Transcript of Instagram Live recorded on 19/10/20 – Hi everyone, and thank you for joining me for week two of our ten-week viral positivity plan. So, tonight and every week here for the next nine weeks, I’m going to be providing strategies to help bolster your mental health, and more importantly, to answer any questions that you might have along the way.
Now, while we’re working hard not to spread this virus, we can also work hard to spread positivity. Because just like the virus, emotions are contagious too. So, if we use strategies backed by psychological research, we can boost our resilience, we can increase our positivity, and we could spread that to people around us. And I don’t know about you, but I think that we can all use a little bit of that right now. Because if things we’re bad enough, now we’ve got this circuit breaker. Nobody really knows what that means, and what we’re allowed to do and what we’re not allowed to do. But what we do know is that it means more restrictions on what it is that we are allowed to do. And I know this has been affecting a lot of different people.
So, yeah. I think it’s been affecting people in many different ways, and so many different groups. But I keep coming back to the young people, to the teenagers, and those of you at university because if it’s not hard enough to be your age, I’m sorry I would never go back there personally, it was pretty tough, you now have all of these other pressures, like how are you going to learn online? Navigating all of that so quickly. Not being able to see your friends. And for me, the one I keep coming back to is so many of you are now living with your parents again. You’re all cooped up when you’re supposed to be flying the coop. You’re supposed to be living independently now.
So, it just sucks. It really sucks. But that’s why we’re here. That’s why we’re going to be here for the next nine weeks, including tonight. Because each week I’m going to share a different strategy with you to kind of help you along this difficult time. Now, if you can’t wait, if you want to skip ahead, you can go ahead and share this with your friends, you can download it right away, the entire ten-week plan. You can get it from the link in my bio, or you can go to www.altumhealth.co.uk/positivityplan.
I want to quickly just talk about what we did last week, and then move onto to tonight. Tonight’s about not being alone, relying on other people around you and why that’s so important. So, last week we talked about setting your feelings free. We talked about how it’s normal that all of this uncertainty and some negative feelings are going to come about when there’s so much ambiguity in the air and that you need to find an outlet for that. It’s just not healthy. You can’t push it away, emotions demand to be felt.
So, we talked about three tips to help you. We talked about keeping a journal, we talked about keeping a list of the good things that happen, and we talked about making a small act of kindness list. And I’m wondering how you guys got on. Vicky’s got a question here; Positivity when you have to self-isolate, how the hell does one do that, other than with booze? Very good question Vicky. I think for some of you, a little bit of booze will be helpful, as long as we don’t overdo it. And you know what? Tonight, we’re going to be talking about that. Self-isolation is super hard. It’s really hard. And it’s more important than ever to connect with others, even if it means doing it in very different ways than we did it before.
So, that’s what I’m going to be talking about tonight, that you’re not alone, relying on other people. So, I wanted to know how you did with last week. Anybody journal? Anybody keep a list? Let me tell you one good thing that happened to me, because I’ve been trying to take a little bit of my own medicine, and boost my own positivity. Saturday morning, I had to rush down to work because there was an emergency, and I didn’t realize that this was coming, obviously, it’s an emergency. So, I rushed out of bed in my pyjama top, and I put on my hoodie, and I ran down to the Tube, and I forgot my mask. And I know you’ve all done this, but I was in a really big hurry to get down there. And I just was almost crying. And a beacon of light comes out of the Tube, the little hut where the Tube guys are, and Brian … Brian, my trusty Tube guy, he brings me a mask. He can see I don’t have a mask.
So, thank you Brian. You injected some positivity into my life. It stayed with me the whole day and I was able to spread that and deal with my emergency better. So, thank you. Oh, we’ve got Kim here saying she journaled. How’d you get on with your journaling, Kim? How was it?
So, that was on my good list, Brian was on my good list, and it made me have a really good day. So, tonight, what we’re going to be doing … Oh, here’s another comment. Journaling has actually been really useful. Ah. And transport … The TfL people are great. Yes, the TfL people are great. Brian was awesome. He’s been there 16 years. So, he’s fantastic. And Kim said, “The journal is going really well.” I really recommend you guys do those things.
