When you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or things don’t make sense, it is easy and natural to lose motivation. You can let go of the positive habits and routines you once enjoyed in your day to day life. This is despite you having shaped and implemented these routines, which provided you comfort and enjoyment, 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. However 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 the routines you had 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. Take 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 and as each week goes by you’ll see shifts in your feelings, thoughts and actions.
You may find it easier to work on the EAST toolkit with one of our trained helpline volunteers. Feel free to contact us at GriefLine through the national toll-free 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 includes cakes, biscuits, lollies, ice-cream, chocolate and foods with added sugar such as yogurt. Instead, choose a yogurt with no added sugar. Stop eating at least two hours prior to bedtime.
Activities: Restart activities that 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 audiobook, the radio or television. Or indulge in an activity which you 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. 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 it out. This tricks your brain into believing that you have drunk something and delays thirst. Read or listen to an audiobook for fifteen minutes before sleep or try one of the many free sleep apps available. You can also access our 3-step-guide to dealing with insomnia here on our website.
Time: Structure occasions so you can spend an enjoyable time with trusted friends and family. Join a group which has similar interests or hobbies or follow up with an interest that 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 which are 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. It can help to increase your wellbeing, especially during this time of uncertainty and confusion.
Whatever the situation, you can also reach out to a counsellor or the Griefline helpline to work with you on what you have experienced in the past or are presently experiencing. You can also tap into the Griefline Online Forums for peer-to-peer support and understanding.