In only a few weeks, the ‘Rona has turned many of our lives upside down.

The upheaval of our daily routines has lead to feelings of grief, anxiety, fear, disbelief, boredom, frustration, loneliness and depression.  And while we’ve been focused on our hand hygiene and stocking the pantry, our mental health has fallen by the wayside.

Our daily habits provide the foundation for our mental health. And when our habits and routines are disrupted, our mental health will be impacted.

Here are the four pillars of mental wellness:

SLEEP

While it’s tempting to stay up late, sleep in or take daytime naps, our body and mind crave a regular sleep routine. 

Without adequate sleep, we will:

  • Lack energy
  • Lack motivation
  • Struggle to concentrate
  • Make poor decisions
  • Become impatient
  • Feel moody
  • Crave sugar

Try to go to sleep and wake up at a set time each day. If you have trouble with sleep, reduce your caffeine intake and limit screen time 1hour before bed.

If you have trouble sleeping, listen to this relaxing Yoga Nidra before bed or try this Evening Wind Down Yoga Practice.

FOOD

What we consume affects how we feel. And in times of stress, our body craves food/drink that’s going to cause an immediate dopamine hit to feel good. But after the instant gratification of sugar/caffeine/alcohol has passed, we’re often left with a residue of anxiety or lethargy.

The things we consume for instant gratification often lead to us feeling worse later on. Ask yourself if the immediate gratification is worth the residual hangover. Many people report feeling less anxious when there reduce their consumption of sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

It might sound easy to cut certain foods from our diet, but if we’ve been using these foods to soothe ourselves emotionally, it’s going to be much harder to reduce our intake. Awareness is the first step in any change, so noticing what foods we seek when we’re stressed or anxious is the first step. If we’re outsourcing our emotional wellbeing to food, then we need to find a better way of connecting with and soothing ourselves.

MOVEMENT

We know the physical benefits of moving our body, but regular exercise is a natural anti-depressant.

The challenge is that when we’re stressed, we don’t feel like moving. If we wait until you feel like doing exercise, we will never feel like it.

Exercise produces endorphins, hormones that make us feel good. This is why we feel better AFTER exercise rather than before.

Regular movement:

  • Boosts our mood
  • Improves our energy
  • Improves focus and clarity
  • Improves creativity
  • Improves sleep

Find a way of moving your body that feels good. Exercise isn’t a punishment for we ate; it’s the foundation of mental health.

Try our Online Yoga classes for some feel-good movement.

CONNECTION

Two types of connection are essential for mental health:

  • connection with others, and
  • connection with ourselves.

In times of stress, we often disconnect and live on our mental bubble. Connecting with others can help us feel more grounded, gives us perspective and a sense of belonging.

Connecting to ourselves can be a lot harder. With all the stress, disruption and uncertainty the Rona has brought us, many of us are feeling a bit lost and disconnected from ourselves.

Try taking some time each day to check in with yourself and how you’re feeling. Journal, meditate or quietly watch your breath and notice how you’re feeling emotionally and mentally. Sometimes we can be so busy taking care of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.

Try this gentle Yin Yoga class to slow down, breathe and connect with yourself.

Our mental health is built on routines, and when our daily routines are disrupted, our mental health can dive. These fours pillars of sleep, food, movement and connection will establish a solid foundation of mental wellness to not only cope with but bounce back from the Rona.

Keep calm,

Monica xx

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Art credit by Henn Kim