Now, tonight for week two, we’re moving onto, really, this feeling of isolation that we have, and how you’re really not alone. And how important it is for you to rely on the people around you for emotional support and as a resource. Now, of course we don’t want to depend on people too much. We don’t want to rely on people for our every need. But you have to remember we’re in kind of unique Twilight Zone of time. This has not happened in our lifetimes, has it? And we’re all in the same boat.
So, while you may feel very much alone, there are people all around you experiencing some of the same feelings you are. So, we’re really in this together. But there’s no need to feel alone and do it on your own. Make sure you reach out to others when you’re in distress. Because the people who love you are most often the people that know you the best. They’re going to notice the changes in your behaviour. They’re also going to know the things that have helped you in the past. They’re going to be able to say, “Hey, when this has happened before, this has helped you, or that has helped you.”
So, whether it be your family or your friends or your therapist, rely on the people around you, and reach out. When you have a mental health issue, it’s really hard to connect with others sometimes and that’s without COVID. So, with COVID here, it makes it doubly hard. You might have a tendency to avoid and withdraw even more, and say, “You know what? Forget it. Since I can’t see people, just forget the whole thing,” and isolate even more. No, no, no. Please don’t do that. Because that kind of isolation, when you have a tendency towards depression and anxiety, just provides fertile soil for that rumination, for all of those negative thoughts, for that critic to come in and get you. One of my clients calls her critic the dragon, and I love that. It’s so evocative of exactly what it does.
So, yeah. The dragon, your dragon, will come if you leave yourself on your own too long with your anxiety and your depression. So, make sure you reach out. Now, it’s not the same as getting all the touchy feelies. I am an extremely touchy-feely person. I love all my hugs. I’m really struggling without my hugs. So, I have developed some ways of connecting that kind of work. One thing that you can do, and it may sound silly but it’s really nice, and I’ve had some touching moments with my clients and therapy, is actually just reaching out. You can each reach out and touch the camera like that, like you’re touching hands. And it’s a little bit of a connection right there, which is so lovely.
And the other thing you can do … I’ve been playing. Let’s see if I can do this with these … Where is it? Just one second. The big reveal will come. Here we go….making a little me-moji! I use Bitmoji, but there are so many things out there that you can use. And you can send air hugs, virtual hugs. Just go ahead and make one, play with it. It’s great fun. And I’ve been sending these out to my friends, to my family, and sometimes to my patients as well. I’ve been sending them out to my 14-year-old son because he won’t have real hugs from me. Which is my issue, and not his. Developmentally appropriate. I miss my hugs. But he’ll take an air hug.
So, that’s one thing that you can do. Another thing is to make sure you make a list of people that you can rely on. Ooh. Lexie, I see you. I’m glad that you love the Bitmojis. Yeah, they’re great fun. And they have them for everything, for every holiday, you can dress up differently. It’s fantastic, and it is really good fun. An image can speak 1,000 words, can’t it?
So yeah, in addition to doing those two things, make a list of people that you can rely on. It’ll be more people than you think. So often times, I sit in session with people and they’re like, “Oh, people are too busy,” or, “I don’t want to depend on them because they’ve got their own families, with their own problems.” Look, we all need a bit of extra support right now. So, if you’re worried about infringing on somebody else’s time, just call them and say, “Hey, I need a little extra support right now. Where can I fit in? When would be a good time each week to maybe give you a ring for ten minutes? Because it would really mean a lot to me.”
And trust me, the people that love you and care about you, they will definitely be there. They will definitely be there for you. Oh, final tip. If you can’t reach out to somebody that you love around you, there are so many online support groups right now. There might be a Facebook group. All the major mental health charities, they really upped their game during this difficult time. Sometimes, there are 24-hour helplines there for you. So, reach out there. Create a community. You’re not alone, and it’s more important than ever.
And of course, you can reach out on Instagram. You can use our hashtag #positivityplan. And I’ll be able to see it if you use that, and I will respond to you directly. So, those are all things we can do. So, we want this positivity plan to reach as many people as possible, so please, please share it in your network, use the hashtag #positivityplan. I will be here next week at 8:00 p.m. for episode three, week three. But please send me questions, please send me comments. And I will be happy to connect with you, and answer.
Have a fantastic week, everyone. And anything else, just let me know. Bye.