You’re not that happy but you’re pretty sure you’re not depressed. You’re lacking motivation yet there’s nothing physically wrong with you. You count your blessings daily yet the benefits of your practice appear to be dwindling. You have an underlying feeling of emptiness inside you as you smile through your teeth instead of with your heart. Maybe you’re a front line worker who is burned out or a dancer who is mentally exhausted or you may have had the personal experience of having had Covid-19. Or, perhaps you’ve had to face the illness and/or passing of someone close to you due to the disease. A statewide lockdown in itself and being separated from friends and family for long periods can wreak havoc on our mental health. No matter the reason, anyone going through this global pandemic may find they have anxiety, depression, or post traumatic stress afterwards.
So how do we cope? How do we not just survive the pandemic but come out of it still standing?
PUT A NAME ON IT
The New York Times recently released an article about this feeling – not happy, not sad, but just a bit ‘blah’ – coined languishing. “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.” Psychologists have found that one of the best strategies for managing emotions is to name them. So instead of telling yourself each day ‘I’m great’, ‘I’m happy’, say you’re languishing.
Talking to people you trust can help. Keep in regular contact with people close to you. Tell them how you are feeling and share any concerns. It not only aids in the realisation that others are sharing similar feelings but helping be there for others can assist in bettering our very own mental health.
The benefits of daily movement in absence of a pandemic is a lengthy list, but during one is even greater! If you can’t muster the energy for a full blown home workout, try a brisk walk or a short mobility sequence. We recommend the 10 minute morning mobility routine on Train Like a Ballerina (https://trainlikeaballerina.com).
MEDITATE & CHECK IN
If you’re struggling like myself to ace meditation, just take ten minutes. Ten minutes out of your day to sit and be present. No phone, no television, just you and your thoughts. Use this time to check in on how your body is feeling and how you’re speaking to yourself. Some find it beneficial to journal their feelings, others voice them. Whichever way works for you, a daily check-in with yourself and your emotions has incredible benefits.
Have you ever demolished an entire KFC bucket and haven’t felt great the next day? I could harp on about the relationship of nutrition and mood but sometimes you just need to feel it yourself. It’s much easier than we think to get stuck in a nutrient-lacking-lockdown diet. Remind yourself now more than ever, the importance of a well balanced food and liquid intake. Nutrient dense foods don’t just contribute to your overall health but your mood too.
MAINTAIN A NORMAL ROUTINE
‘Today marks the 234th day I haven’t put on pants.’Zoom meetings with pajama bottoms or online training with sweats, no shower and no make-up. It’s easy to get pirouette swept up in the feeling of comfort, but maintaining a normal routine that involves getting out of your jim jams and putting on pants will have a gloriously positive cascade effect on your entire day. Try not just waking up at the same time but going to bed at a reasonable hour too.
Finally recognise when you need more help. Know it’s always okay to ask for help whatever your situation is. Reach out to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counsellor. What the world needs is you to be YOU and if you’re not feeling yourself, talk to someone about it. You’ll never know how much others can help until you let them.
By Louisa Paterson || https://www.instagram.com/louisapaterson_/