The phrase “filling your cup” is based on the concept of treating your mental health and wellbeing as a ‘cup’ which needs to be regularly replenished in order for you to face life’s challenges. If you’re currently living under lockdown or Tiered restrictions, some of the things you once did to fill your cup may not be possible right now. Here are some things you can do during lockdown to help prepare you for whatever life may throw your way.
- Revisit a comfort read
If you’re here, you’re probably a reader and re-reading an old favourite is one of the most comforting things you can do for yourself during lockdown. You don’t need to concentrate too hard since you’re already familiar with the story and you can enjoy your favourite scenes all over again. Why not try consuming a beloved book in a different format to give yourself a fresh experience?
- Take a deep breath
We all know that breathing is vital to life but you may not know how closely breathing is linked to our level of anxiety. When we feel stressed, our breathing becomes quicker and shallower. Taking a deep breath sends a signal to your body to calm down. Here’s a simple exercise you can try – breathe in deeply through your nose then out through your mouth counting up to 5 as you inhale and back down to 1 as you exhale. Repeat this for 3 to 5 minutes until you feel calmer.
- Nourish your body with good food
A healthy body leads to a healthy mind with gut health considered to be particularly important. Try adding fruits, vegetables and wholegrains, beans, pulses, live yoghurt and other probiotics to your diet all of which are good for your gut.
Resting sounds simple but it can be hard to do when your mind is racing. If you’re struggling to switch off, try listening to some white noise or nature sounds to distract your mind so your body can get the rest it needs to repair itself.
- Take a long bath or shower
When a tense body enters a warm bath or shower, the hot water increases the body temperature and relaxes the muscles. Relaxing the muscles not only soothes you physically but also mentally. Why not add a bath or shower bomb and candles to make it a truly pampering experience?
- Binge on a box set
Sometimes you just want to sit back and be swept away by an engrossing story. For a small monthly subscription fee you can download whole seasons of a show, snuggle up and lose yourself in a gripping drama for hours at a time.
- Try an at-home workout
Exercise releases endorphins which benefits your wellbeing and keeps your heart healthy too. You can access free workouts online many of which don’t require any special equipment. There’s a workout to suit all abilities and, with it being online, you can always pause if you need a break or slow down if you want to go at your own pace.
- Put your thoughts and feelings on paper
Writing down how you feel can help you better understand and manage your emotions. This doesn’t need to be pages and pages of journal entries, even a few words noted down each day can help you identify any negative patterns in your thinking that need closer attention.
- Reach out to your network
If anything good has come out of lockdown it’s that it has made us appreciate our friends and family more than ever. Thankfully, technology has made it easier for us to reach out to the people most important to us. Video calls allow us to see our loved ones and, until we can be together in person again, gives us the social contact we need to stay connected.
- Practise mindfulness
Mindfulness is all about consciously making an effort to be fully present. We can all too often become overwhelmed by what might happen or obsess over mistakes we made in the past but, when we do this, we fail to savour the moment we are living in. Taking each second as it comes doesn’t mean never planning for the future but it does mean not allowing things outside of your control to stop you from enjoying the present.
Written by Rachel Matthews