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What can we take away from lock down to help prioritise self-care & build mental resilience – A reflective exercise

It’s safe to say that experiencing Lock Down and a Global pandemic has been a rollercoaster for all of us. It’s been a time of uncertainty and as we begin to slowly emerge from lock down this sense of not knowing continues to linger and mental health issues continue to rise. It’s more important than ever that we look after ourselves and each other as we navigate our way towards a new normality.

So what can we learn from lock down to help us prioritise self-care and build more mental resilience? Find a comfortable seat and carve out some time to answer the following reflective questions. You can light candles and create a dedicated self-care space if that resonates with you.

1. What have you found hardest about Lock Down? Think about how it has made you feel, who you’ve found it most difficult to be away from, what aspects of your life you have missed the most.

2. What have you enjoyed about Lock Down?
Think about the difference in lifestyle, if it’s created any new opportunities or created more space/time for different things. Perhaps it’s allowed you to slow down or realise how important your work is if you’re a key worker.

3. What lasting changes would you like to take away from Lock Down?
Think about the changes you’d like to see personally and in society.

4. How do you practice self-care and what does it mean to you?
Think about the things you do that help you to feel relaxed and centered, or the things that help you to feel completely present and stop watching the clock. Remember that self-care doesn’t have to be hot baths and yoga, it can be about finding something that helps you to feel more mindful, present and calm.

5. What activity, hobby or practice makes you forget about time and stop watching the clock?
Think about when you feel most in the flow, more mindful and most at ease.

6. What practices make you feel stronger and more resilient?
Think about the things you’ve tried that help you to feel better, for example breathing techniques, yoga, speaking to a friend, journaling, expressing yourself, connecting with nature….

7. How often do you make dedicated time for self-care

8. How often would you like to make time for dedicated self-care?

9. What self-care practices would you like to make more time for & what would your self-care schedule look like?

10. Looking back over the questions, complete the chart below reflecting on what activities, practices and hobbies you want to say YES to with self-care in mind, and what you need to say NO to in order to make this possible.

 

In order to say YES to:  I will say NO to: 
Example: A daily meditation practice  Going to be late so I can wake up 30 mins early
Example: Saving money for a new course Spending money on going out
Example: Making more space for self-care Spending as much time on social media

 

Once you have 3-5 things listed that you’d like to say YES to, set some time aside in your schedule to make these things happen, this could be daily, every other day or weekly but try to dedicate some set time for self-care that is non-negotiable. I like to think of my self-care time as an important appointment with myself, a regular check in to reflect on how I’m feeling and what I need. 

By actively building these things into our routines, they become habits and can help us to feel more resilient and more in control when we face uncertainty. Having a self-care schedule in place can help us to develop more mental resilience and prioritise making space for the things that help us to feel more relaxed, more mindful and mentally stronger.

“You owe yourself one hour a day of self-maintenance. It can include reading, writing, yoga, exercise, dancing, meditation, painting, or whatever, but you owe it to yourself . One hour, 1/24 of your day. That is less than 5%. It matters, it really does. Make it count.” 

Sarah Brassard

About the writer, Liz Joy Oakley

Liz Joy Oakley is Yoga Teacher, Holistic Wellbeing Coach and Head of Vibes at MoreYoga, co-running our MoreMind Project with Stephanie Minchin, coordinating events, content and workshops focused on better supporting our communities mental and physical wellbeing. After starting her career in the fast-paced world of luxury fashion Liz came to Yoga after being diagnosed with Malignant Hypertension and Generalized Anxiety and left with the goal of helping others to lead healthier lives holistically. Liz went on to spent a year working at the Safe Childhoods Foundation in Indonesia, an NGO committed to combatting organized crimes against children, she began to understand the true benefits of Yoga, Meditation and Psychology as therapeutic tools and describes this as a time of total transformation.

Now back in London, Liz is passionate about helping people achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle through her work. She loves bringing people together, encouraging authentic connection and is happiest when facilitating retreats, workshops and events based around Yoga, Positive Psychology and Holistic Wellbeing.

Liz teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin & Restorative Yoga, specialising in teaching Yoga, Mindfulness & Meditation to improve stress & anxiety. She combines this with her work as a Holistic Wellbeing Coach & is dedicated to spreading Joy through her work.

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