Understanding stress

Some of us get along fine with our own company, others feel isolated and lonely, and the last couple of years have exacerbated those feelings. For a person looking for a relationship, finding new connections or missing meeting up with friends is a challenge that can feel difficult to manage. Even though restrictions change all the time, we have had to get used to the fluctuation the ups and downs of modern life post Covid and all that entails.

Managing isolation

Recently someone in one of our training sessions said that being alone has caused “a rollercoaster of emotions” and that they felt they could go from feeling positive in the morning to feeling defeated by the evening. It’s important to remember that this is normal – it’s hard making plans when we live in times of uncertainty. When you can get out and about more, reconnecting with people comes with its own challenges. Sometimes seeing people in person after a long time can be anxiety-provoking. Do this in your own time and don’t feel bad for having conflicted feelings about it. Over time you will adapt and it will feel more natural. It might even feel the same for the other person, so try talking about it.

Recognising and supporting your own state of mental health

When you are on your own, you become self-reliant. You are probably doing an amazing job of being independant and self-sufficient even if it doesn’t feel like it at times. It’s useful to think of what you can do to support yourself and see this as a network of positive actions that you use to keep yourself balanced.

Keeping a note of your mood and not letting it slip below a certain threshold before you get support is one way. You might do this by journaling or using an online mood tracker. Looking back over a diary or an app can help you to detect your emotions. Then you can take next steps about improving your reactions.

Talking to others by nurturing and creating friendships is also important. Look at joining online or outdoor activity groups, book clubs or fan clubs with likeminded people. This will bring your interests alive.

Support groups or counseling can help if you are feeling down. Make time to get some support for yourself. A call to the GP can get you linked up with counselling and support groups that can help you deal with a host of mental health conditions.

Whatever you do, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to friends, online support or get professional advice if you need it.

Keep active – This is hard to do on your own, but you could think about joining an activity group or you can look at online exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own space. Even a few stretches is better than nothing. Activities like gardening and walking the dog are great ways of keeping moving.

Think about getting a pet – Pets don’t just make good companions, they help relieve stress too. If you have a pet, take some time in your day to put everything aside and play with your pet, this will help you bond, alleviates stress, and can become a mindful activity.

Grow plants and fill your living space with light – Get your windows open, clear the window ledges, and give your windows a clean. Try and get your morning coffee in a spot where there’s some morning sun. If you feel your mood suffers during the winter, invest in a mood light.

Doing a creative hobby is both self-supporting and relaxing. It doesn’t have to be about how good you are at it, the active participation in something like knitting or DIY is enough to keep you busy and focused on something outside of your head.

Support resources

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