Staying Slim Under Lockdown and Beyond

Once the corona virus lockdown was declared, people were concerned about the physical and mental health of their family, their friends and their colleagues. Livelihoods were suddenly under threat. People didn’t go to work. Children didn’t go to school. Civil liberties were voluntarily curtailed.

By the end of March with the threat looming large, we were confronted with the fact that restrictions demanded we spend time in our homes. What were we going to do? Work from home, teach our children, tend our gardens and stay healthy. Staying mentally and physically healthy meant regular exercise and good nutritious food. Adapting to the new normal meant it was even more important not to over indulge in any food. Doubt, uncertainty and anxiety brought on by the daily barrage of shocking news headlines meant eating properly could be very challenging. In difficult times, food becomes solace.

Even as restrictions begin to ease it’s vitally important we don’t over eat, that we exercise regularly and that each day something, however small or insignificant, is accomplished. However, don’t let food become the reward for everything we do. Over indulging in food can be the consequence of fear and anxiety, but also boredom. Get in the habit of getting it right. Live with a sense of accomplishment rather than the guilt and shame of having food that we know will do us harm.

You deserve to be the person you want to be. Make every day count. Don’t procrastinate. Tell yourself you can do it. Stay healthy, lose weight and keep it off during lockdown and beyond.

Starting Up Anew

The last 3 months have been a very difficult time for everyone. The ongoing challenges we face are emotional, physical, psychological and financial. We feel genuine concern for the health and well being of our friends, family and ourselves while being aware lives are being lost to the virus. Mental health often suffers under these circumstances and a third of people in the UK claim their mental health has declined since lockdown. What people are telling me is they have heightened anxiety, doubt, feelings of helplessness, listlessness or something described as “brain fog”.

I’ll be seeing clients again soon. In the years since qualifying, I’ve not sensed such urgency for hypnotherapy and counselling although when I began as a therapist in 2007 the world faced a financial crises. Compassion, understanding and years of experience are combined to assure the best possible therapy even with social distancing. I’m going forward with confidence and I look forward to helping as many people as I can.

Urgency in These Times

There’s ongoing and widespread discussion among the public, press, social media and government circles about where we are, how we get out of this and what does the corona virus mean for our economy. In tandem with these urgent issues is the awareness of the impact of these times and circumstances on our individual and national mental health. Like the financial repercussions, the mental health repercussions will extend for years into the future.

Many are living every day with uncertainty and fear. We worry about our children, our families, and our neighbours. Can we pay mortgages and rents? Will we even have a job to go to? When will we go back to school? Some will be enduring all these uncertainties and more, and I haven’t even touched on those who have lost loved ones. We haven’t been through anything like this in living memory.

There are signs we will get through this. The threat to our physical well being will diminish and a new normal will prevail. With access, understanding and sustained support provided by counselling and therapy, mental health can be restored. The threat to our mental health will subside, but it will take time.

Living in Lockdown

Friends and acquaintances have been telling me that despite following government guidance and staying home, they feel even more fatigued than usual. Some have complained about tiredness, loss of motivation and vivid dreams. Perhaps some of this can be explained, some might be approached through speculation.

Many of us, in “normal” times, are almost constantly on the go. There’s work, children, social engagements, and so many other responsibilities from vital to mundane. We may slow down on the weekend, but often not. We engage in all these situations willingly, but it takes consistent effort. Suddenly we’re forced to curtail or completely stop all of these things. This in itself requires a mental and physical adjustment. Combined with changed sleeping patterns, we feel sluggish and then struggle to maintain motivation. We’re trying to adjust to circumstances forced upon us.

Many of us have been having vivid dreams. Not necessarily bad dreams, but visually intense dreams we remember upon waking. Some have told me of very unpleasant dreams involving death and suffering. I believe these dreams are also an expression of the times we’re living in. All of us are very aware of what’s going on the world around us: a collective awareness a collective consciousness. The vivid dreams are an expression of individual and collective doubt, worry and fear. Dreams give expression to thoughts and feelings that linger just above, and then just below, our awareness.

We will get beyond this. The familiar will return, but tiredness, restless nights and vivid dreams might be with us for some time.

Covid – 19 Update No. 4

The lockdown we were all expecting is here and it’s going to be here for a while. We’re now fighting an unseen enemy on a global scale. We’ll need to be calm, resilient and very patient. We’ll need to exercise, cultivate optimism, and help our family, friends and neighbours. As this crises unfolds, I’m sure it will ultimately bring out the best in all of us. There will be moments of self doubt, even anxiety but my friends are already telling me, “see you on the other side” when our lives return to a semblance of normal.

Covid – 19 Update No. 3

Events move swiftly. People have been asked to avoid any form of congregation in any setting and schools have closed. By asking the British public to voluntarily change their behaviour, their routines, the government achieves lock down in stages but lock down is where we’re headed. London is already in shut down and will soon be in lock down. The rest of the country is about three weeks behind.

People are stepping up to volunteer in so many ways. Neighbours are taking care of neighbours. Medication , and even meals, are being delivered to the elderly, frail and vulnerable. Via various social media platforms, those in isolation are joining forums, accessing exercise videos, and finding ways to entertain their children. Even well known musicians are providing live streams. All these gestures decrease social isolation because there’s very much the sense that we’re literally all in this together.

Covid – 19 Update 2

This disease is a stark reminder to humanity that we aren’t in absolute control of everything that happens on this planet. There are forces, benevolent and malevolent, that affect us, surprise us and ultimately humble us. Together, we’ll get through this crises and beyond.Every generation faces daunting challenges and here we are in the midst of another challenge, Covid – 19.

In these circumstances, the psychologist reminds the general public about mental health. There’s an awareness of the consequences to mental health resulting from the threat of a disease with no cure, the possibility of self isolation, and not knowing when the pandemic might end. The advice being offered, especially when self isolating, is be mentally and physically active. Learn at home, work from home, exercise from home, but stay at home. Self isolation doesn’t need to be complete inactivity. We will get through this together.

Covid -19 Update

The deluge of information about the corona virus is permeated with misunderstandings and dire warnings. Will sensible approaches prevail? Face masks? Don’t bother. Hand washing? Yes, and frequently every day. School closures? Possibly. Economic disruption? Definitely. Lockdown? Worst case scenario. Stock piling? Not necessary, but panic buying and hoarding are occurring. Has the virus peaked in China? Possibly.

The Government seems to have a four phase plan in place that addresses many contingencies and it’s best summed up as “plan for the worst and hope for the best”. I feel the British as a whole will be patient, stoic and will go about their lives as unaffected as possible. Stay calm and carry on.

Covid – 19

Globally, we’re on the threshold of a pandemic. Since January we’ve watched with growing trepidation as the disease took hold in China. The virus has crossed oceans, invaded the Middle East and has taken hold in Europe as I write. Covid-19 is fatal to about 2% of those who contract the virus. Dire warnings have been issued that its not a question of if the virus takes hold globally, but when. The virus is here in the UK with numbers of those affected increasing daily.

Tens of thousands die of flu every year without so mush as a blip in the news, but the coronavirus forces us to confront something new, something deadly to some, something potentially uncontrollable. It’s that sense of an unseen threat that penetrates our consciousness. We wait to see how events unfold.Perhaps the great pandemic we’ve been expecting for so long has arrived.

Transitioning

I’ve titled this blog exactly the same but within a different context. In this instance I’m referring to people transitioning their gender: male to female or female to male. With a combination of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and surgery, gender transition is a reality. The entire process isn’t straight forward by any means and those transitioning face misunderstanding and prejudice from friends, family, the medical community and society at large. Just engaging the medical process can be very time consuming and those transitioning face decisions about private medical options or those offered by the NHS, or both.

Often, a person transitioning needs counselling and emotional support. I feel it’s very important that therapists familiarise themselves with this aspect of society, understand the issues facing a person transitioning and be prepared to provide support and counselling. If a fair and just society is inclusive, then it needs to be inclusive in a broad sense and that includes people transitioning.