathing, yoga & keeping positive: how I look after my mental health

By Chloe Passey, Receptionist | 9 October 2020 – For World Mental Health Day 2020

Chloe Passey | Hugh James

I wanted to give a few coping strategies to people who may be dealing with their mental health during this challenging time.

I feel like sometimes, having bad mental health can sometimes be seen upon as a weakness, but it is so important to know that this is not the case.

No matter who you are we can all have worries, big and small from time to time but the current situation and stresses of pressures on our daily lives will unfortunately have a huge impact on all of our states of mind. Some more than others, so important to continue to be open and honest with loved ones, friends and family about how you are feeling and look to others for support.

Having had bad anxiety myself in the past, I have developed some coping mechanisms over time which I have found really helpful and I would like to share these for other people to use who are experiencing high stress, worries and anxiety during this time.

Firstly, I found that it is important to acknowledge that it is OK to feel not 100% all of the time. Beating yourself up about emotions that come to you is not always helpful and can make you feel worse, so acknowledging that you are having a bad day relieves the pressure off yourself and know that tomorrow you will have a better day.

Look at the positive

One thing I found useful is to spend time focusing your mind on looking at the positive. Some people keep a mindfulness journal where you list 3 things each day that you are grateful for at the end of the evening. Sometimes you may have had a bad day and you struggle to find the positive so it can be as simple as ‘I am thankful for the really tasty breakfast I had today’ or ‘ I am grateful for the rain today because my veggies have been watered in the garden and I don’t have to do it!! ’ Pushing yourself to look for positives when everything around you feels bad helps you to realise there is always something to be thankful for. You will find yourself doing it more often and eventually your moral and mood learns to switch.

Take a breath

When thoughts begin to race, worries manifest and anxiety becomes too much, take a moment to stop. Take a moment to do some deep breathing. Now I know a lot of people always say this and I always tried it and shrugged it off until I learned a technique which tells you to breathe in for 7 seconds and then out for 12 seconds. You will be surprised how long 12 seconds actually is!! And doing this for a few breaths really helps to calm the body down and then you can refocus your thoughts. Best technique I have learnt by far!

Try something new, like yoga

This leads onto another technique which includes breathing and that is yoga. I started trying this during lockdown because I missed the exercise, walks and travels that were decreased during lockdown. Doing yoga before bed helps to relax the body, stretch the muscles and also gave me a challenge trying to master difficult poses!! Which I have still not mastered unfortunately but I have had a massive laugh attempting them along the way!

Finding something that you enjoy doing for yourself when there are so many restrictions occurring can really help your mood and boost your productivity. For me, it has been painting, cooking, learning yoga and exploring Mrs Hinch’s cleaning wonders! I absolutely hate cleaning with a passion but I have found out ‘The pink stuff’ really works. Finding a new hobby or challenge, or even learning something new can give you a focus and make you feel good when you manage to accomplish a new task.

Lastly, family and support from a friend or work colleague is essential during this time. I personally always look to my mum for support when things get rough and one really good thing she told me just before the first lockdown was ‘ Look at the things you CAN still do’ So whenever I get down about not being able to explore, or the newest restriction, I look at the things I can still do and make sure I am thankful and enjoy those things.

I hope that has been helpful. Take care!


Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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