In these scary and uncertain times, we all need to find ways to look after ourselves in a whole new capacity.
Without being able to go shopping, go to the gym or even go out with our friends, how do we find ways to make ourselves feel good while staying at home?
Lia Carr is a yoga teacher and a mental health social worker. She is hugely passionate about teaching people about their mental health and how to look after themselves in a healthy and positive way. Lia did a takeover on our Instagram this week and shared her top tips for staying healthy both mentally and physically while you're in self-isolation. She mentions that she does these things in her everyday life, but that it is vital to keep them going when placed in a stressful situation, like the one we are all currently faced with.
Here are her five health and wellness tips:
Lia says, "Gratitude is so important. It changes our mindset straight away and it's something we can tap into throughout the day, but I think doing it in the morning is really beneficial." Every day, before she even opens her eyes, Lia says three things that she's grateful for. "I would really encourage you all at a time like this, to focus on the things that you are grateful for, and there's so many," she maintains.
According to Lia, there are four things you should journal every day - your "non-negotiables", your three priorities for the day ahead, three things that you're grateful for and your mantra for the day. Lia says, "It's a really good time now to get into the habit of journaling" and it is so beneficial to our mental wellbeing.
To follow Lia's journalling template, you start with your "non-negotiables" for the day. These are a couple of things that you must make time for every day in order to look after your mental health. Lia's four "non-negotiables" are movement, hydration, connection and meditation.
Then you can move onto your three priorities - these are things that you have to get done that day, no excuses. According to Lia, they'll set the tone for your day and help to keep you motivated.
Thirdly, you write three things you're grateful for in your past present and future. Looking forward to something in your future will help to keep you feeling positive about your life, which is especially needed now.
And lastly, you write a mantra for the day. This is something that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day that will give you a sense of intention and meaning each day.
"At the moment," Lia says, "we're all so fear-based and anxious - our minds are just racing. But, we have nothing but the present moment and meditation instantly brings you back to that." She revealed that she really struggled with meditation during her yoga teacher training, so she simply began by doing 30-second stints throughout the day. Lia advises, "take 30 seconds to yourself to do some deep breathing, to connect with nature, to think about the sounds around you, and feel your feet on the ground."
According to Lia, exercising and being in nature sends a message to our brains that we're safe and well. Lia advises getting out for at least thirty minutes once a day for some exercise, even if it's just heading out for a walk or some at-home exercises in your garden. She says, "I know the gyms are closed and I'm really struggling with this myself but there are some wonderful people doing really good classes online recently."
Even if you've never experienced anxiety before, it's safe to say that we're all feeling it in some capacity at the moment. Lia assures us that if you're having panic attacks or struggling to sleep right now, it's completely normal. For general anxiety or if you feel like you're about to have a panic attack, Lia recommends doing a grounding exercise.
This involves taking a few deep breaths, grounding your feet and asking yourself, "what are five things I can see, four things I can hear, three things I can touch, two things I can smell and one thing I can taste right now?" This helps you to come back to the present moment and not think about the future or past. She also recommends splashing your face with cold water to help to snap you out of your thoughts for a little while.
You can watch the full takeover which is saved as a highlight on the Beaut Instagram page. You can also visit Lia's website smilesoulblog.com and follow her on Instagram @carrlia to learn even more about the world of yoga, mental health and wellness.