Our everyday lives have become uncertain and debilitated within weeks. It is crucial that we remember two things; this is not permanent, and we are not alone. Every single person is being affected by the global pandemic in one way or another- some increasingly more than others, and that is why unity, resilience and support for one another is crucial.
Looking after your mental wellbeing
Social distancing may be boring, frustrating and lonely. You may find your mood and feelings are affected and you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping and you might miss being outside with other people.
At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as:
- look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website
- spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes
- try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs
- keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or get outside for one walk/jog a day.
How so we stay connected with family and friends during this time?
Draw on support you might have through your friends, family and other networks during this time. Try to stay in touch with those around you over the phone, by post, or online. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine. This is also important in looking after your mental wellbeing and you may find it helpful to talk to them about how you are feeling.
Remember it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust, and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too. Or you can use a NHS recommended helpline.
Amidst all the stress, we need to keep those endorphins alive- and not just by eating chocolate! Workouts are accessible for us to do from home, from workout DVDS to YouTube videos. If you don’t have time for these, see this ten minute workout provided by NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/10-minute-workouts/ . Always get up and take regular breaks from sitting at your laptop and stretch- we are currently permitted to have one jog a day.
Always ensure you are reading a source of information that you can trust. While the temptation is to turn to social media for the latest breaking news, getting information from a reliable source is important. Both the World Health Organisation (WHO), The UK Government and the NHS have pages set up to report the latest stats and guidance.
Whether its donating to shelters and charities, volunteering at the NHS, doing a shop for your elderly neighbour, or even just staying home and abiding social distancing. This is you doing your bit, thank you.
Most of us have mobile phones next to us all day, and the temptation to check every notification can be overpowering. Instead why not check your settings and turn off notifications for your news apps. Or even, review which apps are sending updates and uninstall them. If you wish to stay informed, set some time aside each morning and evening, to log onto the internet.
It is very easy to forget to have a well-balanced meal when we are stressed or anxious – but cooking can help detract from negative thoughts and ensure that you eat well. If you are not into cooking, then maybe ask a loved one or friend if they will help you. Sharing the task and talking about what you are cooking can help take your mind off your worries.
Making time in your day to do the things you enjoy is a good way to distract yourself from the news cycle. Some may feel like taking time out for ourselves is pointless, as we are already restricted from socialising with our friends and family- but carrying on routine and taking the time out to do things you enjoy maintains a healthy structure and will give you escapism from the worries and stress of external factors. Take an hour out of your day to go for a walk or maybe find somewhere quiet to sit with a book. Turn off the TV and enjoy crossing off a few books from your reading list.
As a community, we must focus on the positives and look forwards whilst looking after ourselves and each other. Please keep well.