Let’s face it, our plans for the near future are out the window. In many states (and countries) people are finding themselves restricted to their homes and away from normal activities. This confinement or isolation, whether self-imposed or otherwise, can play havoc on our mental and physical wellbeing. We are now in new territory. How can we manage our behaviors and stay healthy?
Start With Journaling.
In order to manage what we do, we need know what it is that we’re doing. Patterns are going to start to emerge and writing down what you do will help you decipher the good from the not so good. Set an alarm on your watch, your phone, Alexa, or other device to go off every hour. Stop what you’re doing and just note what you did in the last hour. i.e. 9-10am watched TV for 45 minutes, got up, made a cup of coffee and grabbed a danish, sat back down and continued watching TV. After a couple days of journaling, you will start to see the patterns, like grabbing that danish with your coffee each morning. Then, with it laid out in front of you, you can start to determine what needs to change. Make a list of those changes.
ITTT: If This, Then That
Take that list and come up with contingency plans. If this, then that (ITTT). Write down those plans.
Say that you know that danish is going to catch up to you and pack on a few pounds. ITTT, “If I get up for your coffee, then I will have a piece of fruit instead of the danish.
Maybe you realize that you’re sitting too much. ITTT, “If I sit for an hour, then I will go outside and walk around the house for 10 minutes before I sit down again.”
What if you find yourself feeling very anxious and fearful about what’s going on in the world. ITTT, “If I find myself thinking about COVI-19 and am fearful for myself and others, then I will take five minutes and meditate, focusing only on my breath. (Try the Headspace app)
You could also find yourself feeling very isolated these days. ITTT, “If I don’t talk to anybody outside of my household by the time I finish dinner, then I will call or face time one of my friends before I do anything else.” After all, social connection is very important to our mental health.
The use of ITTT is very much like stacking habits, but, hopefully you’re managing these behaviors before they actually become habits.
I hope this helps. It’s a new and stressful time for everyone and you’re not alone.
Stay safe. Stay healthy.