#DejaShares: 16 experts share their tips on mental health & lockdown

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We’re kicking off our #ShareWithDeja campaign with a close look at how lockdown has affected mental health. Stats show that more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said their mental health was affected by lockdown. We’ll be chatting to 16 experts about the psychological impact of the pandemic & how they’ve been looking after themselves.


There are 16 health & wellness specialists in the round-up, from psychologists & nutritionists to yoga teachers & Ayurvedic coaches, each one with different tips & tweaks that you can mix & match. From journaling to limiting your social media intake, refreshing your routine to taking up running, our experts offer great ideas to get back to mental & emotional balance.

 

Kate Moyle (@katemoyletherapy)
Psychosexual Therapist & host of The Sexual Wellness Sessions Podcast | Kate Moyle Therapy x #ShareWithDeja
Kate is a UKCP Registered Psychosexual & Relationship Therapist. She specialises in working with individuals that are going through difficulties with their sex lives and sexuality.

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

Dealing with the uncertainty of not knowing what's going on, how long it's going to last, and with the rules being changed with little notice; and the worry and fear around loved ones catching Covid-19 has also meant that anxiety is a lot more present in day to day life. It has certainly created a shift in how I think about some parts of my life. I ( like so many of us ) have a pretty busy life, and it's a bit of a juggling act. The pandemic brought that into sharp focus and has made me less of a yes man. Taking on too much and feeling under pressure as a result, is something I have been previously guilty of, and it has a knock on impact which is not good for mental wellbeing.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

In order to limit triggering anxiety I have limited my news reading and turned off notifications, as I was finding them very distracting and they were pulling me away from what I was doing, enjoying or focusing on. I have also tried to exercise a couple of times a week as a way of shifting context and using my energy in a different way. I feel that as a person I am quite adaptable, but the thing I have also found helpful is controlling what I can. This may look like creating routine for myself and my family and having a vague plan for the day, but also shows up as the opposite which is flexibility and not being wedded to those plans. Unmet expectations can create disappointment, particularly when we cling onto them too hard; and so staying balanced between work and home ( even though we are not physically leaving home ) and activity and rest has been very important. It's also been about going easy on everyone - we're all just doing our best and it's so critical to remember that.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Manage your media and social media intake - It's very easy for us to get pulled into a black hole when it comes to technology, and we have to remember that there is no end with the internet, there is constant content to distract us - so we can only discipline ourselves. It can also shape our thinking and where we are at, making us more stressed and anxious; and the way that internet cookies work mean that we are often then being shown similar content which can reinforce our thinking / worries / concerns.

2. Connect - Connect with others. Humans are social creatures and connection can offer us so much. Book in calls with friends like you would have previously booked to go out to dinner. Even if it's just a five minute check in with a family member, a group zoom catch up or virtual book club; we all miss interactions with others even in the smallest of ways; and it's a useful reminder that everyone is in the same storm.

3. Rest and recover. A pandemic is not a productivity project. Yes you have things that you may want to achieve, and yes you may find it easier to have something to focus on but just be gentle with yourself and also give yourself a chance to rest and recover. Rest is critical to us being able to do everything we want to, it doesn't hold us back but propels us forward; and rest can be productive.

Learn more about Kate on her website or listen to her Sexual Wellness Sessions podcast here.   
Marion Pearce (@marion_pearce)
Yoga & spin instructor and founder of online movement community ALLEZ x #ShareWithDeja
Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?
    
For sure. I had a full on panic attack the week of the first lockdown whilst giving my kids a bath. France was ahead of the UK so I was coming to term with what was about to hit us, I was still teaching everyday seeing hundreds of people a week, I felt completely in the dark and I was just following my gut, listening and taking all measures I could to protect instructors, the community whilst also protecting myself and my own family. Then I lost my job, but it was so much more than a job, it was the place I hung out every day so I had to really check in with myself and have a vision to stay upbeat. 

