by Alisha Polsen – Psychologist
Through the devastation of this pandemic attending to our core values and focusing on adapting them to our new situation gives us direction and structure to support mental health.
Sticking to a routine incorporating these five key practices guides implementation of how to do and maintain this, as motivation may fluctuate over the coming weeks.
Essential for immune function and protective factor for the parasympathetic nervous system. Exposure to sunlight for an hour early in the day, standing at the front door with your cup of tea, or a short walk, will maintain your circadian rhythm to keep your body in sync and regulate melatonin through this light training. Similarly, reduce bright/ blue light for an hour before bed.
Stay active, using your muscles to regulate adrenalin impacts in the body that may be surging due to fear or uncertainty. Scheduling this each day means you can use this time of isolation to improve your physiology and fitness. There are loads of online programs for real time workouts if you like connection while exercising as well as pre recorded to do when suits you.
Only bring into the house what you want to eat. Its important to have some supplies for a two week isolation stint but this does not have to be chips and lollies. Whole grains, beans, legumes, eggs and frozen veggies and berries and garlic are a good base. If you are snacking to deal with boredom, anxiety, frustration, make a list of other activities to hit that spot and save eating for when your body actually needs to be nourished.
Our neurological need for connection drives us to stay in contact with others, although not physically at the moment, it is essential we connect emotionally through our online portals to friends, family and professionals when required. Giving those within your house space when needed and taking five in another room to bring down the experience of emotional reactivity supports healthy relationships within the household. A quick shower, some push-ups and a few deep breaths regulate the body to return to the situation calm.
Focused neurological attention stimulates neural activity to build networks and promote resilience, reducing neural looping that perpetuates fear and anxiety. Use this time at home to acquire a new skill online or master a passion. Up skilling may also support options to reduce financial distress.
The next step, is what to do with this information
Establishing a plan to implement tangible steps in your current individual situation, while addressing fear, anxiety and overwhelm as well as many other individual and relational elements. You can do this by booking an online consultation with me to do this from the safety of your home.