Humans are naturally social animals so it’s no surprise that Isolation is linked to lower mood and poor mental health. It can be hard to maintain relationships during a lockdown but they’re very important for our wellbeing.
Take time out of your day to talk to the people in your household, try using video call software to reach out to friends and colleagues or even just send a good old fashioned e-mail or text. Now could be a good time to join an online community too, if you have a hobby, chances are there are lots of other people who do too, why not join a forum or discussion group and make some new friends?
Exercise has been shown to increase mood and feelings of wellbeing in both the short and long-term. Getting the blood flowing releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins for a natural boost. Think how great you’ll look and feel when this is all over.
You are allowed one outside exercise session per day, it can be a great chance to get out of the house and see some nature (which also boosts mental wellbeing!). If you’re self-isolating and can’t leave the house, there are plenty of workouts you can do from your bedroom, your home gym or even your armchair!
Learning a new skill is a great way to boost your self-esteem and can give a sense of direction and purpose. Learning new skills also helps to keep your brain healthy and your mind active, fighting off those lockdown blues.
There are lots of free and accessible online courses for nearly anything you could be interested in. Learn a language, an instrument, a new recipe or a DIY job. It doesn’t matter what it is you learn, that’s up to you, just that you’re interested enough to keep it up and that it’s challenging enough to keep you engaged without being so difficult you give up. Don’t worry about earning certificates unless you want to, it should be fun, not a chore!
Acts of giving and simple kindness can increase your mood and give you a sense of purpose and self-worth. Plus, it makes someone else feel good too as an added bonus!
You can start small and reach out to help colleagues or friends who might just want someone to talk to. There are also plenty of volunteer schemes to get involved with if you’re symptom free and want to help with the crisis.
GoodSAM can help you find volunteering opportunities during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mindfulness is paying attention in the present moment: to your body, your thoughts, the world around you and how you’re feeling. It can boost mood and make you appreciate life more.
The lockdown will affect us all differently, pay attention to how you feel and take time each day to check in with yourself.
Connect, Get Active, Learn, Give and Pay Attention
If you do notice your mental health suffering, don’t feel like there’s nothing you can do. There are still plenty of services that are remaining open during this lockdown because mental health is just as important as physical health. If you don’t feel right, don’t feel like you have to suffer alone.
A final note: self-care is incredibly personal, and you should take these only as suggestions alongside things you know work well for you. None of us are obligated to come out of the end of this with new skills, a summer body, or anything else. If you keep yourself feeling well and functioning, you are doing well in this stressful time.