5 ways to look after your mental health during lock-down

We are coming to the end of the first two weeks in lock-down in the UK and honestly, at times it can be hard.

I know that other people have it worse than me.

I know that key workers are having to go into work whilst I can work safely from home.

I know that millions are home schooling their children, whilst attempting to work full time, whilst I don’t have kids.

I know I’m probably one of the lucky ones in many respects.

But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have days where I’m struggling, where I’m missing friends and family, where I’m anxious about the coronavirus and whether I or anyone I care about will get it, where I’m worried about when this will all end. 

So I wanted to write a post on some tactics I have used on days where I feel sad, or anxious. I know there are thousands of posts like this online at the moment, but it helps to get my thoughts down and if this helps just one person, then I’m happy.

5 ways to look after your mental health during lock-down

1. Write down your thoughts and feelings

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Everyone is different, but for me, writing down my thoughts and feelings really helps. This blog is an outlet for me, and posts like this help me to manage my anxiety. You could try writing a blog, or writing your thoughts and feelings down in a notebook or diary. Writing down your thoughts and feelings before bed could help you to relax and get to sleep easier. 

2. Go for a run / walk / bike ride (if you can)

woman running in a park
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At the moment, we are lucky enough to be able to go outside once a day for exercise. Make use of this time and make sure you go outside everyday.  Getting outside is good for your mental health, as long as you follow the current government social distancing guidelines.

For me, running does wonders for my mental health and I always feel much better after I run. I’m trying to run every other day, between 4-6 miles – so under an hour. This is just enough to give me some exercise and help my mental health, without putting pressure on my body and immune system. If running isn’t your thing, then a walk or a bike ride (if you have a bike) will also do the trick.

And, if you can’t leave your home or are self-isolating, then sitting in the garden or next to an open window to get some air/sunlight can do wonders for your well-being.  There are also many free online workouts you can do at home for some exercise. 

3. Try and relax 

woman reading a book beside the window
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Find something that helps you to relax and do that as often as you can. Whether it’s escaping in a good book, listening to music, playing a game, watching a film or having a hot bubble bath, schedule some time in your day for YOU.

For me, at the moment this is Yoga. I have recently gotten into Yoga, as I find it great for managing my anxiety and stress, It is also great for my back. Since lock-down started, I have been doing the 30 days of Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube and I’m really getting into it. 

Meditation can also be great for managing anxiety – apps such as Headspace are offering free content to help people struggling with stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus.

4. Keep in contact with friends / family

woman holding phone keep in contact
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Keeping in contact with friends and family over the phone, social media or video chat can be a good way to help keep your spirits up. It’s important to stay social. Socially distant doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stay in touch and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!

I have had several video chats with friends via Zoom, and I’ve seen many people hosting quizzes, dinner parties, art and fitness classes virtually. You can even watch shows at the same time as friends virtually via Netflix

5. Learn a new skill

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Learning a new skill, or taking up a new hobby, whether it be learning a new language, a musical instrument or painting can really help with anxiety, as it requires concentration and focus. This helps to take your mind off other things and can also give you purpose in your day.

There are so many free resources available online to help with learning a new skill, and now is the perfect time to do it. You could even use this time during lock-down to take up a course in something to help you in your personal or professional life. 

If you are still feeling anxious or stressed during this time, I would say this is completely normal. It’s important to limit the time you spend reading the news and looking at content related to coronavirus on social media, as this can make anxiety worse, 

For more information on looking after your mental health during lock-down, see the Mind website and the bacp site.

Look after yourself and stay safe, 

Louise X

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