21 Jan CBH Team – How We De-Stress
All of us here at CBH wanted to share with you a few ways in which we have tried to make life easier for ourselves during the last year …
During this pandemic we’ve all felt a little low & dull but I’ve tried to keep my head high and to keep shining through! I really enjoy daily, long walks with my dog – I plug my earphones in and go! It’s great to be able to see other people – albeit it from a distance, but also great to smell the fresh air and just de-stress in peace.
The past year has really tested all of our limits. I know my stress levels have been consistently higher than usual, but I’ve really managed to tune in to what helps me in these difficult times.
1) Exercise – the past few years I have realised that I require exercise for my mental health – possibly more than for my physical health. I’m active all day, every day in my job but I need to do scheduled exercise 3 or 4 times a week to keep my head happy! I tend to enjoy gym sessions (when open!), yoga, Pilates, running, and nice long walks.
2) Puzzling – don’t laugh! I realise I’m not yet 85, but my God do I love a good puzzle! I used to do them with my granny when she’d visit and I always loved our bonding time and found that hours would pass without realising. I find it a really nice form of mindfulness, and such a sense of achievement when it’s completed.
3) Cooking – I’m afraid I didn’t join the banana bread brigade, or indeed the sourdough starter craze, but I do love to cook. When I have the time I enjoy trying new recipes from my lovely Asian cookbook or just getting ideas from the internet. My style is quite Jamie Oliver – just chuck it all in, but I love the creativity of it all.
The hardest thing for me to handle during this pandemic was the uncertainty about how we’ll be impacted by this virus and how long this will keep going on for. What has really been helping me to relax and cope with the stress is to have that balance between staying informed but also put a limit on how much I am watching & reading about the virus. It’s very easy to spiral out of control and end up down a rabbit hole of COVID 19-ness, and this most definitely increases stress levels! Another thing I’ve been doing is finding better ways to take care of my body, mind & spirit. Online exercise classes, going for walks, meditation and taking a lovely relaxing bath, have all been great ways to relax and try to forget about the stresses of the current world.
I normally have pretty good habits when it comes to routines, I practice yoga regularly, meditate and eat as healthily as possible. However, it seems to be when I’m stressed these are the last things I want to do. I might feel inclined to have a drink or reach out for something super sugary! However, I often find I feel so much better if I instead put on a candle and do some hatha yoga rather than being slumped on the sofa watching TV.
I’ve found the main things to focus on at the moment are the little things we can control and positive habits. I started a mood journal at the start of the year which focuses on weekly goals and daily gratitude which has helped me so much! I’ve mainly focused on keeping my body moving with regular runs around Tooting Common and home workouts. I’ve also started using a mediation app and find that 15 minutes of deep breathing and meditation before bed is incredible and helps me to unwind, which makes for a great night’s sleep.
It’s been tough on each and every one of us, but knowing that there is an end in sight has helped me so much psychologically. To look forward and to be grateful for what I do have is most important – of course this is sometimes easier said than done! Physical exercise is most important for my wellbeing too, the very fact that I have a dog means I have to get up early, each and every morning and take her out for a walk – come rain or shine, & when it’s dark and pouring with rain I don’t much relish the thought, but once I’m up and out in the elements, and watching my beautiful dog having so much fun, it makes me smile, and a 45 minute walk is a great time to clear my mind. Unlike Polly, I did join the banana bread brigade (try saying that quickly)! I’ve always enjoyed getting my pinny on and whipping up a new sweet treat creation and this hobby has been turbo charged during lock down! I am so grateful to still have a job to go to, to see our patients and hear their news is a great way to connect with people, in a time when connecting with people is extremely limited. I always make sure I have fresh flowers at home, they lift the spirits, especially the tulips and daffs which are easily accessible right now, signifying that Spring (and hopefully the beginning of the end of this crazy time) is on it’s way – hurrah!