#Close accordians

Top tips for Lockdown

Some “top tips” for helping ourselves improve our well being and mental health during Lockdown.

1. POWER OF TOUCH – Hug yourself!! Sounds daft I know, but it really can help. Find a quiet place, put some music on, or listen to a mediation (I recommend the Insight timer App – 75000 different mediations – mostly free – you just don’t subscribe when asked). Just sit quietly for 5/10 mins (longer if you have time) and slow your breathing down and just squeeze/hug yourself around your shoulders. It really can help. If you don’t like the sound of this then do the same but place your hands on your heart and tell yourself “it’s ok to not be ok”. Be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself up if you are having a bad day or don’t feel great. As yourself, if you feel bad about a certain situation/how you feel, what would you say to support a friend in this situation. So say that to yourself. Self compassion is so important at this time. None of us are perfect, nor she we expect ourselves to be, we are coping the best we can.

2. DIFFUSERS and BATHS – Smells can really help raise your mood. If you think about your favourite smells, a favourite flower, perfume/aftershave/shower gel etc. If you have a diffuser (preferably one that has water in it – not a burner) and add a few drops of your favourite smell in essential oil form (not the shower gels/perfumes etc). Everyone knows lavender as very relaxing/calming/helps with sleep. So this is a really good one to combine with the water. This is then diffused/released into the room you are in and when you inhale it, it reactions with the limbic system in your brain (the emotional part of your brain), which can invoke memories, but generally has a positive and calming effect on your body’s reaction to stress/anxiety.

Other oils, like Lemon, Lime, Orange – most citrus smells, as very uplifting. Think of your favourite smells, like rose, geranium, or heavier smells like patchouli, ylang ylang. You can buy some of these from chemists or a local health food shop, which are still open at the moment. Also putting these in baths, but you MUST dilute the oils in a carrier oil, like sweet almond oil (not if allergic to nuts), sunflower oil, grapeseed oil etc. You just need 5/6 drops in about a tablespoon of oil and mix well in the bath. DO NOT PUT NEAT ESSENTIAL OILS IN YOUR BATH. Obviously you have to been very careful not to slip in the bath after doing this.

3. GETTING OUT IN NATURE – As it’s one of the few things we can do at the moment getting out for a walk is so important.

There are many reasons for this that we know about. It’s great exercise, if you are meeting someone (at a social distance) it’s so important to connect with others, you get plenty of fresh air, and something you may not know about is you will see lots of FRACTALS!!!!

What are fractals I hear you say!? I will try and explain. Fractals are, put very simply, naturally occurring patterns. For example a snowflake, leaves on trees, sunflowers, any flowers, crystals – if you study them they are a perfectly formed pattern.A professor of physics, who has studies fractals, advises that studies have shown we can recover from stress 60% more quickly than otherwise after exposure to images containing fractals. Sorry if this is going a bit over the top, but I do love the science about why we feel better after going for a walk, whether it is on a beach, in a forest or anywhere we can see any form of nature. I will go even more “geeky” now and explain that our brains are hard wired to understand these patterns. When we do see them we get a spike in alpha-wave brain activity, which happens when we are in our “thrive” state. It activates the part of the brain that processes and regulates our emotions, so helps reduce anxiety or our body’s reaction to it.

4. IMPROVE OUR SLEEP – When we are stressed or anxious or perhaps overwhelmed it is very hard to get good quality sleep. So what can we do to help ourselves:

