Looking after your own wellbeing is your number one priority
It’s only natural to be worried about our mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic with constant negative news in the media, worries about finances and the concerns about the health of loved ones. On top of all of that, being asked to stay at home, and consequently being forced to be alone can also be very stressful and take a toll on our mental health. But there are lots of things to can do to make your days a little easier.
If things start to feel overwhelming, it’s important to acknowledge these feelings. Whether you feel down and lethargic, feel lonely being confined within your home or feeling bored, once acknowledged, you can try to overcome them.
What can you do to stay positive?
Start by focus on the things you do have control over like your own hygiene, eating healthily, keeping active and sleeping well. Try to not let the pressures of keeping your hands clean become overwhelming, follow the guidelines of washing your hands for 20 seconds and plan an activity to complete once finished like making a hot drink.
Make healthy and nutritious meals to keep you satisfied throughout the day. A balanced meal should contain carbs, protein and vegetables, but if you’d like to indulge in a treat, do! Keep drinking too, from water to your favourite herbal tea, but keep alcohol to a minimum.
Keeping active is also important to help both your physical and mental health. Dust off an old exercise DVD or delve into the world of YouTube. If that isn’t for you, simply start the day with some stretches and breathing to wake up your body, or try yoga.
A good night’s sleep is vital to making sure you’re ready to face the day. It may be tempting to stay up late watching series and films but by keeping to your usual bedtime, you’ll feel rested in the morning and ready to tackle the day with a new perspective.
Follow your usual routine
When not following your usually routine, you may find yourself gaining unhealthy habits, which may make you feel worse.
If you are now working from home, get ready as if you were going to your workplace. Instead of your commute, make the most of this gained time; go for a walk or do some yoga. It’s important to get dressed when working from home, although it may be tempting to stay in your pyjamas, as this helps your mind adjust.
Start your day by making a small list of things you’d like to achieve. Make a to do list and tick something off each day, no matter how small. From making sure you get key tasks completed while working from home, or if it’s something that you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t got around to it (like clearing out your cutlery drawer), ticking off the tasks at the end of the day can give you a sense of accomplishment.
Doing a bit of spring cleaning around the home can also make you feel calmer. But, if you aren’t feeling up to anything today, that’s totally okay, too – just rest with a good book.
Reconnect with nature
Spending time in green spaces or with nature is known to help improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed. But that may not sound so easy when you are self-isolating, indoors, but there are ways you can bring the outdoors, in.
Keep your windows open to bring in fresh air, introduce potted plants to your living areas and move your favourite chair so you’re able to look out of your window and listen to the birds tweeting.
If you are well enough to do so, take a walk outdoors, but remember to stay 2 meters away from others.
If you are really struggling with your mental health, reach out to a loved one to talk through your thoughts and feelings. Skype or other video calls are a great way to feel connected. If you’d rather talk to someone else, call the Samaritans on 116 123.
There’s also lots of advice out there to support both you and your loved ones through these unprecedented times. Charities like Mind have released some valuable tips to help you manage anxiety and stresses, or try apps like Headspace to guide you through breathing and meditation.
Remember, we’re all in this together.
Last updated: 10 April 2020