In the time of a global pandemic and a revolution, don’t forget to take care of yourself.
The last few weeks have been full of emotion. Young people in the UK have spent weeks feeling afflicted with the lock-down and coronavirus. Then the movement Black Lives Matter resurfaced as the largest civil rights movement in world history. This has meant that many have understandably prioritised activism over mental health.
Constant news updates, rightful outrage on social media and anxiety about the future is enough to give most people immense lethargy.
The world is changing before our eyes and it can be a lot for our minds to process. Reports have shown that coming out of lockdown we will see a large spike in anxiety, especially amongst young people. However, anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed can – for the most part – be dealt with effectively with the right tools such as ‘Spoke’, a mindfulness meditation platform that uses alternative sounds such as rap lyricism to promote healthy mental wellbeing.
Right now it’s crucial to look after yourself. Self-care isn’t selfish or indulgent, it’s what gives us the positivity, strength and resilience to be our best selves.
Here are five tips for relieving anxiety and building self-care into your daily habits:
1. Become aware of your senses
Humans are sensory creatures, the way we process information is through our sight, smell, touch, hearing, taste and sensations in our body. A great method of relieving anxiety is becoming aware of what your senses are telling you. Try doing a body scan where you close your eyes and scan each body part for sensations. You might be surprised by what you discover. For example, a lot of people hold tension in their shoulders, jaw or forehead without realising.
By taking some time to notice your sensations, you’re actively practising mindfulness. This process of noticing the sensations rather than accepting them as they are is the first step in understanding your emotional state.
2. The sensations in our body are usually as a result of our emotions
Are you feeling exhausted, scared, angry, ashamed or frustrated? Try to consider what specific emotions you are feeling and what the root of that feeling might be.
It might take some time meditating on; maybe go for a walk or give yourself 30 minutes to lie with some of your favourite relaxing music. ‘Spoke’ are providing FREE live music sessions every day on their Instagram live @spoke.world as part of their #SpokeMyMind campaign between 8th June to 3rd July that are designed to help you relieve stress. They will be soon releasing an app so you can listen to these melodies anytime of the day.
Once you’ve worked out what the root of your anxieties or stresses are, the process of eliminating them becomes a lot easier. Sometimes the root of our anxiety is actually a lot smaller than what we anticipated, and sometimes the root is a very large problem. Consider whether the problem is in your personal control and if so what actions you could take to alleviate the problem. If it isn’t, try to indulge in some hobbies to divert negative thinking.
3. Consider what responsibilities you’ve put on yourself and whether they can wait?
Much of our anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed comes from the pressure we put on ourselves. Consider is there anything you can take off your plate? Or if not, what is the worst that will happen if you take a day or two away from thinking about these responsibilities?
At the moment many people feel passionate to be a catalyst for positive change in the world, which is great. However ‘Activism Burnout’ is a real issue that affects many of us, usually without even realising. Burnout is an overall lack of motivation, lack of interest in activities you might usually enjoy and feelings of hopelessness.
This calls for even more self-care; consider that the happier you feel, the better you’ll be able to help those around you. Try to actively do activities that take your mind off of your responsibilities and current affairs, such as reading, watching a film or creating something.
4. Evoke your sense of ‘awe’
As humans, we are naturally meant to be in nature, to feel the air on our face, the grass beneath our feet and contemplate the deep complexity of this earth. It’s no coincidence that the most relaxing sounds and sights are that of nature.
Nature, as well as evocative art, presents a feeling of ‘awe’, which is a feeling of something greater than oneself. This sensation allows us to unlock a state of calmness. Immersing in nature whether it be watching animals or listening to nature compositions are ways to evoke this sense of ‘awe’ and thus feel peace.
Evoking this sense is a highly effective way to relieve feelings of anxiety and depression, and spark your natural curiosity.
5. Lastly, plan things you enjoy!
It’s so important to have things to look forward to, so ensure you prioritise things that make you feel good. Maybe it’s catching up properly with some good friends or planning a sports game.
Whatever it is you enjoy, ensure you do it often. Life will always have its ups and downs, but ultimately, we’re here to make the most of it and enjoy the journey. Happiness is highly infectious, so by working on your own, you’re also giving the gift of happiness to many others!
If you would like to find out more about ‘Spoke’, a platform that promotes positive mental wellbeing through music and advocates access to meditation for all, you can follow them on Instagram @spoke.world or you can sign up at SPOKE.WORLD to be the first to hear when they launch their new app.
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