With COVID-19 dominating everything we do at the moment, it is important that as well as looking after our physical health by following the government guidelines, we also look after our mental health.
Since the lockdown began just over four weeks ago, a lot of us have been spending more time at home than we ever imagined and our social calendars have dwindled away to nothing. Throw into the mix money stresses, constant news updates, home schooling, working from home, being furloughed, worrying about friends and family and fear of going shopping, it comes as no surprise that a lot of people’s stress and anxiety levels are through the roof.
Stress and Anxiety are a perfectly normal response to our circumstances at the moment, but it’s important that we try to limit the impact lockdown is having on us both physically and emotionally. Anxiety and stress in large doses have both been shown to have a negative effect on our immune system, the very last thing we need at the moment.
So, we wanted to share some tips with you to ensure you are managing your mental health whilst stuck on lockdown:
Naturally, we want to stay on top of the latest developments and advice, but even if the news you are hearing is from a reputable source, reading it or hearing it over and over again is going to increase your levels of anxiety. Limit yourself to one session a day, we recommend the government’s daily update so you are presented with what is happening, rather than the speculation from the various different newspapers, social media feeds and gossip.
Never has it been easier to see your family and friends from the comfort of your own home thanks to the uprising in video call technology. It really has never been easier to be in the same room as someone you don’t live with. Being able to see someone’s face as you chat increases the connection you feel with them, and it might feel silly being sat there catching up over a coffee, but you will feel miles better for it and not quite as alone. Another idea is to host a quiz night with a group of you – with the winner setting the questions for the next quiz night (giving them something to do in the time between quizzes).
And no, I don’t mean Personal Trainer Style sessions with weights and burpees (unless you like that sort of thing!), use your allocated exercise time each day. Walk, cycle, run, get outside and get some fresh air. Look at the blossom, appreciate the blooming flowers, if you’re by a river feed the ducks, of course make sure you maintain a social distance from people, but appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Exercise and a daily dose of sunshine can do wonders for both your mental and physical well-being.
Physical Activity has been shown to be as effective in combatting some symptoms of depression as medication, so take the opportunity to be active when you can. There are lots of YouTube videos with different exercises you can do in the house, or you could even get energetic with your housework!
Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at weekends. This will help to regulate your body clock, and if you have been having trouble sleeping, this could work wonders for you. Wind down for bed an hour before by avoiding your phone and the TV and read a book or listen to some calming music.
When you are out of bed, shower, have set meal times, get dressed. All of these things will bring a sense of purpose to your day and a bit of structure may help the day go by that bit quicker.
- Take the time to do something for you
One thing that has been amazing about the lockdown is how the UK has united and everyone is doing what they can to help others, but don’t forget to help yourself!
There is bound to be something you have always wanted to try, but have never had the time, so why not give it a go now? We aren’t saying you need to write a novel, or learn a language, perhaps you have wanted to give painting a go, or perfect your baking skills – whatever it is, no matter how productive it is (or isn’t) have a go at it and have some fun along the way.
We aren’t professing to be experts in Mental Health here, we are just giving you some ideas from our own experiences. It’s a tough time at the moment, for everyone, so please do not feel like you are alone in your struggles – we are all in this together.
If you are really struggling with your metal health and you work in the Motor Trade, be sure to get in touch with Ben – Support for Life. Their team of experts will be well suited to assist you with looking after your mental health and wellbeing.
We hope you are all doing well and this blog has helped you in some way.