So, here we go again. Sort of.
Some of us cannot work, some of us can. The schools are open still, but our homes are shut. Seeing friends and family is strictly via Zoom again (unless you live on your own, thankfully!)

There’s no denying that this situation sucks.
One of my core values is freedom… I don’t feel very free right now.

I can still have freedom over how I FEEL!

I am happy. I choose to be, and this has transformed my life. I choose to take pleasure in the small moments of my days, with those I love, doing things I enjoy… I don’t need to travel the world for this (although I do still want to!)

I know there are many who are struggling. I still struggle too; I am not a relentless ball of positivity… and a global pandemic doesn’t help!

I do have optimism though. That optimism comes from a place within, the place that keeps me resilient, resilient towards my goals, of inspiring others to find their own happiness, calm, and confidence.

I have put practices in place, to reduce my own anxiety, as I intend to keep myself strong, to support those who need it most!

I’m not here to preach at you and tell you that you cannot feel stress or anxiety, but I am going to share with you what I do to myself more balanced and in a happier, healthier, place!

1. Switch off from (social) media

Switch off from all media. Check only what you need to; create practices to help you avoid the ‘mindless scroll’ and unfollow anything that increases your anxiety. The news is extremely negative. Limit the amount you watch/read – you do not need to go through it all, on repeat. The situation cannot be changed right now, but you can change what you focus on.

2. Exercise
It doesn’t have to be intense, although a getting your heart pumping faster does make you feel great! But, depending on your fitness level, any amount of activity will help. Not just physically but mentally too! I notice my mental health decline a lot quicker than my physical, if I take a break from exercise (usually due to being ‘too busy’, adding extra stress!)

3. Get outside
This is great to combine with 1. And 2. 
Take some time for yourself. Be mindful. Walking is a fantastic form of activity. Run if you feel inclined to!
Getting your body moving, allowing your mind to wander… really does work wonders!

4. Keep connected with your loved ones!
Feeling lonely? Pick up the phone! Someone says they are okay… Keep checking. Even those who seem the strongest may be struggling. And that’s okay. If you are the one struggling, reach out. Fight the shame and do not struggle alone. Together we are stronger! Be present for each other. Make time for your loved ones. Listen to them. Hear their problems and be there for them, even if you cannot physically. Keep close contact. Hug everyone you can! It may be limited now, so make the most of the hugs you can give!

5. Write it down
Get a journal. Practice gratitude, daily. It really does change the way we think! There is always something to be grateful for… have you got running water from your tap?
Feeling stressed/overwhelmed? Brain dump! Just write… get those thoughts and feelings out!

6. Get some music going!
Play your favourite songs, change your mood through music! Sing your heart out and dance like a child again. Have fun doing it, turn it into a party and you’re the DJ! Switching up your usual routine and doing something different can really help break the monotony and banish boredom. Dance is also a fantastic form of exercise, which often doesn’t even feel like it! If you enjoy it, you’re more likely to do it!
Or, relax. Put some calm music on. I use the timer on Spotify and it helps me get to sleep. Japanese music is my favourite at the moment.

7. Eat good food!
Eat foods you enjoy!
Bake your favourite cake, cook your family their favourite dinner… get them involved too! Create something new, turn it into a competition…

8. Nourish your body
Keep hydrated and keep a sleep routine. As well as eating a variety of fresh foods. Keep yourself healthy, you’ll feel good for it. Aim for a balance, find healthy foods you enjoy too! If you’ve got more time at home, now is the time to try new recipes!

9. Be Mindful
This can take many forms and there is no right or wrong.
Often it can begin with your breathing. Breathe deep and notice the sensations. Think about how your clothes feel on your skin, the temperature of the room, how you are sitting/standing. Perhaps meditate. Or practice yoga. Or enjoy a bath. Or that cake you baked. But pay extra attention. Appreciate the sensations, thoughts, feelings…It’s not nothingness (I made the mistake of thinking it was and that ‘I can’t do it!’)
10. Be kind to yourself
Don’t feel you need ‘to be productive’.
You don’t need to make sourdough, learn a new language, and redecorate your whole house… if you spend the whole day in your PJ’s, eating ice cream and listening to ABBA, then that’s okay. It got you through the day…
If you enjoyed it, even better!