Programme: Programme for Long-Term Care Workers During the Coronavirus Crisis

3. Observing your Thoughts Helps you to Feel Calm

In these times of long working hours and high-pressure at work, there is little time to stop and think about what you are going through. You may find that the thoughts that you suppressed during your working day tend to resurface when you get home. This can lead to worry and difficulty falling asleep. It can be beneficial to try to observe your thoughts, as if you are looking at them from a distance. This leads you to become more aware of what is going on inside your head and will give you a clearer idea of how you can handle the situation.

Act & Reflect 

1. Write your thoughts down in a notebook at the end of your working day. Don’t spend any longer than 15 minutes writing. Once you have finished, put the notebook away in a drawer. 

2. Write down one thought. For example: ‘I did not have enough time for my client.’
Try to imagine you are having a conversation with a close friend. If that friend were to say to you ‘I did not have enough time for my client’, how would you respond?

3. The cinema exercise: Imagine you are sitting and looking at a big, white screen. Wait for some of your thoughts to appear on the screen. Just observe the screen as you would if you were watching a film. What thoughts are appearing? And for how long do the thoughts remain on the screen? Take note of how thoughts disappear from the screen and are replaced by other thoughts. The thoughts are transient. When you look at your thoughts in this way, you can also choose which thoughts you want to put your energy into and which ones you can allow to slide away. 

4. Focus on your body or your feelings and let your thoughts be just that - thoughts. Shift your attention to sensations in your body. Or focus on your feelings: which emotions, or stream of emotions, are released by your thoughts. Ask yourself this question: “How do I feel right now?” Shifting your attention can result in subtle changes in your thoughts.

Answer these questions and share your answers with your online psychologist, a colleague or somebody you are close to:

  • What thoughts pop into your head at the end of a long working day?
  • Which of these exercises appeals to you and why?
  • Which of these exercises could you plan to do every day?

Thought observation is a useful exercise, but it can also be helpful to focus on all the good things in life. In these challenging and difficult times, there are many good things and things to be grateful for. You might like to think about how everyone adapted to the situation so quickly at work, or how your colleagues are all looking out for each other. Or you could think about that moment when you arrive home after a long day, the feeling of warm sunshine on your face or having a chat with a loved-one or a friend. It really helps to think about the good things. Positive thoughts lead to positive emotions.

Reflect & connect

Answer these questions and share your answers with your online psychologist, a colleague and/or someone close to you and try to make a point of staying positive. And remember: positivity is infectious - so make sure you share it with others!

1.What went well today?
2. What do you feel grateful for today?

Would you like professional advice?

Contact our psychologists today to discuss the effects of Corona on your mental health.

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