Last updated on January 19, 2021
I was featured in this piece for Metro last week and thought I’d share some additional ideas here:
I love the word. Doomscrolling. It somehow takes the heat out of the activity of getting completely sucked into horror after horror, outrage after outrage.
When you catch yourself doomscrolling, remind yourself that you have a choice.
Being more intentional about who you choose to follow on Instagram and other platforms will help you make it work for you.
Stepping away from devices completely (whether for half an hour, a full day or longer) is also a great reminder that these platforms aren’t as essential as we sometimes think they are.
Create a self care tool kit that works for you. You might find these ideas helpful or they may spark ideas that will resonate more for YOU:
This can be as simple as taking a minute – just 60 seconds – and using it as an opportunity for mindfulness.
This – with practice – also rewires the brain but in healthier ways which support better mental health, executive functioning (from decision making and regulating emotions to concentration and clarity) and even mood.
I share Your Daily Mindful Minute videos on IGTV (@evemenezescunningham)
You don’t need me or an app to simply pause, notice your breath and use all your senses to come into the present moment.
By starting with a minute, you’re likely to build on it and before you know it, you’ll have a meditation habit which helps you make better choices as well as feeling good.
Yoga is wonderful because we can all do it at home. (For the record, I can’t do THIS.) It doesn’t take much space and even if you don’t have room for a yoga mat, it can be adapted.
When I lived in my attic studio flat in Hendon, north London (when I first started practicing yoga for pain relief back in 2001), I’d use the futon for the supine poses and stand on the floor between the bed and the door – no room for a mat, even – for the standing ones.
We sometimes overcomplicate things thinking we need more than we actually DO need.
You might like live online classes (check out @YogaWise with Emma Turnbull) or YouTube videos.
Maybe you have a selection of sequences you follow yourself.
Personally, I mix it up. Some mornings, I might do just one or two poses.
Others involve a longer practice (which REALLY sets me up for the day) or I might set aside some time for a sleep inducing yoga practice before bed.
Check out Lisa Sanfilippo’s Sleep Recovery (Bloomsbury, 2020) for ideas.
3) Daily walk
I’m so lucky being able to see Croagh Patrick mountain from my front doorstep.
Even so, it’s often a struggle to drag myself into walking boots, high vis coat etc.
But by the time I’m on the driveway let alone lane, my mood has improved and my usual 4km stroll is pretty effortless.
The benefits of walking are well documented and it’s especially important as we deal with Lockdown 3 that we keep our spirits up.
In his book, In Praise of Walking (Vintage, 2019), Shane O’Mara explores benefits including reversing the aging of our brains, protecting and repairing organs, thinking more creatively, boosting mood and lowering stress levels.
I love the different perspectives walking offers whether in the countryside or city, night or day.
There’s always something to see and appreciate.
4) Make the most of your local landscape
Some swear by daily sea swims even in winter.
I adore the sea and am managing weekly swims (under a minute even in full wetsuit the other day. Still. Magic) and they set me up for the whole week ahead.
You might want to paddle (imagining all the stresses and strains being washed away, taken into the ocean for recycling) or simply walk along the shore, or river, or in the woods or park or whatever nature you have accessible.
It might even be bringing out a hot drink into your garden for a few minutes.
5) Enjoy being HOME
Personally, I found my first attempts at baking from scratch in Lockdown 1 more challenging than my winter sea swims – with any kind of self care, the key is finding what feels good for YOU.
Still, there’s something so satisfying about eating something delicious that you’ve baked.
Similarly, setting aside even a small amount of time each day or week to make some progress on household and garden chores, getting organised and prepared, can feel – especially in a chaotic world – like wonderful self care.
And, of course, there are the obvious self care indulgences like bubble baths, allowing yourself time to read, a lie in… make your own list and schedule things into your diary so you give yourself the daily self care boosts that help YOU most.