When you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or things don’t make sense, it is easy and natural to lose motivation and let go of the positive habits and routines you once enjoyed in your day to day life. You have shaped and implemented these routines, which you enjoy and have provided you comfort, while contributing to positive feelings. Subconciously, these positive routines have given you time out from your daily demands and have added to your sense of wellbeing in the past.
It is very common that when things feel confusing or overwhelming, for a period of time, you may forget these routines – but you can re-connect with them, starting gradually, taking one day at a time, until you build consistency.
The EAST Toolkit helps you connect back to your routines, which you have previously put in place to give you a greater sense of balance, wellbeing and mental resilience.
The important aspect of this approach, is to ensure that when you do reconnect, you consistently follow these steps every day for a week, taking notice of the positive changes which have occurred as a result of your commitment. As your commitment grows, you are likely to experience increased positive changes as each week goes by and you see shifts in your feelings, thoughts and actions.
If you would find it easier to work with one of our volunteer counsellors on the EAST toolkit, feel free to contact us at GriefLine through your local state hotline number. We are available 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
What does the EAST Toolkit stand for?
Eating: When you are experiencing grief, loss and/or trauma it is very easy to get out of your normal routine. Ensure you eat regularly and healthily throughout the day. Increase your water intake during the day and limit your alcohol and other illicit drugs, especially at night, when you find there may be little distraction from your thoughts or feelings. Limit your sugar intake during the day and do not eat anything with added sugar after your main meal of an evening (this can include cakes, biscuits, lollies, ice-cream, chocolate and foods, which may have added sugar such as yogurt – choose a yogurt, which does not have any added sugar). Stop eating at least two hours prior to bedtime.
Activities: Restart activities, which you enjoyed prior to your current circumstances – including some type of daily exercise. If you find yourself starting to worry about things, get up and do something active for 30 minutes. Put aside time to read or listen to an audio book, the radio or television or indulge in an activity which have been interested in exploring but haven’t had the opportunity to start.
Sleeping: Ensure that you go to bed at the same time as you would have done prior to this experience and avoid eating high sugar foods or a large meal or consuming any alcohol or other illicit drugs, at least two hours prior to sleep. Stop drinking anything (including water) two hours prior to sleep. If you feel thirsty, swish water around your mouth and spit out, this tricks your brain into believing that you have drunk something and delays thirst. Read or listen to an audio book for fifteen minutes before sleep. It is very tempting to stay up late or feel like it is difficult to fall asleep or that you wake up in the middle of the night or wake up too early. Listen to audio on Insomnia (provided on website) and have a look at the PowerPoint presentation on how you can work through your problems with insomnia.
Time: Structure occasions, so you can spend enjoyable time with trusted friends and family. Join a group which has similar interests or hobbies or follow up with an interest which you have not had time for in the past. Some people find during a time of loss and/or grief that it may feel harder to maintain connections with the outside world or even feel positive about themselves – they may lose sight of their strengths, the exceptions to these feelings of grief and loss. The EAST toolkit re-connects you to the part of yourself that is connected to hope and an increase in wellbeing, especially during this time of uncertainty and confusion.
Whatever the situation, you can also reach out to a counsellor or a counselling and/or helpline service such as GriefLine to work with you on what you have experienced in the past or are presently experiencing.