Ness Islands, Inverness

2020 Coping Techniques

We cannot get away from it.  Every sentence seems to start with the words ‘In these unprecedented times …’ Whatever direction we turn, we are reminded that we are living with a global pandemic. It’s hard to keep up with the changing restrictions to our daily lives.  Clearly I’m no expert, I run a bed and breakfast but here’s a few of my suggestions for coping with the restrictions.  Above all please be kind to yourself and others.

Whether you’re stressed from over-work, lack of work, financial worries, suffering bereavement or health problems, we’re all troubled in some way at the moment. It’s important to acknowledge this is a world problem and everyone is struggling to find their way though it. It’s ok to eat too much, go to bed late and binge watch telly all day. On the days you are not doing that here’s my 2020 coping techniques.  

Rest

Make sleep a priority.  We’re all different but without regular sleep there’s a knock on affect to other aspects of life – energy levels, diet, mood and general health are affected. An occasional late night is fine, but mostly I try to go to bed about the same time and get up at roughly the same time every day. I don’t think it matters if you always go to bed late and get up late. It’s the same routine that helps, so your body is ready for sleep at its regular bed time.

Getting your brain to wind down is more challenging and I know lack of sleep is a chronic problem for many. If you can distract yourself from your worries it may help. A good book, a relaxing bath, watching a stand-up comedian or yoga/meditation exercises as part of your routine help.  Most of us know as well, even if we don’t follow this, it’s important to stop looking at mobile devices a couple of hour before you go to bed.

Food

We all know what we should and shouldn’t eat.  I start every day with the intention of eating a healthy balanced diet, at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables and plenty of water.  It doesn’t always happen though.  Too much time and lots of anxiety increases the trips to the kitchen.  I’ve come to realise though, that while we have very little control of what is happening around us, I can control what I eat and drink.  I miss going out for meals with friends and I miss having friends round for coffee after walking the dog.  But whilst we are not meeting with other households I’m not being tempted by a delicious dessert or another glass of wine.  Did I mention my arm is easily twisted?

Exercise and the Great Outdoors

Just like food, we know we need to move more for good health.  I’m fortunate to have a dog who drags me out for a walk every day, whatever the weather.  We’re lucky here to have a great choice of walks on our doorstep.  Even on the days we come back soaked by diagonal rain and bracing wind, covered in mud it feels good to get some fresh air and stretch my muscles.  The pandemic has also affected my weekly pilates course.  Fortunately technology saves the day and I still feel the benefit.  With the aid of Zoom and a yoga mat. my dining room, where I normally serve breakfast, is transformed into my pilates studio.

My garden also provides a source of exercise, as well as a source of peace and tranquillity.  It has never looked as good as it did this summer.

Social Media/News

Keep informed with reliable news services, but don’t overdo it.  

Indulge Yourself

Do whatever cheers you up.  Loose yourself in escapist novels or binge-watch your favourite programmes.  Treat yourself to new slippers – we’ve all been wearing them a lot – or a relaxing bubble bath.  Arrange a cocktail party with friends on Zoom.  Dig out your old CDs that you haven’t listened to in years and make a new playlist.  Start planning a holiday #dreamnowvisitlater.

For more on help on dealing with your mental health and wellbeing, there are many online sources of information such as the NHS.  My best tip, start planning your next trip to the Scottish Highlands, here’s our rates and availability.