Dr Katie Kalinowski is Orri’s Clinical Psychologist. As we enter our second lockdown, here are her 3 tips for keeping recovery on track.
Regular acts of self-care
It sounds obvious, right? But self-care really is what keeps us feeling grounded and in a working relationship with our emotions, where we listen and respond to our needs.
Some of us may notice a sense of hopelessness as we mentally prepare for a shift in routine and how we engage with our support network. This hopelessness may make it harder to go the extra mile to care for ourselves. But sometimes the hardest and most “alien” thing to do for ourselves in the moment is in fact the most important thing we need to do.
“…you are allowed to look after your wellbeing even if it doesn’t feel like you’re earning it.”
For those who struggle with self-care, recognise that you are allowed to look after your wellbeing even if it doesn’t feel like you’re earning it. A big part of this is remembering to eat enough, even when you perhaps feel like you’re doing less. This is an opportunity to really challenge the eating disorder and all the small ways it may try to sabotage recovery in turbulent times.
Through acts of self-care we can make friends with uncomfortable emotions, recognising that all emotions give colour to life, and that it is not the experience of them that’s important, rather, it’s how we respond to them. A nice way to think of it is invite your emotions in as if you’re welcoming them.
There is no “right way” to deal with lockdown, but one really important thing is to stay connected with our loved ones and support network. Whilst we may feel physically distant, we can reframe our experience and recognise that this is an opportunity to find novel ways to connect.
“Our platforms may give the impression of connectedness, but don’t neglect true connection.”
It’s also important to be mindful of our relationship to social media. Our platforms may give the impression of connectedness, but don’t neglect true connection through phone/videos calls and, of course, therapy sessions.
Monitor where you’re putting your energy – perhaps certain platforms or profiles take more than give. Right now your priority should be to foster helpful energy that keeps you feeling resilience, courageous and grounded.
Create a new routine
Our recent blog post goes into more detail on routines, but here are some key things to highlight:
- Lockdown is plagued with uncertainty and many people may feel uncomfortably “awakened” by the experience of uncertainty. Routine provides us with a sense of certainty in our day
- Write a list of things you want to prioritise, but focus on small, simple things that are about enjoyment
- Remember that resting is not a shameful act. Rather, it is how we truly heal, restore, recharge and realign
- Allow for flexibility and start your day “from the inside out”, i.e. as soon as you wake up in the morning instead of allowing yourself to be influenced immediately by the external world (e.g. through the news or social media), check in with yourself and how you’re doing on the inside
- Incorporate gentle movement and stretching, combined with breathing. In a recent blog post we spoke about how our bodies deal with stress and one of the things we identified was the important of the breath. Our breathing is the one part of the autonomic nervous system (so-called because it’s automatic) that we can control – use it
- If possible, write a gratitude list every day. As Brene Brown said “gratitude creates joy, not the other way around”. Your list can be as long or as short as you like and could be as little as “I’m grateful for the fresh, cool breeze”