It is quite a challenge. Staying at home as much as possible, keeping a distance of 1,5 meters, most of the Universities closed and having to work online all of a sudden. I could easily add more items to this list of challenges.
What to do when you feel down?
Everybody probably has specific ideas on what might help them. I would like to give you some suggestions too. First question: what is it that makes you feel down. Is it mentally, emotionally, or physically?
Depending on the answer, you might be able to take a small step in the right direction. And a small step is all you need. After taking that step, you can observe how you are feeling and decide if you need more steps.
Plan time for the activities that will help you
It is definitely a good idea to reserve time in your daily schedule for activities that make you feel better. Do you know which activities will actually help you? Make a list. What can you do for your mental, emotional, and physical health?
An exercise for the morning
If you feel overwhelmed by everything that is happening at the moment, it might help you to start the day by answering these four questions. Writing them down will help you to make them more tangible.
- How do I want to feel today?
- Who do I want to be today?
- What would I like to receive today?
- What do I want to give today?
Another way to start your day is to use the morning pages, as described by Julia Cameron. Have a little notebook next to your bed and as soon as you wake up, start writing 3 pages in it. Release everything that is in your head.
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, a stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–they are not high art. They are not even “writing”. They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritise and synchronise the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.
Morning pages is also called meditation on paper. The advantages of meditation are well known. So, taking time every day to meditate is also a great option.
Ideas for in the daytime
Have you thought about how to spend your day? How much time do you reserve for what? A daily routine will definitely help you.
Do a breathing exercise
Breathing exercises have a great calming effect on you, your body and your head. On this website you will find lots of information on how to do it.
Of course, exercise is also a great method to release stress. Some tips for you to keep moving.
An exercise for in the evening
At the end of your day, reflect on the day and think of 5 things that made you feel grateful. It can be small and simple, like a lovely cup of coffee, enjoying the sunshine, or the smile of a loved one via video calling. Take your time and let all these feelings of gratitude do their work.
How does gratitude work? The moment you feel grateful, cortisol levels will rise, which will result in a relaxed feeling. And that will trigger a chain reaction: hormones start to balance out, blood pressure lowers, heartbeat calms down, which has an influence on your breathing; more oxygen will enter your body, great for your organs and great for your immune system.
Luckily this all happens automatically, the more reason to feel grateful!
In case you would like to find out more, have a look at the work of Professor Robert Emmons, psychologist.
And don’t forget: we all have good and not-so-good days. Even during times of crisis. It is all okay.