How to look after your mental health in lockdown
As we face a second national lockdown we know exactly what’s coming our way, a return to self-isolating, working remotely, and a drop in face-to-face interaction. Just like back in March, it’s so important to look after your mental health a second time around, remembering what you learnt the first time around we’re here to remind you to prioritise yourself.
From seeing your colleagues and socialising every day to working remotely and, for the most part, being housebound can have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing. This time is challenging in lots of different ways and as we move from much more freedom over the summer to having our freedom’s limited one more, we’ve got some tips for looking after yourself this November.
For most people, human contact is a basic instinct but even when self-isolating we can keep in contact with people in other ways. For work, this might mean moving meetings to Zoom, for friends this might mean having 5-way Facetimes to catch up. If you’re worried you might run out of things to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss with each other virtually.
If you’re worried about loneliness at home then think about your environment and the things that connect you with people. You could put up extra photos to remind you of the people in your life or listen to radio and podcasts if your environment feels too quiet.
Keep a routine
Try and keep your normal routine as much as possible. Getting up at the same time, following your normal morning routines and going to bed at your usual time. If you’re in lockdown but not working think about how you’ll spend time alone. Plan activities to do on different days and try out those new hobbies you’ve been meaning to try.
Build physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising at home can be simple and there are lots of options for all ages and activities: dance to your favourite song, try some seated exercises or use online workouts. Spending time in green space or welcoming nature into your everyday life can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing by improving your mood, reduce feelings of stress, and make you feel more relaxed. This is especially important this time around, as the days grow shorter and darker take advantage of the hours you can get outside for some fresh air and light skies!
Limit your news intake
2020 has been a year like no other. In these challenging times, it’s easy to fall into the never-ending cycle of breaking news, with new figures announced hourly and new articles published every minute, it can become overwhelming. Staying connected with current events is important but make sure to also give yourself some time away. Dedicating a couple of hours in the evening before bed to have a news-free zone can help with anxiety.
Be careful where you get your health news from, a forum to date advice always check the NHS Coronavirus webpage and the Government webpages.
Social media can help you stay in touch with people but it might also make you feel anxious when people are sharing their worries. It’s easy to get stuck in the unlimited scroll and the habit of constantly refreshing, take some time to step away, the news will still be there afterwards.
Be honest about how you’re feeling
Whilst we’re in a lockdown, how we’re feeling can become amplified by a sense of loneliness and change. Being open and honest about how you’re feeling with colleagues, friends, family, and partners can help relieve some of the stress.