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Looking After Your Mental Health During Covid-19

With the Government’s recent announcement telling us all to stay at home apart from essential needs, it has led to feelings of ongoing uncertainty and worry and impacted all our lives by changing our daily routines. Many of us are adjusting to working from home, feeling unwell or trying to care for vulnerable family. During this time, it is of the upmost importance to be focusing on our mental and physical wellbeing to limit increased stress.
Ways to improve how you feel

Develop a new daily routine – As humans, most of us need a similar routine in order to function at our best. Spend some time coming up with a new plan of each day to follow including mealtimes, exercise and work. This structure can hold yourself accountable, break the day up and ensure you are still being productive whilst at home. Simple things such as getting up early, showering and changing into fresh clothes will set you up positively for the rest of the day.

Avoid constant media and news exposure – Limit the time you spend watching news coverage each day. It’s tempting to want a constant commentary, but this can have a negative effect on your mood and increase anxiety. There are lots of different outlets and opinions especially on social media, which often don’t have the correct information resulting in confusion. Try and only look at confirmed sources such as the government website, once or twice a day.

Create a functional workspace – It’s important to create a space to work in your home which is comfortable and practical for you to work at your best. Try to limit distractions and have everything you need within reach. Start each day with a to do list and allocate time to each task, as if you were in the office.

Daily exercise and fresh air are important – It is so important to do exercise each day, but especially now as we are all leading more sedentary lifestyles. If the government guidelines on social distancing are being followed, getting some fresh air for a walk or jog each day will make you feel a lot better within yourself. You can also do home workouts or consider starting yoga! Exercising is proven to help eliminate low mood, anxiety and feeling tired.

Connections with family and friends – As a lot of our usual social and leisure activities have been cancelled, we need to adapt and use technology where we can stay in touch, so we don’t feel isolated form the world. Reach out and talk about how you are feeling. Organise video calls with family (especially vulnerable ones) and make use of group chats and games with friends. Share TV series and book recommendations to help keep each other occupied.

Keep busy – use as an opportunity to get things done – Use all this extra time at home in a positive way and declutter and organise! Do all those tasks that you usually don’t have the time for or put off. A tidy space can help to relax and clear your mind. Setting goals builds your self-esteem and gives you a sense of achievement.

Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation techniques – If you don’t already, now is the time to start! Apps such as Headspace and Calm are an excellent starting point and you only need to set aside 10 minutes each day.
There are also lots of free resources online which are available to you.

Practice good sleep hygiene – Periods of uncertainty and worry can often bring on or exacerbate anxiety or depression. Both can have a big impact on sleep, either getting too much or too little. Try to establish a regular bedtime routine waking and sleeping at the same time. Following this each night will send signals to your brain that you are preparing to sleep. An hour before you plan on going to bed, stop the use of all screens including your mobile phone. Instead, try reading, journaling or listening to calming music. It’s important to try and use your bedroom as a place to sleep, use another space to work and watch television.