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

My kids have been such a mood booster, all I ever want is to make them laugh. I craved yoga, I fell in love with Katonah yoga and more restorative methods such as yin and being able to access online training and taking classes whilst the kids nap was such a highlight. Whats app with my friends and the community I am so proud of is probably what has lifted me up the most - I love good GIFs.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

Wake up early and move to sip, pour your latte in a takeaway cup and go on a quick morning walk and create, imagine the life you want. Remind yourself that it may not be perfect but your life is a life that thousands of people would love to have. Take massive actions as you only get different if you do something different. And obvs, join ALLEZ!

Rosie Kinsella (@womanwriting)
Journal Therapist | Woman Writing x #ShareWithDeja
Rosie supports women in their healing journey through teaching the wonders of journaling as a self-healing tool.

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

During the pandemic, the previous two lockdowns didn’t affect me as much as I was still able to carry out a lot more of my work and stay in touch with my creative energy, but this current one is different. I did not expect the new year to begin like this and it has affected being able to travel to Switzerland for my job as I would have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days and cannot go to my office, see my colleagues and have to work from my house in Kent, UK. It’s definitely made me feel more suffocated and limited in a creative way, especially as certain projects I was looking forward to launching at Woman Writing and my job have been delayed or cancelled entirely. And that makes me feel sad, depleted and like I’m a failure even though it’s not my fault. I also have become increasingly tired of zoom and Google Hangouts, as I am much more of a 1:1 type of person. I miss being able to have proper meetings and having a breather from so much technology.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

In each lockdown we’ve had, journaling has been my medicine. It is during normal times, but even more so now. Combined with daily journaling, integrating a solid morning routine has also been a saving grace. During the previous lockdowns, I would wake up and jump straight to my emails but this time I’ve definitely moved with more intention to have a morning routine which serves my wellness and allows me to breathe better into my day.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Journaling. A lot of people are unable to afford therapy or may not have anybody to talk to and journaling is a free form of writing therapy. It allows you the opportunity to express your thoughts and feelings, explore your emotional states and is a very personal writing practice which has huge healing properties. It gives you the chance to exercise your self-awareness by deepening the connection with yourself as you honestly host a written dialogue between you, your thoughts and feelings to relieve yourself of intense, painful or negative emotions. It’s also important to note that there are other forms of journaling you can engage in such as Creative Journaling, which can be of great help for those who are working through projects or still on their career even through lockdown and restrictions.

2. Create a morning routine which serves you. Make sure you take time to set yourself up for the day emotionally, physically and spiritually. Try and use your mornings to meditate, pray, maybe yoga, or go for a walk. Combined with a bit of exercise and being in nature, try to list 1-2 intentions you have for the day to keep you focused on a goal. You can also take time to journal in the mornings, listen to music which soothes you or even do some reading. It’s vital to spend time with yourself in the morning so you have cleansed your energy for the day ahead and are ready to see it through.

3. Rest. The way we communicate with our colleagues, bosses, friends and family has changed. Where we can’t see each other, we are constantly on a social media platform, an app, a laptop or a phone and constantly connected. Make sure you actually take time to disconnect and rest. Just because we are in a lockdown, it doesn’t mean you have to be available 24/7 because you’re at home. You’re allowed to choose a certain time of the day where you think “Ok. That is me done for the day. I’m going to have a nap, go for a walk, read a book” or something that helps the pace of your mind to slow back down. If you don’t regularly fill up your cup, how can you be of use to anybody else? Do not feel guilty for choosing rest.

Check out Rosie's Write to Heal Workbook to get started yourself.

Sarah Highfield (@sarahhighfield)
Yoga Teacher | Yogagise x #ShareWithDeja
Sarah has taught yoga with many brands including Form Studios, Lululemon and The Detox Kitchen, and was voted one of London’s Top 10 Yoga Teachers to follow on Instagram by London Evening Standard.

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

My mental health hasn't been affected too much as I'm very aware of it and maintain a balanced lifestyle.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

I try to maintain a balanced lifestyle and am very conscious if I feel off centre. The lockdown was challenging as my routine changed almost overnight, so I adapted quickly and formed a new routine to help uphold a sense of normalcy. I made sure that I was adequately set up to work from home, took as many walks as possible to exercise in the fresh air, and made sure I was cooking healthy meals. On top of that, I made sure that I was as social as possible, whether that was on Zoom, or when restrictions were temporarily relaxed, in person. Finally, I try not to get too consumed by anything that will stress me out, such as the news. Consequently, the past year has been manageable and my mental health has been largely unaffected.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Create a balanced daily routine, which allows you to do your work, as well as, stay healthy. Look after your mind and body.

2. Stay connected with your loved ones, make time for them, and be fully present when you do see them (or on Zoom, FaceTime, Skype etc).

3. While it may be hard at times, try to stay as positive as possible. Try to avoid dwelling on the past and focus on the present, which you can control. Instead of asking "Why me?", ask "What now?", and work from there.
Check out more about Sarah at  www.yogagise.com


Olivia Brierley (@mindfulsoulpilates)
Pilates Instructor | Mindful Soul Pilates x #ShareWithDeja
Olivia is a pilates instructor after, keen to teach others about the amazing benefits of Pilates for overall wellbeing.
 

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

I struggled with my mental health 2 years ago, suffering quite frequently with anxiety and panic attacks. During this period Pilates and movement had an immense positive impact on my mental health. For me Pilates started to become my number one coping mechanism. During times of mental instability, Pilates allowed me to centre my concentration away from my worries, control my breathing, build strength and energy, create rhythm, balance and flow in my body. When the pandemic hit my mental health wasn’t impacted as much had I not had this coping mechanism in place. I had moments last year which were difficult but I always had my practice to help me navigate through the highs and lows.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

Routine, community and movement. During lockdown I started teaching Pilates online. Towards the end of the 3rd lockdown I actually created a brand new online platform. ‘The Mindfulsoul Movement Library’. Having a community of people that met up on a weekly basis to move their bodies, express emotions, take their attention away from their worries and stay present was so comforting. Knowing that 3 times a week I would be able to teach men and women of all ages and levels. Creating a space where there was no judgment, just people meeting up to feel better and stronger, physically and most importantly mentally. That is what carried me through and helped me the most during lockdown.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

My advice would be, keep a routine, make sure you keep the body moving even if it’s just a walk or rolling out your mat for a stretch. Lastly, pick up the phone to a friend or family member and talk. When I struggled with my mental health I only opened up to a very few select people, this worked for me at the beginning. But as I opened up even more, I was amazed by how many other people opened up to me. No matter how small or big the issue is please talk. Not knowing how to open up to people can feel very isolating and lonely. I learnt to work through this and ended up realising that I was not alone in my thoughts.

To learn more about Olivia or are interested in working with her, check out her website: www.mindfulsoulpilates.com  
    
David Kam (@davidkamkw)
Yoga and Movement Teacher | David Kam x #ShareWithDeja
David has studied yoga for the last 15 years and his mission is to encourage the world to move curiously, playfully and less seriously. 
 

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

The pandemic has absolutely changed my life. The first lockdown in particular, really hit me and I was probably at the lowest point of depression. It’s very confronting to be stuck at home with the same four walls, very prison-like to an extent, which inevitably forces you to look deep into yourself. I remembered a lot of grieving over all that was happening locally, globally, personally. I sought therapy sessions and effectively took the whole year out, to rest and reconnect with myself. And even that sometimes came with guilt that not many had the privilege to just pause. But I had to trust my intuition in the urgent need to sit back and watch the world continue spinning without my active participation for a while. I’m really grateful I did because I have rediscovered a renewed sense of vitality since 2021 and I feel ready to step up and support the community as we continue persevering through this challenging time. I do want to acknowledge, for as much sorrow and loss this pandemic has brought to the world, I’ve also managed to find the greatest joy and gratitude in the simplest things. And I remain hopeful of how life beyond this pandemic can be to continue radiating with this energy across the world.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

A loose palette of rituals have kept me going over lockdown. Now, I say this because it’s the greatest opportunity to be exploring the different things we can do to nourish our soul, and the different ways of structuring our day too. Just like food, we almost always prefer a varied diet than say, potatoes every single day. I have witnessed myself going through phases of playing the piano, nighttime reading, gardening, journaling, cooking, all sorts of creative activities. As I continue building up an arsenal of activities I enjoy, I allow the day to unfold based on what I lean towards in the present. This is because I find a fixed ritual can lose its meaning and end up becoming a chore that comes with guilt in the undoing of it.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Reach out…when you want to. During the first lockdown, I did not speak to anyone outside of my household except for my therapist. I just did not have the space to do so with everything happening internally, and sometimes being pressured to reach out doesn’t actually help. However, I remind myself that when I do feel like connecting, I have the option to reach out and that I am not a burden for doing so.

2. Spend time in nature. I make it a point to do this every single day, however brief. It can be so meditative to simply appreciate our immediate surroundings, I found many hidden gems within my neighbourhood, all of which always bring me joy. There’s a special tree I was drawn to where I lived, so I made it a point to visit it every other day. Now that I have moved, I have consciously tried to bring nature in as well with indoor plants.

3. Seek help. Always go to a professional when you feel there’s no way out. That’s what they are there for, even if you don’t feel convinced in the beginning. Simply acknowledge the act of committing to these sessions as a promise to yourself in creating space and time to be held without judgment and expectations by someone experienced, someone outside of your every day.
If you would to learn more about David or are interested in working with him, check out his website: www.davidkamkiawei.com

Dr Tosin Sotubo (@mindbodydoctor)
NHS General Practitioner | Mind Body Doctor x #ShareWithDeja
Dr Sotubo specialises in General Practice and is passionate about spreading health awareness, busting myths and inspiring individuals to take care of their health. 

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

I honestly think nearly everyone has been affected in one way or another during the pandemic. Personally, for me it started with the uncertainty and unanswered questions and all the unknowns. On top of this being physically away from loved ones has been very difficult and I think something we’ve all had to adapt to.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

What really helped me was keeping active. This mostly involved going on long walks. Even when I didn’t feel like it I always felt better for it afterwards. It was a reminder of just how important movement and activity is for us, not just for your physical health but just as much for our mental health too.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. It’s so essential to stay connected with people. Technology has really proved to be a survival mechanism for many during this period and means that we don’t have to completely miss out on social interaction which is such a huge part of our daily wellbeing.

2. It’s really important to take time to focus on your mental health and how you’re feeling. With all the non-stop activity going on around us, it’s so easy to ignore when we need time to relax. Try to take time every day to be intentional about checking in with yourself. This may be first thing in the morning, or at the end of the day. Take the time to focus on yourself and your needs.

3. If you’re struggling with your mental health it’s important to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. It can be your doctor, a friend or family member, whoever you feel comfortable with. This can often be the hardest but most helpful step to take. Remember, it’s always okay to ask for help and there’s always someone ready and available to help.

To learn more about Dr Tosin or are interested in working with her, check out out her website: www.mindbodydoctor.co.uk

Jillian Lavender (@jillianlavender)
Vedic Meditation Teacher | London Meditation Centre x #ShareWithDeja
Jillian has been teaching meditation for over 10 years and has helped thousands of people across the world to transform their lives.

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

I feel fortunate to have been able to draw down on my daily Vedic Meditation practice throughout lockdown. It’s been such a dramatic change for us as a family with homeschooling and not being able to teach. And I have witnessed the load that this has placed upon people around me, including our students. Having my daily twice-a-day practice of Vedic Meditation has meant that I’ve had an anchoring point at the beginning and the end of the day, and I’ve found this to be valuable in the midst of a pretty fluid and uncertain time.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

Because there’s been so much change, it has asked a lot of all of us in terms of adapting, and I can feel the drawing down on energy levels for myself and our students. Many people have been reporting that their sleep has been a bit off or they’ve been feeling more tired than usual. I noticed this at the beginning of the first lockdown in particular. That’s where meditation has really helped me — the rest gained in meditation is much deeper than sleep, and that’s the key mechanism to release stress and fatigue.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Find a way each day to step away from technology and push pause. If you have a meditation practice, that’s great, and there are many ways that you can utilise some online tools as an interim stop-gap until you’re in a position to learn to meditate properly in-person.

2. Get outside each day and move the body. Gentle walking will be best.

3. Aim to sit down and eat a proper lunch around midday — this simple routine will keep you grounded and support your digestion and energy levels. It’s important to put the phone away and put your attention on your food. And it’s also very important not to eat when you feel stressed and emotionally out of balance.
  
If you would like to learn more about Jillian or are interested in working with her, check out out her website: www.londonmeditationcentre.com

Carina Talla (@cicisayurveda)
Ayurvedic Health Coach | CiCis Ayurveda x #ShareWithDeja
Carina is an Ayurvedic Health Coach and Energy Healer, who helps women to restore balance in their mind, body and spirit through Ayurveda.

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

The pandemic has affected all of us and our mental health in many different ways and it has been such a test on our collective and individual resilience. However, I am so deeply thankful to say that although I had a traumatic experience with having a bad case of the virus and ending up in cardiac emergency twice due to COVID surfacing an underlying heart condition I was not aware of. I used all my incredible Ayurvedic holistic healing tools, remedies, nourishment, mind-body connection awareness, energy healing and mental health care to keep me strong and carry me through. I feel so thankful that i was able to get through such a deeply traumatic experience and yet my mental health stayed resilient, stable and well, and quite frankly at this point just grateful to be alive! It’s taken years on my healing journey to get to this place and it really proves even more so that these tools work. Of course there were down days but you just glide through them with compassion knowing they don’t last forever. You have to become comfortable with fear, uncertainty and discomfort if you are to overcome hardship. Even the darkest storms do past and you have to anchor your faith into believing that. I am so grateful for the science of Ayurveda for its timeless wisdom, now more than ever do we ALL need to understand how to be our own best mental health advocates during these times and for the rest of our lifetimes. It is no good waiting around thinking someone is going to come and save us from our own minds, we have to use our self initiative and build our foundations within; get support from professionals, go inward, self inquire and learn about your mind and health. If there has ever been a time that has brought to the surface how absolutely vital looking after our mental health is for every human, that time is now.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

Luckily there is no complex formula to keep your mind clear, mental health balanced, thoughts empowered and nervous system in check, in fact, it is the simple things that keep your wellbeing in alignment. This is what I appreciate so deeply about Ayurveda, wellness should not be complicated, looking after your mental health should not be complicated. It is the wholesome tools and balancing practices that are embodied daily with consistency and repetition that builds transformation and heals from the root. To keep the mind healthy it does takes a holistic and 360 approach. Every single factor in our environment from the foods we eat, relationships in our life and people we surround yourself with to what we consume through media has a direct impact on our mental health.Simple things i do every day to keep my mind in check:

  • Follow Ayurvedic dinacharya (daily routine)
  • Journaling am/pm (gratitude, healing, emotional release)
  • Healthy, wholesome and home-cooked food
  • Ayurvedic adaptogen herbs for nervine and cognitive function
  • Self oil massage of the heart, soles and feet before sleep
  • Ayurvedic full body abhyanga (3 times a week)
  • Meditation
  • Affirmations and mantras
  • Connect to my emotions and feel them all
  • Connect to my inner child
  • Daily fresh air and walk in nature
  • Movement (stretching, dance, yoga, pilates, strength training)
  • Connect with someone i love (in person or on the phone)
  • Laughter, gratitude, higher perspective, mindfulness
  • Something fun and creative
  • Reading
  • What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?
What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. JOURNALING: Get your thoughts out! Journal everyday for 15 minutes, it is an absolute must to start cleansing your mind and processing your thoughts. You can use prompts to get your started --- once you start you wont be able to stop! In Ayurveda the vata dosha governs the mind, when this do sha is aggravated it can feel like a tornado whirling in our heads if we don’t do something about it. Journaling anchors your thoughts out from the ethers and into the physical plane, you can then reflect on them, process them, and bring a more rational awareness before slipping into a cycle of over thinking and panic. Most importantly, by journaling we are disrupting neural pathways in the brain on a loop of negative bias thinking and able to divert where the mind is going and take your power back. There are 8 different journaling methods so find what feels best for you and go from there.

2. FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS: This is so vital, I can’t express enough how vital this is! However, unfortunately for most of us, we have been raised in a culture that has taught us to numb, hide, suppress and shut away our emotions out of fear, shame. and guilt. This dated and detrimental mentality of shaming the most basic human primal function of having an emotional intelligence is making us sick. The emotional intelligence is the bridge between your mental and physical health, you have to feel to heal and to begin to get your mind in balance by processing what is going on inside. One of the most life changing things i teach my soul clients is how to properly feel and integrate their emotions in a healthy manner. In Ayurveda we understand the mind-body connection and that undigested emotions in the body are actually more toxic than undigested foods. Empowered connection with your emotional intelligence is true liberation for navigating the highs and lows through life, you are resilient through it all. Feel your fear, sadness, joy, excitement - feel it all! It’s a celebration you are alive, emotions are the greatest gift.

3. NUTRITION: Food is medicine in Ayurveda and the food we eat has a direct impact on the way we feel and how our brain functions. If we are filling our body with sugary, processed, fried, junk and oily foods for example, this is going to have a direct impact on our mental health. You are going to feel lethargic, heavy, lazy, low, irritable with irregular mood swings, blood sugar spikes, energy crashes, and unstable sleep, just as a byproduct of the physiological response the body has to the specific chemicals in the food and how they affect the psychological impact of the mind. In Ayurveda we understand that wholesome foods closest to their natural form are the most nourishing and healing for the body. In your diet, get plenty of hydration, fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices to promote a clear mind, stable energy and balanced mood. Beginning to become conscious of the foods we are consuming and what we are putting into our body is usually the first step on any healing journey, as we cannot heal and transform our mind-body-spirit if what we are fueling our vessels with is not nutritious or sustainable for long term health and dis-ease prevention. If you want a healthy mind you must start with the food on your plate.

PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT: Most importantly, if you are struggling with your mental health talk to someone you trust and seek professional support. Relying on advice from friends or family does not equal to receiving appropriate professional mental health support. Take your mental health seriously, if you are struggling, feeling low, irregular moods, anxious, depressed - reach out to professionals who can help you. The only thing you will regret is not doing it sooner. It is safe to speak up and get the guidance you need. You do not have to suffer in silence or struggle alone. Humans begin to heal when we are held, heard, and seen in a safe loving space with someone we trust.
If you would like to learn about Carina or are interested in working with her, check out out her website: www.cicisayurveda.com

Rod Buchanan (@bodbyrodpt)
Fitness Trainer | Bod by Rod x #ShareWithDeja
Rod is a Fitness Consultant & head of barre at Psycle London. He creates fun, motivational workouts for everyone and is an inspiration to all - having survived a brain tumour in 2010 & recent hip replacement.

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way and if so how?

The pandemic has made me more aware of my mental health and peoples mental health in general. It’s silent, it can’t be seen and often people try to hide it. My mental health began presenting itself in different ways, it put a lot of strain on my gut health in lockdown 1, I would have days where I just wanted to cry. I realised how vulnerable I am but I also recognised that that is OK.

What helped you look after your health during lockdown?

Well my main go to is exercise, I’m extremely lucky to exercise for a living but even on my day’s off I’d do a small amount of exercise, not for the physical attributes but just to focus on mind and release some happy hormones. Getting outside daily for a walk even just for 10-15 minutes it makes a difference having some fresh air. Now in winter I take Vitamin D supplements. Finally talking, whether it’s to family, friends or my Instagram community, talking and sharing helps keep a positive mind.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m struggling” this isn’t showing weakness, I’ve come to understand that being vulnerable is actually a strength, it makes you a more rounded human.

2. Move/exercise everyday, it doesn’t have to be aggressive but find a form of exercise you enjoy that way you’re more likely to stick to it.

3. Set yourself a routine for your week, write it down. This way you wake up knowing you have something to achieve.
To learn more about Rod or work with him check out his website www.bodbyrod.com

Colette Park (@coletteparkayurveda)
Ayurvedic Practitioner | Colette Parka x #ShareWithDeja
Colette has over 10 years experience in Ayurveda. Running her own practice in London, she is also an executive committee member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association (APA), the UK’s leading professional body for Ayurveda. 
 
Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

For me the biggest thing was the loss of routine – for instance, getting up early to get to work and having a lunch break at a specific time each day. Interestingly, in Ayurveda one of the first recommendations to balance Vata is to stick to a daily routine where you wake, eat and go to bed at the same time each day. The elements of space and air that rules Vata is very expansive in nature and therefore needs structure to help contain it and prevent an imbalance. The lack of routine meant that I would go to sleep late and then sleep in late. I might then end up fretting over not being able to finish all the tasks I’d set for myself for the day due to having a slow morning.

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

An important factor for me was focusing on my Ayurvedic self-care practices – even just doing a quick practice like scraping my tongue, placing a couple of drops of nasal oil in each nostril, or a morning self-massage does wonders to help ground me. I also do a relaxing foot, face or head massage before bedtime to relax and improve my sleep. Getting to bed at a sensible time and not sleeping in late helps me to get more done during the mornings and afternoons, so that I can relax in the evening. I’ve also found my daily walks out in nature with my dog invaluable, as it makes me feel in touch with nature. I think a daily walk in all kinds of weather is a good lesson in life – to accept all the sensations that the weather bring.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Take moments out to focus on self-care. This can come in the form of going for a walk, ensuring you eat in a mindful way with no distractions (don’t eat in front of your computer), or adding a relaxing facial massage to your morning routine.

2. Take a few moments during the course of the day to turn your attention inwards and notice your breath and any sensations in your body – too often we are caught up in our minds and we don’t notice what our bodies are trying to tell us.

3. If you struggle to get a good night’s rest and have trouble switching off and falling asleep, focus on relaxation techniques before bedtime. Ayurveda recommends a warm oil foot massage before bed, to help with grounding and releasing nervous energy. Reducing your intake of caffeine and limiting your intake to the mornings also help prevent it from affecting your sleep. Going to bed around 10pm when the evening is in its Kapha phase ensures that you get the most out of your sleep, as the Pitta phase to cleanse and detoxify the body peaks around midnight.
If you would to learn more about Colette or are interested in working with her, check out her website: colettepark.co.uk  
   
Phoebe Greenacre (@phoebegreenacre) 
Therapist and coach | Phoebe Greenacre x #ShareWithDeja
Phoebe is a Holistic Therapist, she includes somatic movement, meditation, yoga & business coaching in her practices. 
 
 
Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?
I think the pandemic helped me to slow down and allowed myself to look after me more which in turn has helped my mental health. I used to rush from A to B, from meetings to teaching yoga. It was not sustainable, yet that "busy" lifestyle was deemed normal. Now I have switched my business models, work less and earn more. It really has been a blessing in so many ways.
What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?
Yin yoga classes, getting outside everyday, making sure I got at least 10,000
steps, chats with my family on facetime + long hot baths. I also had my wedding cancelled 3 times, so practicing letting go of holding onto a certain outcome definitely helped me. 
What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?
1. Know that it is ok to not be ok. We do not know how to survive in a pandemic and it is all out of our control.
2. Make sure you up yourself care more than you normally would.
3. Take breaks away from the screen, get our side and try to get into some nature.  

If you would to learn more about Phoebe or are interested in working with her, check out her website: phoebegreenacre.com

 

Emily Moreton (@thenutrinurse) 

Nutritionist and Nurse | The Nutri Nurse x #ShareWithDeja

Emily is a Registered Nurse and Registered Associate Nutritionist. Head over to her Insta account for yummy recipes & all things health and wellness. 

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

Yes, the third lockdown I guess teemed with January blues was tough. I felt very teary and had increased anxiety.
 
What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?
 
Got  myself a SAD lamp, anxiety journal, desk planner to limit stress, limited caffeine intake, made sure to get outside at least once a day, exercise, readingpodcasts, eating chocolate but also maintaining my fruit and veg in take etc. watching Netflix over FaceTime with my boyfriend and my work colleagues and looking after my patients as this can be rewarding if you get to see them go home :)  
 
What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?
1. Get outside, go for a walk, listen to nothing, books, podcasts or call a friend, walk to a coffee shop and treat yourself to a fancy coffee
 
2. Try to identify what you think it is you are struggling with and how this is effecting you, you may want to reach out for professional help or put measures in place to try to combat the issues, for example anxiety journal for identifying and managing anxiety 
 
3. Make sure you are nourishing your body with foods you really enjoy! If you are cooking for one like me, cook a delicious recipe for 4, but refrigerate or freeze the other portions then you get to look forward to the meal again and always have a meal to hand you enjoy. Fill your diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, good quality fats, protein and carbohydrates such as nutritious whole grains but also yourself of some of what you fancy, chocolate or a slice a cake. The key is moderation and we want to nourish our mind as well as our body!
 

Check out Emily's health & fitness app at https://www.strongandsxy.com/

 

Adam Husler (@adamhusler)

Yoga teacher & online trainer | Adam Husler x #ShareWithDeja

 

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

Uncertainty in the world is never wonderful for mental state , but in this period we all felt it so much uncertainly, so deeply and in so many ways.  I wasn’t an exception though am fortunate enough to  have practiced modalities that positively support mental health for many years. 

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

In many ways having a long term yoga practice actually perfect preparation for anything life can throw at you, including a pandemic, so in a sense I’ve been prepping my mental ability to cope with stress for many years. Despite what I’ve just said, of course plenty of things still stressed me out;  wifi blackouts whilst teaching workshops, uncertainty of income, running 2 businesses in a 1 bed London flat with my wife. 

To cope, we made sure to be respectful and caring for each other knowing then more than ever, our moods would be more intwined, so it obviously each our best interests to ensure the wellness and happiness of each other. We practiced yoga, we took daily walks, we diarised down time and ensure we had dates night. 

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Go for daily walks and get in nature when you can. Keep your phone in your pocket the whole time!
2. Have a time when your firmly turn off from work in the evening and a time when you begin in the morning.
3. Speak to people via phone. Not Whataspp, DMs, email etc…. But old school phone call.
If you would like to learn more about Adam or interested in working with him check out his website www.adamhusler.com

 

Christina Lopez (@cristinalopez)

Executive & Performance Coaching | Cristina Lopez x #ShareWithDeja

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

It has tested my mental health and I believe us all only many levels. It has made me begin asking deeper questions and I think time in confinement has given us all the opportunity to embark on the inward journey if we are willing to do so. Which involves going deeper with the shadow work and merging with most of our fears. 

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

I committed to diving deeper into my natural medicine studies as my priority became my health. I got introduced to the world of essential oils & I also began writing down my personal reflections more frequently. I developed my own toolkits of self-healing also so I can guide others during this time. 

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

1. Don’t resist your feelings - welcome all the emotions you experience on a daily basis. If you fight what you feel you will only intensify the negative triggers. Honour all that is.

2. Find your meditative practice - there are so many forms of meditation we can explore and I believe everybody can find one that suits their awareness, to stay grounded and practice becoming the observer of the mind.

3. Observe your content diet - Our social life has become mostly virtual. Observe what you are consuming online and whether it is making you feel good. I love social media for how much we can learn about culture but it is now contributing to most of our insecurities. Choose your channels, pages & influencers wisely.

 

Sara Herandi (@deja_life) 

Founder of Deja | Sara Herandi x #ShareWithDeja

Sara is the founder & CEO of Deja Life. After discovering Ayurveda, Sara wanted to share how Ayurveda's ancient, powerful and nourishing benefits can be used in our modern lives, so she partnered with Ayurvedic experts to create all-natural products that fit into your everyday.  

 

Has the pandemic affected your mental health in any way, and if so how?

At the beginning of the first lockdown when everything was so unknown & my routine was completely thrown that definitely affected me, I definitely had more anxiety than usual. 

What helped you look after your mental health during lockdown?

Getting into a routine, especially in the morning – waking up around the same time, meditating, working out and then having a time set to start your day.

What are your top 3 tips for those struggling with their mental health at this time?

  1. Show yourself some self-love and do something every day that brings you joy, whether it’s your favourite music, catching up with a friend or cooking something you love.
  2. Deja mind balance – we created a natural blend that helps balance the mind. It includes adaptogens such as Ashwagandha that helps your body deal with stress, relax the nervous system and promote calm.
  3. Daily movement, but doesn't mean you have to be too hard on yourself – it’s ok if you didn’t do a crazy HIIT workout, maybe today you just feel like doing some stretches or going for a walk. Fresh air is the best cure for everything too! 

If you would to learn more about Deja, check out our website: www.deja.life.com

 

We are giving away 2 months of Deja Mind Balance as part of our #ShareWithDeja campaign - follow us on Instagram to find out more & be in with a chance to win!