Friday, May 8, 2020
Isolation? Trying to make ends meet? Medical care hurdles? Anxiety? Ugh. Who needs it? Most people living with epilepsy and their families already “check those boxes” when it comes to living with one or more of those all too familiar challenges. Now more than ever it is important to take the time to support your, or a child’s, mental wellbeing so we can all pull through this together.
Calm: Find Your Zen
What are the kind of things that give you a mental break? Here are just some of the ideas we’ve tossed around. Would any of these work for you?
- Relaxing activities you enjoy doing which take your focus elsewhere – reading, listening to music or playing a musical instrument, drawing, doodling or painting, knitting or crocheting
- Getting outside for some fresh air is good for your physical and emotional health. If you are not self-isolating, go for a stroll remembering to keep your distance from others.
- Mindfulness techniques – guided or self-guided meditation, deep breathing, sitting quietly and experiencing the sounds and smells of springtime. Some people enjoy the gentle, mind-centering movements found in tai chi or yoga.
Know that: “thriving doesn’t [need to] mean being productive”.
Centered through Balance
Maintain your healthy habits, whether it’s a daily walk, preparing a nutritious meal or getting enough sleep. See if you can set and stick with a (new normal) daily routine that brings focus to the present day and keeps the future and the past firmly where they belong – away from your enjoyment of the present moment!
Pay gentle attention to your thoughts, feelings and body sensations with compassion and non-judgement. Several times a day do a scan of your body and be curious about what you need. Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Do you need to move around? Would a stretch be just the thing right now? This can help you understand why and when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and help you land upon actions that make you feel centred and more in control.
Last but not least, get your facts from reliable resources so that you can focus on the practical steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Canada’s Federal and Alberta’s Provincial websites and The Public Health Agency of Canada are good places to find information and save you time sifting through conflicting sources and the seemingly endless information available online and on TV that serves very little purpose in our lives.
Try to be patient with yourself and others because people may not cope like they usually do. When you have no control over stressful events like this pandemic, having a plan and being emotionally prepared can help you stay calm, feel more in control and reduce stress. Focus on what you can control.
It is normal to feel anxious and worried during times of uncertainty and disruption to routine. We want you to know we here at the Epilepsy Association of Calgary continue to offer support services by phone and online. Please reach out to us by calling (403) 230-2764 x 104 if you need support, or just want someone to talk to! And remember, if you need someone to talk to anytime, day or night, simply dial 211 to speak to a trained specialist who will help you or a loved one get connected with support.