When you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or things don’t make sense, it is easy and natural to forget the routines you already have in place. You have shaped and implemented these routines, which you enjoy and which have provided you comfort, contributed to you feeling positive, given you time out from you daily demands and have added to your sense of wellbeing in the past.
The EAST Toolkit connects you back to your routines, which you have put in place, which have worked for you in the past and will continue to work for you into the future. When you consistently reconnect with them, by following the following steps, you are also reconnecting to your own internal supports and the sense of wellbeing you experience when you reconnect with them. It is very common that when things feel confusing or overwhelming, for a period of time, you may forget these routines which are linked to your wellbeing but you can re-connect with your positive routines into the future.
The important aspect of this approach, is to ensure that when you do reconnect, you consistently follow the following steps every day for the following next week and you will notice the positive changes, which have occurred as a result of your commitment. Once you begin to notice changes, continue with these tools and you will begin to experience increasing positive changes with each week and you will notice an significant positive 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 on 1300 845 745, 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 your 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.