Bibi Baskin on minding your mental wellbeing

By June Shannon Coronavirus News   |   21st Jul 2020

The reopening of society can be particularly anxious time for many, we chatted with former TV presenter, and wellness consultant Bibi Baskin, about ways to deal with anxiety and stress during these difficult times.

Speaking with Bibi Baskin on the phone from her home in Crosshaven in Co Cork, feels like chatting to an old friend. Her familiar voice is warm and comforting.

As someone who has studied an Indian system of wellness for decades and an advocate for good mental health, Bibi shared her tips to ways to deal with the many anxieties we may face, as we struggle to navigate our way through the ‘new normal.’

Live in the here and now

According to Bibi, our natural state of being is living too much in the past, which for some, may be full of regret or in the future, which particularly at the moment, she said was incredibly uncertain. Therefore, she advised trying to live in the here and now as much as possible.

“One of the things that I personally find extremely useful is the practice of living in the present moment,” she said.

One way to do this she said was to practice writing down six things that you are grateful for right now. This, she explained helps you to “get in the zone” and concentrate on just six good things that are happening right now.

“Write down 6 things that you are grateful for that are happening in your life now, not in the past not maybe in the future but now,” she said.

Bibi explained that these six things could include very simple things that many of us take for granted such as the ability to breathe.

“If you go through the exercise of at least six things you are achieving two things; you are living in the present moment which is good, and secondly you are involving yourself in the practice of gratitude.”

“I think it very helpful as an anti-anxiety tip to practice gratitude because when they do it changes our perspective on our lives,” she added.

“ Write down 6 things that you are grateful for that are happening in your life now, not in the past not maybe in the future but now,"

Bibi Baskin

Dealing with nerves

Despite presenting more than 1,000 live TV shows Bibi admits to still feeling nervous before having to speak in public. She uses a simple trick to help her overcome these nerves, which she said could also help with anxiety.

To do this exercise she advised standing up if you can, or it can also be done from a seated position and putting your two feet firmly on the ground. Then, gently press your feet into the ground for about five seconds. This Bibi explained has the effect of “earthing you” and helping you feel less nervous or anxious. It’s best done in bare feet but can also be done in shoes, she added.

Breathing exercises

Another simple tip to help with anxiety is to try to slow down your breathing, Bibi advised.

“Bring all your awareness to your breath and once you do that you slow down your breathing and once your breathing slows down your anxiety levels go down with it,” she explained.

You can do this simple exercise anywhere either in a standing or seated position.

If seated, place your two feet firmly on the ground no crossed legs and sit with your spine erect (a high backed chair is best not a stool). Then let your hands go loosely into your lap, close your eyes if you are comfortable with your eyes closed if not you just look down, and then focus on your breath. Inhale and quietly count to three then hold it for one second and slowly exhale.

Focusing on your breath and slowing it down can help focus your mind and stop it wandering off into a state of anxiety.

Focusing on your breath and slowing it down can help focus your mind and stop it wandering off into a state of anxiety.

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Stop listening to the news  

“You don’t need to hear all the bad stuff several times a day shoveling all this worry and negativity into your mind, listen it to the morning if you wish to catch up on what has been happening and listen to it again at 6 o’clock that is enough,” Bibi said.

Create a structure to your day 

It may seem simple but creating a routine and sticking to it can help you deal with anxiety during these difficult times.

Bibi advised getting up at a certain time, make a nice breakfast, read a book or phone a friend. Go out for a walk in the fresh air and remember to eat well.

“If you can at all try to get out in the middle of nature maybe it’s just out in your garden if you have a garden or wherever it may be. A walk in nature is a thing of great consolation and it lifts our spirits as well,” Bibi said.

" A walk in nature is a thing of great consolation and it lifts our spirits as well,”

Bibi Baskin

Get a good night’s sleep

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our lives and many people are reporting difficulty sleeping at the moment. The pandemic has also brought with additional things that can disrupt our sleep like, financial worries, job insecurity, health anxiety, and social isolation all of which provide fertile ground for insomnia.

Bibi’s tip for getting a good night’s sleep is before you go to bed to write down all the things that you are worried about and that might play on your mind throughout the night.

“There is absolutely no point in bringing those worries to bed because anybody who can help you solve those worries, be it a doctor’s opinion, a bank manager or a friend you had a falling out with, they are all asleep. So why would you bring your worries to bed with you they are going to be redundant.

“The way you put manners on them is that about an hour before you go to bed, write down all your worries on a piece of paper, and beside each one write the name of the person who can help you solve that worry and beside that again note the time and the day in which that person can be contacted to help you solve the worry,” Bibi explained.

“In between now and then don’t let that worry in. Because it is useless, if you do let it in all that will happen is it will go around and round in your mind. …leave your worries on a piece of paper in the sitting room and don’t bring it into the bedroom with you.

Finally Bibi advised reaching out and talking about your worries with a good friend.

“Have somebody you can talk to having a good friend who is like a personal therapist is one of the best things you can do,” she said.

Get support

A new mental health and wellbeing initiative to support people during COVID-19 crisis was launched by the HSE and the Department of Health in collaboration with a range of cross-Government partners It offers support and resources to help deal with the stress, anxiety, and isolation currently experienced by many in Ireland.

For more information and support please see gov.ie/together and YourMentalHealth.ie.

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anxiety coronavirus Covid-19 mental health mental wellness nutrition sleep

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