Soul Souper’s Top tips for dealing with COVID 19
Soul Soup have been thinking of you guys out there! We realise feelings might be all over the place in this unpredictable time. We all process things at different times and in different ways
Whatever your experiences are, they are valid!
Soul Soup are still here to help. We have put out many ways to get in touch.
There are a number of practical steps that will help us all to look after our mental, emotional, and spiritual health during this time and, most importantly help us feel a bit more capable.
Try this for 5 mins https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmFUDkj1Aq0
If things are tough or our anxiety and worry levels are high, taking long, deep breaths – breathing slowly in for about 4 seconds, holding that breath for 2 seconds and breathing out as slowly as we can – has a real calming effect. This is because it causes our body’s defences to relax and lets our brain release endorphins, which are the natural chemicals that calm us down.
There are other benefits too. When we practice slow deep breathing it decreases stress, relieves pain, increases our energy, lowers our blood pressure, and improves our digestion. There are a range of ‘Apps’ that you may find useful meditations.
This is also easy for our children to do. Just have them cup their hands like they are a bowl of hot soup, breath in as much air as they can, and slowly blow on the “soup” to cool it down.
I know right exercise! I’m stuck at home I hear you say! But especially when self-isolating at home or feeling anxious it can really help to get our body moving if we are ok physically. It causes chemical changes in our brains that positively alter our mood. And the exercise we do really doesn’t have to be anything extreme. It could be doing repeats of stretches, lifting tins of food as if they are weights, or walking up and down the stairs at home for a set number of times. It helps:
• Reduce tension, stress, and frustration
• Increase our focus and mental alertness
• Improve our sleep
• Increase our energy
There are heaps of exercise videos – designed for beginners to Olympic athletes – on YouTube, which you can plug into! Plus, if you can go outside into the garden or onto a balcony – it’s amazing what a bit of fresh air and sunshine (ok its Scotland!!!) will do for us. Try this
One of the very best things we can do to take care of our mental health after making sure we’re ok is to help others. When we show compassion for others it effects our wellbeing in a good way as well. Connection can help us feel safe and help us to heal. So, try to find different ways to connect with others if though your isolated. Whether it’s making a call, sending a text, Joining a social network community, talking to Soul Soup, putting a note through a neighbour’s door, checking on others to see that they have everything they need including food – the best thing we can do is to reach out to each other. If we feel anxious about this. It is the simplest of things that make all the difference –
But remember to do them in ways that go along with the guidance we have been given around how to protect ourselves from the virus and the situation we are in.
Sometimes you need to go the other way and limit the amount of social media you expose yourself to – it doesn’t help to end up worrying about everyone else’s unprofessional opinions of the threat of COVID-19; or about anything else for that matter. The barrage of information, opinion, and 24/7 reporting might become overwhelming and mess with your head and anxiety levels! So, it makes sense to limit our ingestion of media, to keep it to a trusted source or two, and sometimes to switch off altogether.
Our bodies are amazing at keeping us safe without us even doing anything. We can focus to help regulate and calm our bodies’ Thinking of some of those occasions when we were stressed before and survived it. You have already done that before so you have that ability.
What are you grateful for – large or small. Gratitude helps us to focus on and celebrate our strength, and to find joy even in the most difficult situations. It might be just “I’m grateful my dog is here to cuddle”, “I’m grateful I have my PlayStation”, “ I’m grateful I like my own company” ………….. It’s the little things eh! Especially when the going is tough like this.
Play is something that we normally think of as the domain of children. But play is great for the wellbeing of adults too. When we play it connects us, adds joy to our lives, relieves stress, and helps us focus – which once again is down to the release of those endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Play also stimulates our creativity, helps us with problem-solving, and makes us more resistant to illness. Feel a game of poker/Patience coming on??? Oh or even by video link!!
There may be a book that you have been wanting to read for ages. Now is a great chance to do that. Reading is really good for us. It gets our brain working in a different way. It gives it a bit of a mental workout. It helps to improve our memory and reduces our feelings of stress and low mood. And when we read before bedtime it helps calm us down preparing us for a good night’s sleep. Looking at a screen or lit device messes with our melatonin has the opposite affect!
Writing down how you feel can also help us get our thoughts together. When we write it enables us to process our anxieties. Sometimes just seeing it in outside our head helps it to be looked at in a different way.
Listening to music can improve our mood. Just don’t go chasing the sad songs! Something light and fun. There’s nothing like a great tune for us to dance, or sing along to. Or you could get your kids to pretend to conduct the music and have fun with that. When we feel very anxious, higher frequency music can especially help us feel calmer. So, maybe have your favourite playlist at the ready. And even better ‘Dance like no-one is watching and sing like no-one is listening.’ 😊
Be positive if you can
WHO recommends to find opportunities to amplify the voices, positive stories and positive images of local people who have experienced the coronavirus and have recovered or who have supported a loved one through recovery and are willing to share their experience. You encourage groups to start this do this through social media.People could write about their strength in mant ways, songs , poetry, journals, stories, pod casts? Be creative!
focus on things you can control maintain your daily routine and normal activities: eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and doing things that you enjoy and so on.
“Hope itself is like a star – not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon