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 psychologists to determine five activities you can do to counteract the effects lockdown had on your mental wellbeing. 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 acclimatized to social interaction can often experience “overstimulation”.
Lee Chambers, Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant commented ” Being overstimulated can quickly lead us to a place of potent feelings, challenging thoughts, physical and emotional tension and a restless state that is difficult to calm. Trying to avoid overstimulation itself is unproductive, and it is present in our lives; a life without the threat of overstimulation would be incredibly boring. But we can manage the short bursts of overstimulation to our benefit while using emotional regulation to ensure we are not permanently on full alert and peak stimulation.”
Psychologist Reveals 7 Tips on Cope With Overstimulation
Lee Chamber suggests 7 tips to utilise If you are in a situation where you feel overwhelmed:
- Certain skills can help us navigate these situations, such as awareness of our emotions, naming them and recognising what’s triggered them. This gives us the space to respond, rather than react, slowing us down and reducing stimulation, allowing us to breathe, become more mindful and find acceptance in expressing our emotions in a healthy way.
- 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.
- It also helps to understand it’s human and normal to feel overstimulated, and this helps to be kind and compassionate in those moments, rather than belittle and feel shame. This, in turn, can allow us to soothe ourselves and see what we can find in our toolkit to help us in similar situations in the future.
- We can even use relaxation techniques that utilise our physiology to anchor us back into ourselves and trigger our parasympathetic nervous system, setting off our relaxation response. These include breathing exercises, hand exercises and even journaling and creative activities.
- It is also worth considering your environment and whether you need to remove yourself from digital devices and enclosed spaces. Natural environments are often grounding, and natural light and ventilation can help us to reduce our stress response.
- 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.
- Moving our bodies, reading and listening to calming music are great for inducing peacefulness and regaining control.
For more information on how the pandemic has affected brain health please click here.