  • reduce caffeine – This is present in tea (green tea too) as well as coffee, and coke, as well as energy drinks. You need to check the labels! If you drink one cup of coffee 50% of the caffeine will be in your system 5/6 hours later. 25% will still be there 10-12 hours later. Whilst some people might think they are able to sleep ok after having coffee later in the day (say with tea or after tea), the quality of your sleep and deep sleep will be impaired. So you get in a vicious cycle, as you will wake up not feeling as refreshed and therefore reach for more cups of coffee to keep going through the day. So try not to have caffeine after midday, or a least start to cut down gradually. Replace a cup of coffee or tea with a herbal tea and build it up from there.
  • Don’t watch the news before bed, as how many positive stories are there in the news!! News is usually news as something bad has happened! We don’t want to be trying to sleep if we have just filled our head with negativity.
  • If you exercise try not to do it too late in the day. At least 3 hours before you go to bed. Otherwise your body will be still dealing with the fall out from your exercise and you won’t be able to fall asleep as easily.
  • Immerse yourself in a good book, not work related iff possible. You escape your worries for a little time before you go to sleep.
  • Avoid “blue light” for about 90 mins before going to bed if you can. So no TV, using your phone, laptop etc. This is a tricky one! You can dim your phones, which can help, or buy Blue/orange glasses which help block this sort of light, but basically it switches your brain on, rather than off, so prevents you falling to sleep and/or staying asleep and sleeping deeply.
  • Try not to eat too near bedtime. You are giving your body the wrong signals and giving it extra work to do just before you go to bed, so will impair you ability to sleep well.
  • There are many other things, like baths, meditation before sleep that can help also but the main ones are covered above.


5. EATING WELL – This sounds obvious and easy but during lockdown, if your mood is low or takes a dip at certain times of the day it is easy to reach for the wrong time of food. Food full of carbs, sugar, which give you that quick energy “kick” but then results in a energy dip that’s even bigger, so you then reach for some more! Try having heathy snacks prepared in the morning or the night before that you put in the fridge. For example, as handful of grapes, a few cut up strawberries, a handful of blueberries, celery or cucumber cut up, a few cherry tomatoes, some light crackers with humous dip. Reach for ones of these before the chocolate biscuits! Also another top tip is drink a glass of water about 20/30 before eating, then you will not each as much. Sometimes we are actually dehydrated and not hungry.

Make yourself a smoothie for lunch :- a quick one I use is:

  • 300 mls milk (what you prefer – I use almond milk)
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 a small avocado
  • 1/4 small pineapple – cubed
  • 1 tablespoon of cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of natural yogurt.

Whizz it all up in your blender. A lovely smoothie. You could make it earlier in the day and put in fridge and quickly whizz up again before eating (or if in work keep in fridge and then give it a good shake).

You can play around with the ingredients to see what works for you. Add some berries, or apple, or swap spinach for kale etc.

6. TAKE A BREAK AND JUST BREATHE – Do just that. If all you have is 5/10 mins then take yourself out of the stressful situation, or perhaps you just need a break from work, others, sit in a chair with your back upright and concentrate on slowing your breathing down. Perhaps try the 4,2,6,2 breathe. Which means breathe in slowly for 4 seconds, hold for 2 and breathe out for 6, and hold at the bottom for 2 seconds. You can then build up the numbers of seconds you breathe in and out. Always try and breathe out for a little longer than you breathe in. It will be hard at first, but the more you do it the easier it will get. Try it using the meditation app I suggested, as if you mind is prone to wander, then they have lots of guided meditations to help you stay on track.

7. BOOKS/PODCASTS – I recommend Dr Chatterjee’s books – there are about 4 now. The first one is “the 4 pillar plan”, then “the stress solution” (that has the information about fractals!), then “feel better in 5” and his latest is “Feel great lose weight” – not your typical diet book with lots of simple tips and help. I also recommend his podcasts – look up Dr Chatterjee and he has so many amazing guests talking about lots of different topics all relating to our well being and mental health. I also recommend Liz Earle well being. She has a website, a well being magazine and a podcast. She gives lots of brilliant tips, health, well being and beauty wise. She also discusses all things hormone and menopause related, for those of us at that age!!!

Anyway I hope you have found some of those tips helpful. I would be happy to hear of any suggestions you have too or things that are working for you. Please contact me (Debbie) via info@harmonyholisticswirral.co.uk

Blog Home page

If you have a comment about any of the blogs, please leave one via the comment form available by pressing here

Please note.
All comments are moderated before being uploaded against the relevant blog.
Your email address will not be published.