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We are all facing lifestyle changes, some of which will be temporary and others that we will no doubt adopt for the future. It can be tough to stay positive and as such is it more important than ever to manage our mental health and general wellbeing to help ourselves and others get through the weeks or months ahead. We need to be ready to bounce back once life returns to normal and there are many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing and mental health to ensure we are able to.
For anyone struggling during this difficult time, we have some top tips to share with you and hope that they will go some way in supporting your mental health and wellbeing over the coming weeks.
It has never been more important to practice self-care. Simple patterns such as spending your day in pyjamas or sleeping late is very easy to adopt and can be difficult to shake off, however, sticking to a daily routine and practicing self-care can make all the difference and improve the way you feel about yourself. Routines can feel dull but waking up, sleeping, and eating healthily at regular times will help you to manage your days and help you to adjust when life returns to normal. You may know this already but keeping hydrated helps to maintain the function of every system in your body, including your brain so having 8 glasses of water a day will go a long way.
Staying connected during a time like this is important for your wellbeing and relationships are key to mental health. It allows people to feel supported, less anxious, and less stressed. If people feel as if they are in a situation together it gives a feeling of hope and eventually knowing that they will get through it together. Practicing social distancing and for those who are self-isolating will find this time very difficult but there are ways to connect digitally with friends, family, and colleagues. Thanks to technology we have a plethora of apps, websites, and online games for one-to-one communication, group activities, or a good old-fashioned phone call.
You may feel distress and anxiety with the coverage of the current health crisis in the news and the media. With this in mind, you should take note of how this makes you feel, and it may help to restrict the amount of news you follow or to limit your sources to just one or two. It is just as important to choose a reliable source and to avoid any false news that may have negative effects on your mental health.
Keeping active is really good for mental as well as physical well-being and can have great effects on boosting your mood. Being active is a great way to break up your day, through running, walking, or a nice afternoon jog (staying 2m away from others) there are so many ways to keep active while social distancing. Not everyone will have a garden or a green space where they live, and it may be difficult without gyms or sports, but you can make the most of exercises from the comfort of your home. Again, technology has enabled the participation of not only online group exercises but simply following exercise routines of instructors on the web, and if the heart racing form of exercise is not for you, there are online yoga classes you can join in too.
It helps to manage anxiety and will help you to adapt more quickly to this current reality. Create clear distinctions between work and non-work time, ideally in both your physical workspace and your head space. Find something to do that is not work and is not virus-related that brings you joy. Working in short bursts with clear breaks will help to maintain your clarity of thought.
Learning something new is a great way to uplift your wellbeing. If there is something you are interested in, willing to learn or maybe you have had to put on the backburner, now is a great opportunity to gain knowledge and boost your existing skills. There are several free online courses available from websites such as Open Learn, Coursera or apps like Duolingo where you can learn a new language. Learning something new also boots self-confidence and helps us to connect with like-minded people.
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens according to The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques are great methods for managing effects of mental health such as anxiety, concern, and depression and can help to improve our mental wellbeing. Simple things from lighting scented candles to reading a book can help you to switch off and refresh your mind and body. Stretching your relaxation muscles or having a long soak in the bath are other ways to unwind. These practices can help you to regulate your emotions and can also help you to make better decisions.
Stay home, stay safe and keep well.