The past year of COVID-19 restrictions have drastically changed our daily routines. After months of isolation and reduced social interaction, Audley Villages have launched a study into how these changes have impacted on our brain’s health.
As part of the research, Audley Villages partnered with psychology experts to determine five activities you can do to counteract the effects lockdown had on your mental well-being. With social interaction said to be one of the main contributors to maintaining good brain health, the experts also shared tips to coping with social anxiety as lockdown eases.
Overcoming the effects of overstimulation
It is important for our brains to acclimatize to our post-Covid socialising routines. Although after a long period of isolation returning back to normality can be extremely overwhelming. Individuals who are not acclimatised to social interaction can often experience ‘overstimulation’.
Psychologist advice on how to cope with overstimulation
If you are in a situation where you feel overwhelmed, you can utilise a number of things.
- If possible, try to find a place of quietness and solitude. Whether at the end of a platform, a toilet or getting outside, aiming to remove yourself from an overwhelming environment is often beneficial.
- Deep breathing is another great way to reduce our sympathetic nervous system response and calm us. Using the breathe in for 4, hold for 4 and exhale for 4 methods for a few minutes can help us regain peace.
- Listening to some relaxing music, reconnecting with nature or doing something creative are also great tools to bring back mindfulness.
During lockdown many of us spent long periods of time in isolation meaning our routines and activities were much more singular. Dr Rachel Allan, chartered counselling psychologist, states social contact is one of the main contributors to maintaining good brain health and slowing decline. But some may feel nervous about easing back into socialising again. Lee Chambers, an environmental psychologist, shares his tips:
- Be kind to yourself; it’s natural to feel anxious. Aim to go at your own pace, gradually pushing your boundaries of comfort in a way that doesn’t induce panic.
- Share how you are feeling with others and ask for support if you need it.
- Plan and prepare for activities so you feel more assured for the challenges you may face.
- Research and find out what places are doing to keep you safe, so you feel informed and more in control.
- Gradually start to build a routine around getting back to a place of relative normality.
For more information on how the pandemic has affected brain health please click here.
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