We’ve spent so many weeks accommodating our work, social lives and gyms, allowing them to take up a monumental amount of time and space in our homes, that it is likely we’ve stopped creating any time for ourselves to unwind and just breathe. When your desk is the same as your dining table and your dining room chair is your ‘barre’, it’s unsurprising to feel like the walls are closing in on you. Sure, being allowed to go outside more than once a day (and marinate in this phenomenal weather) is a great relief, but it may not be able to alleviate all of the anxiety you’re experiencing. With over two months of back to back zoom calls, FaceTime catch ups, daily workout classes, virtual dinners and staying on top of our bills, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve spent some time testing some fool proof anxiety-management tools, so that you can get a little daily respite.
1) Take a deep breath
If ever there was an opportune time to take up meditation, it would be right now. Whether or not you’re a fan of the idea, breathing meditations do absolute wonders and, let’s be honest, what’s the harm in sitting comfortably for 10 minutes and focusing on your breath? Whether it’s guided or a self practice, make sure you’re distraction free and in a clean and tranquil space. If you want a little more direction, try using an app (we like Calm and The Breathing App) or check out some of the amazing breath work practitioners (we love Richie Bostock aka The Breath Guy) who are currently offering live classes over Instagram.
2) Shake it out
We know, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: move your body. Every. Single. Day. Not only does it skyrocket your endorphins (we all could do with a supersize serving) but it can also lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates your appetite in the short term, and raises leptin – the hormone that suppress your appetite. Working out is also an amazing to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which means better sleep, better digestion and less stress. Our go tos? Psycle London is our one-stop shop for our daily sweats.
3) Get your greens
For once, we’re not talking about a juice. Try and surround yourself with some good old fashioned flora and fauna. Whether it’s walking through the park or investing in some serious potted plants for your balcony (who knows, you may discover a serious gift for horticulture), getting yourself in front of, or in contact with, nature can have profound effects on your mood and even boost your immunity.
4) Diffuse the situation
Nope, not an argument. One of the best ways to find constant calm is to invest in some relaxing aromatherapy oils and reed diffusers and place them around your home. Whether it’s a mixture of different oils or sticking with one staple, smells alone can reduce heart rate, blood pressure and stress. Lavender is one of the most common essential oils for relaxation so we like to take it the extra mile and spray a little on our pillows at night for a deep, uninterrupted sleep.
5) Get crafty
When was the last time you made something that wasn’t food? Take it from toddlers, getting your hands stuck into an arts and crafts project can do a world of good. Whether it’s making cushions, pottery or investing in a watercolour set, the mental health benefits of committing your time to creative projects are vast. Suddenly the rooms and objects around your home become a source of inspiration (maybe your fruit bowl just became your still life subject, or maybe your bed could really do with a hand-knitted throw) and you get your creative juices flowing.
6) Talk it out
We’ve become worryingly good at ‘keeping calm and carrying on’, often at the expense of talking about the thing (or things) that might have derailed our calm in the first place. There is nothing more important than communicating how you are feeling, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Experience those emotions in real time – open up to a friend, family member, partner or therapist and talk through the emotional rollercoaster that you are going through. Disclaimer – most people are going through it in some capacity. If you are someone who likes to be a little more self-analytical, invest in a journal and start to pen your feelings daily.