Here are some of the best tips to cope with stress during the lock-down and COVID-19 pandemic. This second confinement is different from the first because of the seasonality, so let’s din in the matter for some tips on how to better overcome it. The light is dim, temperatures are dropping and the end of year celebrations are having aquestion mark as making plans is hardly possible.
Regardless its effects, there are lessons to be learned from the first confinement for everyone. There are three things you can do to prevent the effects of confinement on mental health, according to philosopher Nicolas Frank. First, keep a structured pace. “Partitioning working time, meals, time to take care of children, to rest, to have fun: some have shifted everything during the first confinement, to working at night, which had consequences such as fatigue, gaining weight, and even burnout.” As for Dr Claire Lewandowski, psychiatristand addiction therapist, it is clear: “Even for those who do not work, there is a certain routine to be followed: for example, avoiding spending the day in pyjamas on the sofa and on social networks!”
Followed by keeping social contacts. This is bound to be easier for people confined to several people, but you have tomake the effort to call or even send simple messages,available especially for single people.
Finally, setting a goal of containment. “This is something, in line with my desires, that I build or achieve during confinement in order to transform it into something positive,” advises Nicolas Franck. Writing a novel, challenging oneself in sports, painting: your imagination (and equipment of course) are the only limit.
How to best live this reconfinement?
It is not enough for everyone to be positive about the period as much as possible. Whether it is a simple winter blues or one feeling vulnerable in the face of this new period of isolation, we have to be careful.
To spot the warning signs, the first solution is to “stay alert to yourself” according to Nicolas Franck. We are the first to notice fatigue and irritability in us.
We must also listen to our desires. To overcome stress and isolation, it is recommended, for example, to introduce new practices and activities. Such as simple and fast breathing exercises.
And then, “why not try meditation, sophrology or self-hypnosis for example, or physical exercises like yoga or stretching,” suggests Claire Lewandowski. In general, it’simportant to try adopting a good lifestyle that reduces stress and improves morale by limiting exciting products such as coffee, tea or sugar, but also the consumption of alcohol or tobacco which may increase. It is also a good idea to take advantage of the daily outing time to expose yourself to daylight.
And sometimes that is not enough. It is necessary to support the most vulnerable people, and for that, “to be able to identify them and to make them trust that they are fragile and that they can ask for help”.
It is therefore necessary “to remain empathetic, to listen to others, to refocus on the needs of the other so that they feel understood”, explains Nicolas Franck. We must free the floor to destigmatize these people who experience confinement particularly badly. Pointing out to them in relation to theirbehavioural change is also important.
Only, “everyone can raise awareness but not everyone can help.” Support from a professional may be necessary.
An exercise to release your emotions
Pauline Odin, clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and sophrologist offers this practical exercise:
Mai-Lan Ripoche, certified coach in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), imagined this exercise to express our anger without damage to ourselves or to others, in 4 steps, through writing. We take a situation that irritates us and then we write down in this order: 1) the thought that is at the origin of our anger (“he shouldn’t talk to me like that”); 2) the need that is not being met in this situation (“I need consideration and respect”); 3) what it feels like when this need is not nourished (“behind my anger, there is sadness”); 4) a request formulated to oneself: can I do something to feed my unmet need myself? If so, what? Otherwise I make a concrete and realistic request to the other, without it being a demand – he / she has the right to refuse it. But at least the discussion will be open.
How to use floating therapy to get rid of Lockdown stress
Floating therapy is a relaxation technique that consists inletting yourself float inside a sensory isolation chamber. This is filled with salt water and heated to around 36 ° C. This temperature allows the body to retain its heat without the slightest muscular effort. In addition, being carried away by the water allows the whole body to completely relax, which is different from lying on a bed. No pressure is exerted on the body, thus facilitating blood circulation. Inside the buoyancy chamber, the trigger is deeper because the person in it can stay in this position for hours.
The first sensory relaxation boxes were created by Dr. John C. Lilly who in 1954 wanted to explore consciousness by depriving the body of all physical sensation. This position and temperature of the water also allows for dilation of the blood vessels and improved blood circulation, resulting in the release of endorphins and the cleansing of lactic acid that may be present in the muscles. Floating therapy was a dazzling success in the 1970s, the sensations experienced inside the chambers sending to those felt in the mother’s womb, and allowing access to particularly deep relaxation.
Norwegian meditation for lockdown stress
Among the different types of meditation, the Acem method is easy to learn and to practice on a daily basis to calm our nerves. It has its roots in transcendental meditation, which stands for deep relaxation, based on the use of mantras, that is, phrases or words that are repeated internally in a loop.
The Acem method comes straight from Norway. Invented in 1966 and developed ever since by Professor of BehaviouralMedicine Are Holen, it is now widely used in Scandinavian countries.
With Acem, meditation is completely sealed off from any form of spirituality or religious practice. The goal here is therefore not the search for worship but simply a better understanding of everyday life, of its relationship to others and of life in general.
This is a non-directive approach, which means that instructors, regardless of rank, do not interfere too much with practitioners’ meditation. This gives them greater autonomy and therefore the possibility of practicing it quickly alone at home. This makes a big difference when compared to other forms of meditation: the practitioner is free, his meditation not being “managed”.
To achieve the desired meditative state, followers of the Acemmethod use sound. The “sound” must be short (up to 3 or 4 syllables) and must never be pronounced neither within the framework of the meditation, nor outside. It is only internal and should be repeated throughout the session, avoiding vocalizations as much as possible (be it whispering or emitting a sound vibration without clear pronunciation).
Sound should not be a word because it should not cause a representation or mental transfer of anything existing.
This “sound” is therefore the very pillar of performant Acemmeditation. An apprentice cannot choose it himself, it is up to an initiator to give him one during an introductory group course. Around the world, there are about twenty initiators, and it is this handful of experts who have the task of transmitting a common sound to a group of people and then a personal sound after a year of regular practice.
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