During the extraordinary circumstances of lockdown it is normal for feelings such as frustration, irritability, anxiety, despondency etc. to pop up every once in a while. It might also be very challenging to manage these feelings in the limited space of your home when you might be surrounded by others 24/7 (or being completely alone with no one to talk to) and you can’t even escape to the shops/gym/restaurant to lift your mood a bit. With so much uncertainty and a lot of things out of our control in these unexpected times, it is important to focus on what we can control – and our mood is one of the things. In the previous post (COVID 19: Standing Strong) we see a person’s own strength/abilities as part of a triangle to help you cope, and the management of your own mood is crucial for your wellbeing. Whatever the reason, we all get in a bad mood sometimes. Here is the ABC as 3 easy steps to take control and manage your mood:
I have seen numerous jokes on social media regarding eating and sleeping through the 21 day lockdown. Getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle might be difficult during lockdown. Such as disruption in routine can easily have a negative impact on our eating and sleeping patterns. One way to fight this, is to try and stay active. Research has shown that exercise can have a positive effect on a person’s mood as it helps to increase endorphins (happy hormones) and can give a person a sense of accomplishment. Being stuck at home, this might require your to be a bit creative but technology and various YouTube videos can be very helpful – doing a Zumba /Yoga or silly dance video with the kids won’t just keep the kids busy and tire them out, it can also do wonders for your own mood.
Be honest and gentle with yourself
It is normal to feel a full range of emotions no matter how uncomfortable they might be. No-one can be positive and happy all the time, and pretending to be okay when you are really not will just put extra strain on you during an already stressful situation. Sometimes you just need to acknowledge what you are feelings without judging it, knowing that you are human and it is okay to sometimes not be okay. Luckily those feelings will also come to pass with time. Being honest about your feelings to yourself and to others will help you to manage it more effectively. If someone notices that something might be wrong, be honest about the space you are currently in and what your needs and limitations are.
Ever noticed how children can spend hours drawing/painting/building with clay or even sandcastles and the joy that comes with it? Working with your hands can be very pleasurable and help to take your mind of work stress or the chaos and bad news we are constantly flooded with in the media. We are constantly hearing about social distancing but getting some distance can also be good for your mood. Take a break from the news/social media/ the statistics of infections and even your own work stress by focusing on some creative energy. Deepak Chopra stated that “The best use of imagination is creativity. The worst use of imagination is anxiety”. How about taking matters into your own hands and putting your imagination to great use by tapping into your creative side and create something – whether it is a simple doodle, a cake, a painting or a collage from old magazines snippets lying around. The focus should not be on how fancy or good it is, but rather on just being in the moment and enjoying it.
These are just 3 easy steps that you can try and incorporate in your routine in order to help manage your mood but it is in no way a replacement for prescribed medication. Prescribed and ongoing treatment for a diagnosed disorder remains crucial.