Things you can do for your mental health during coronavirus lockdown
Many people are concerned about coronavirus and the impact that it is having on their lives. These are uncertain and challenging times that we are living through, which are leading to worries not only about our own health but that of our family and friends. There are concerns about our jobs and businesses, and of course keeping our homes and paying bills due to a lack of income. The latter can particularly have a big effect on mental health. Some people are in self-isolation which means they need to stay at home and keep away from others, and others are either working from home or unable to work and have limited ways of socialising. This can lead to feelings of boredom, frustration, loneliness, worry, anxiety or just feeling ‘down’. During this time of lockdown, it’s equally important to look after the mind as well as the body.
Staying positive and keeping your mind healthy during coronavirus
In this blog we look at things that you can do to help keep your mind healthy and to stay positive as well as providing some helpful links where you can find more information. One important message is to remind yourself that this is a temporary situation, one that has been set into motion to help control the spread of COVID-19 and with time your feelings and emotions should fade. All the measures that are being implemented by the Government are to protect not only you but also others, including your family and friends. It is perfectly normal to have concerns, worries and some anxiety about the coronavirus outbreak.
8 ways to support your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus lockdown
In this blog we look at things that you can do to help keep your mind healthy and to stay positive as well as providing some helpful links where you can find more information. One important message is to remind yourself that this is a temporary situation, one that has been set into motion to help control the spread of COVID-19, and with time your feelings and emotions should fade. All the measures that are being implemented by the Government are to protect not only you but also others, including your family and friends. It is perfectly normal to have concerns, worries and some anxiety about the coronavirus outbreak.
1. Check your employment rights and entitlements to benefits
The Government is continually updating the financial support that business owners can claim in regard to paying their staff, as well as help that is available to those who have lost their jobs because of coronavirus and packages for the self-employed. To make finding this information easier, we have pulled together summaries of the support measures available from the Government:
Click here for a summary of the support for businesses
Click here for more information on the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Click here for a summary of the support for the self-employed
2. Keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology there are lots of ways to keep in touch digitally. Make plans to have a phone call or video chat with those you are in contact with regularly but also reach out to those you wouldn’t normally see or speak too. Everyone is finding the situation difficult and will be delighted to keep in touch. The key to this isn’t doing it on an ad-hoc basis but keeping in regular contact to keep the conversation going.
“Sometimes it is a great joy just to listen to someone we love talking” – Vincent McNabb
If you are worried about running out of things to talk about, make a plan to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other. Or why not play a game virtually? This can be trickier but not impossible!
3. Talk about your worries, concerns, and feelings
If you are worried about yourself, a loved one or somebody you know, there are many helplines and support groups that are available to you. Anxiety is a natural reaction but if you are struggling to cope with it, the NHS has tips and expert advice on their website.
4. Create a new daily routine which works for you and find ways to spend your time
The adjustment to spending time at home has been rapid and it’s important to try to stick to some sort of daily routine to give structure to your day. The key to this being most beneficial for your mental health is looking after yourself.
“Every day begins with an act of courage and hope: getting out of bed.” – Mason Cooley
Try to start your day at roughly the same time you usually would and give yourself an achievable list of things to do. There is probably a list of things which you have been putting off or not found the time to do, but if you are stuck here are some ideas:
- Taking the opportunity to do a job that you’ve been putting off like decluttering a space
- Sorting through your wardrobe and throwing out clothes that you no longer wear
- Perhaps you could learn a new skill or hobby such as; knitting, sewing, playing a musical instrument, cooking or baking.
You could even do some home improvements or decorating
5. Exercise once a day
The Government’s guidance is that you can leave the house for one form of exercise a day, for example for a run, walk or cycle. This is a good way of getting some fresh air and you can either go alone or with members of your household. If you want to exercise more than once a day, you could also follow online workouts.
“You have to exercise, or at some point you’ll just break down.” – Barack Obama
6. Find ways to relax and be creative
There are lots of ways you can relax, and different things will work for different people:
- Mindfulness can be a great technique for helping to manage day-to-day wellbeing. The theory behind mindfulness is that by using various exercises to center your thoughts
- Take a break. Relaxation doesn’t have to take up lots of time; taking time away from your normal routines and thoughts can give you enough distance from something stressful to help you feel calmer
- Try active relaxation. This links in with your one form of exercise; you could take a walk at your own pace giving you time to collect your thoughts and give you a sense of calm. You could choose to take a long walk but even a few minutes can help you feel relaxed
Being creative is a great way of relaxing, whether it be arts and crafts, DIY, colouring or writing
7. Eat healthily
Try and maintain a well-balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables. This could be a great time to try out new recipes and test your cooking skills by conjuring up a meal with just the ingredients you have in your cupboard or fridge. Shopping can be challenging at this time and you might be struggling to get your fresh produce at your supermarket so why not visit your local shops to see what they have to offer?
8. Keep your mind active
Set aside time in your routine to keep your brain occupied and challenged, whether that be by reading a book, completing a jigsaw or doing a crossword. There are so many possibilities. Although high-street shops are closed, why not see if your local independent bookstore, toy shop or general store are offering a delivery service?
What is the secret to maintaining mental health?
The secret behind keeping your mind healthy is you. Only you know what activity is going to work best for you and your mental health and you never know, you might find something you can continue after the lockdown has been lifted.
For more tips and information on mental health during the coronavirus lockdown visit Mind website, Mental Health Foundation website, or the NHS website.