As countries around the world go into lock down states, and we all wait on the edge of our seats for the President's next address on the coronavirus pandemic, it's crucial that we stay calm and take note of our mental health, and well being.
In an effort to help our readers, we're talking to experts and gathering tips and advice to help families through these trying times.
"I have been having a lot of conversations about how to say focused, calm and balanced during this time," Rowe told Parent24.
"Choosing to make your and your families emotional and mental well-being currently is so important. I believe to do this to the best of our ability; we need to know a little bit about how our nervous systems work," she explained.
A regulated nervous system
Keeping a regulated nervous system is key in supporting us to find moments of calm and rest, Rowe says.
What does this mean?
Our autonomic nervous system responds to threat and danger initially without our conscious input, and we move into a mobilised or flight or fight state.
What normally happens is that when the danger has passed, we are able to come back into a calm state. In the situation we are currently in the danger is ever present and ongoing, so we need to take extra care and time to find ways to help our nervous system find moments of calm.
If we don’t, we may get stuck in a survival mode, on hyper-alert. What can happen when we are in this survival state is that often we do not make the healthiest, useful and caring decisions.
It becomes all about our survival and our ability to find empathy, care and connection with others can be greatly affected.
Staying in this state over time can impact on our immune systems, lower our energy levels and in its extreme result in a sense of hopelessness.
This is a very simplified explanation and I hope it gives you some idea of the importance of taking good care of yourself right now.
Here are some ways in which you can reduce stress and regulate your nervous system.
The more you practice doing things which help you to find regulation; the easier it is going to be to stay out of big emotional stress and find more balance. This is key if we are going to be in this situation long term.
The most important this is to keep it simple. Choose one thing to do every day. Start small, do one thing and then build from there.
Sleep is one of the things which gets affected when we are feeling big feelings and a lot of stress. And sleep, especially napping is great as a nervous system reset. If you are not sleeping well, try to incorporate things into your day which help to reduce the stress or anxiety you may be feeling.
A great way to burn through the stress hormones which many of us will be feeling. Make time every day to move in some way. Fresh air and sunshine – Get outside. Into your garden go for a walk.
Wherever you can connect with nature, in a way which is safe for you and those around you.
Limit time on social media
Be selective on what you follow and what information you read. It can be a slippery slope once you start to scroll through all the information out there. Be discerning.
Find small things to be grateful for every day.
Create a new routine. Even if this is committing to doing one thing the same each day, like going for a walk or a check in with someone.
Spend time reflecting on what is going on for you. Stay connected to what is happening inside of you. Find ways to express what you are feeling, like journaling. Name and acknowledge what you are feeling.
Stay connected with yourself and the people you care about. I highly recommend doing emotional check-in’s once a day. This may also be staying connected to goodness and offering support where you can and feel able to.
Ask for help
When you are struggling, reach out and ask for help and support. We are all in this together. We have created a place where you can check in daily, find useful tools and practices to help you to find emotional balance in these turbulent and uncertain times.
At the moment there is a lot of support out there which people are offering for free. This can be overwhelming, so Rowe has has compiled the best free resources she can find to make it easy for you to find things which are supportive for you.
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