Lockdown and self-isolation for many of us are well underway.
As the days go by, it’s hardly surprising that we’re now wrestling with all the stark realities of staying at home during a pandemic – whether we’re doing it alone, or alongside the rest of a large household.
It’s been reported that researchers observed a spike in depression and anxiety just after lockdown was announced in the UK. And we’re not just worried about the health of ourselves and our loved ones – we’re also concerned for finances and our livelihoods.
Whilst we can’t control everything that’s happening, there are a few tips and small tricks we can adopt to help us mentally survive these uncertain times.
- Start as you mean to go on. However tempting it is to lie around in your PJs and lounge on the sofa, make sure you get up, dressed and showered, mentally preparing yourself for the day ahead.
- Make a plan. Structure and routine are essential for all of us and give us both confidence and self-identity. So prepare yourself a mini itinerary – you don’t even have to write it down – of the things you plan to do that day. Make sure they’re all things you can realistically achieve. Remember to include some exercise. Which brings us onto….
- Do something physical. There’s no doubt about it. There’s a direct correlation between exercise and our mental health. If it’s at all possible, go outside to do it. If you can’t get out of doors to maybe walk the dog, run or cycle, there are lots of indoor options, from yoga and Pilates to high intensity cardio workouts. YouTube has a wealth of ideas and routines for all ages and capabilities.
- Eat well. It would be all too easy to succumb to a desire to demolish that entire packet of Hobnobs. But don’t. Remember you’re trying to feed both body and brain with nourishing foods. Try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables whilst watching your consumption of crisps, sweets and chocolate. The occasional glass of wine can be a great relaxant but go easy. Alcohol and cigarettes are both well-known coping strategies but store up a whole load of problems in the long run.
- Get Creative. Read a book, paint a masterpiece, learn Spanish. Or take up a craft and make something amazing. This is your opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time. Remember you don’t have to be good at it – just enjoy it. Listening to music can relax the mind, energise the soul and has even been credited with helping manage pain – so devise yourself a playlist.
- Stay social. We are all social beings so make sure you stay in contact with others. Use the phone. Or Facetime or Skype a friend. If you are able to be of service to others, even if it’s just picking up shopping for a vulnerable neighbour, then do so. It’s good for society and your mental health.
- Shut out negativity. It can be so hard to escape the constant onslaught of bad news. But don’t keep studying the latest figures – and avoid fixating on all those ‘what ifs’. Concentrate on the things you can control. Accept that you will have good moments and bad – and above all, be kind to yourself.
If you need to talk, contact us on 01925 752264 – the phone line isn’t manned though you can leave a message and we will contact you as soon as possible.