These are unprecedented times. COVID 19 has us all changing our way of life and moving in to lock down, and rightly so given the rate of spread and risk to lives. For many of us the loss of our usual routine, the lack of our usual supports such as schools to look after our children or even a coffee with friends, life can feel out of control. This has us all off-balance right now, so how can we look after our metal health during lock down?

Tip #1 Understand what you can control. This situation reveals to me the very uncomfortable truth that we are not in control of much. If this is also hitting you in the face at the moment lets look at things a bit more closely.

I love the image above as a way we can map our circle of influence over things that we are concerned about. There are things we have influence over (the good news!) and they go in the centre of the circle. These are the things we can do for ourselves. The things that really have no influence over go outside the circle and these are the things we need to let go of, as worrying about them will not change them.

Tip #2 Create a routine. Have a rough plan for each day that balances tasks that need to be done and time for self care. Things like walking in nature (if you are able to leave the house) exercise (more on this in the next tip), taking a bath, watching a favourite movie or cooking a favourite meal are all ways to give yourself care.

Tip #3 Move to Nurture yourself. Exercise is absolutely essential for mental health. As a Pilates teacher I recommend Pilates as an amazing practice to maintain wellness. Did you know Joseph Pilates was a POW in WW1 and while he was incarcerated he developed the traditional mat series that is now practiced around the world? These exercises were developed for people in very cramped conditions that were not getting other normal exercise. The health of prisoners that were doing these exercises was noted by the British Army at the time. Whatever you can do to move your energy right now is fine, dancing around the lounge room, stretching on the floor or doing an online class. Move and breath.

Here are some ideas to be mindful about our mental health as we move into lock down. With a few tips to keep us on track we can do this. If you are seeking further resources please check out https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak

Take care and move to nurture yourself,

Brigid

Brigid Pearse is a Pilates and Movement teacher based in Lennox Head offering virtual classes during the lockdown. These are real time classes where Brigid leads clients through an all levels Pilates mat work out via the internet. Check out the home page for more details.

Mental health: 3 tips for lock down

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