I think it’s fair to say, there’s a strange vibe hanging over us here in Melbourne, a deep frustration and anger with flashes of sadness as we move to level 4 ‘state of disaster’, mandatory masks and curfews, and even tighter restrictions than we’ve experienced so far throughout this pandemic. Things seem tougher this time round and people are visibly anxious and despondent – a sense of isolation rather than connection accompanied by feelings that this will never end.
Please remember, it’s okay to feel how you feel – ups and downs are all part of the experience albeit be kind and gentle to yourself. There is no ‘ideal’ way to feel or manage the next six weeks.
Last week, I facilitated a resilience and wellbeing workshop with 20 people and a key focus of our discussion was how important it is to go outside at least once a day. Many explained how they sit at their desks all day, feeling pressure to be ‘on’ and productive all the time. Hence, they grab a quick lunch and don’t take essential breaks, which over time wreaks havoc both physically and mentally.
With increased worry and tension from protecting against the novel coronavirus and drastic changes to everyday life and financial uncertainty, right now spending time outside provides a welcome relief from stress. Studies show that just 20-minutes per day outside in nature can lower stress hormone levels, boost self-esteem, and improve mood. There are several physical responses we have by being in nature. When we are outside our body slows down, helping us feel calm and at peace and our minds work in a similar way: spending time outside improves our mood and focus, reduces feelings of anxiety and the improved concentration can help us to better manage feelings of stress and anxiety.
If there’s one thing we all need during this lockdown, it is to get outside as often as possible. Humans are hardwired to nature and research shows spending time outdoors is healing for the mind and the body. So, over the next few weeks try to find a quiet space outside and if possible, take off your shoes and walk barefoot on the grass. This simple yet effective grounding technique can really help reduce stress and anxiety and allows you to directly connect to Mother Earth.
Stay safe and remember to be kind to your body and mind.
Until next time,