On Monday night (23rd March 2020), as part of a televised address Boris Johnson announced that, in effect, the country was going into lockdown. All non-essential businesses must close, everyone should stay at home, we can go to the shops for groceries but only when an absolute necessity and we can go out for one form of exercise a day. This is all whilst trying to maintain a 2metre distance from others. It was a historic and extraordinary demand which has led to concern amongst many and a societal shift.
During this three-week isolation, we will be spending a lot of time in our homes and we won’t be able to socialise in the same way we usually do. So, now more than ever it is important we’re looking after our mental health as much as possible. We are going to go through periods of anxiety, low mood and for some depression. So, it is important to acknowledge this and make a conscious effort to protect our mental health and wellbeing.
Know that when it comes to looking after our mental health different things work for different people and we shouldn’t be discouraged or put off if what works for someone else doesn’t work for us.
So, what can we do to look after our mental health?
Take Time Out, taking time out is just as important as keeping ourselves busy. It is easy to become consumed with what others are doing and thinking we should be doing the same. Taking some time out for yourself will help you to feel calmer and focus on the present. Just sitting in another room or stepping outside your front door for a few minutes will allow you to escape the constant updates from social media and TV.
Be Creative, even if you are working from home, in your free time express your creative side. When you do something creative like drawing or a jigsaw it can help to focus your mind, allowing your brain to switch off from what is going on in the world or causing you anxiety. Being creative doesn’t have to be something you do on your own either or creative in the traditional sense. You could be creative with your whole family whilst making your tea. Get everyone involved and make some homemade pizzas with all the random ingredients you’ve got in. Not only will this allow you switch off for a while but it will bring everyone together and encourage you to listen and spend quality time with one another.
Stay Positive, whilst the idea of staying positive might be challenging at the minute it is important to actively try to. Allowing negative and worrying thoughts to overwhelm you will be detrimental to your own mental health but could also have a negative effect on those you are isolating with. Try to take some practical steps to staying positive, this might be writing down each day what has inspired you as a result of this global pandemic, or just simply listening to music which lifts you up. You could get everyone in your house involved, impromptu dancing can be both funny and uplifting, contributing to your positive mental health.
Keep in Contact, while in isolation is it vital to keep in contact with the family and friends you aren’t getting to see. By making a call or sending them a message it lets them know you are thinking about them and you can talk to them about how you are feeling and share how you are coping. In this time where we are restricted to our homes keeping in touch with people is so important in looking after our mental health and wellbeing.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas as to how to look after your mental health during this time and if you have any more please share them in the comments section below so we can all work towards looking after out mental health during this challenging time.
If you are looking for more information or resources to look after your mental health and wellbeing visit the websites below: