Whilst looking after your physical health is key – handwashing, exercise etc Looking after your mental health is so important too!!
These are uncertain times and that can be stressful. Stress whilst good in smaller doses (it can be motivating and encourage us to plan and prepare) can be detrimental if it takes over. You can take simple steps to ensure your wellbeing is taken care of!
There’s some great information out there from reputable sources about managing your mental health and wellbeing specifically during the Coronavirus outbreak. :
If you have to isolate – communicate in other ways. Facetime/Skype your friends and family and keep that communication going. We are all in this together and no one should have to feel alone. Physically isolate to keep safe but don’t socially isolate. With all the modern technology we have these days we can be more social able than ever whilst sat in our own homes. Phone those friends you never get around to calling, find out what they have been up to these last few months. Make sure you are a member of the York Mumbler chat group on Facebook. Support and advice for parenting issues is always available from the local network of Mumblers and it’s invaluable at times like this to not feel alone.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing mental ill health. FACT. Your usual exercise options might not be possible right now if isolating but there’s still plenty of exercise opportunity. Cleaning / gardening, both productive tasks and great exercise! Fitness DVD’s / youtube exercise videos can all be done in the comfort of your living room. Bicep curls with all those stockpiled tins. If you have a garden this offer more opportunity and depending on space could allow for a power walk or mini game of football with the kids.
Strike a Healthy Balance
Staying on top of the news is important with guidance changing rapidly day to day. HOWEVER, this can become ever consuming. With access to news feeds 24/7 via our tv’s and phones it can be hard to escape. Limiting your exposure can be helpful to achieve a balance. This allows you to focus on the here and now, day to day life, your family and all the many good/happy things that are still going on in the world (and will continue to go on). Tuning in to a daily round up or having 10 minutes to read the summary updates on the news apps will ensure you are up to date with what you should / shouldn’t be doing and the next steps to take.
Routine is important. Having a planned structure can help people feel more motivated to achieve tasks if they have planned to do them beforehand. Writing it down helps, it makes you feel more committed to stick to the routine. Build in meal times (meal ideas HERE), exercise, playtime (things to do at home with the kids HERE), relax time, jobs/chores, home education with the kids if appropriate (online educational resources HERE) etc
Focus on the Positives
It sounds odd to say such a thing, what positives?! but they can ALWAYS be found! This strange scerio presents us with all sorts of opportunities, if feeling well but self isolation is required:
Deep clean the house (as a mum of 3 this NEVER happens and i can’t wait to have the time to blitz!)
DIY – all those odd jobs around the home that you never get around to doing, do them if you can! Decorating & gardening are top of our list!
The gift of time! Time to read a book, time to have a long bath, time to watch a film or get through a box set!
The opportunity to be together as a family. Listen to your children read. Play with them. Enjoy them!
Learn a new skill – with the internet now we can learn so much virtually. Learn to knit / crochet. Learn an instrument or even learn a language!
If it’s a sunny british summer (you never know, it could happen!) then self isolation may allow the opportunity to soak up some rays in the garden with the paddling pool out and the bbq on.
A cold brisk walk in the winter can also be great medicine!
Obviously, some of us will feel unwell and these tasks may not be appropriate but a good book or some films/boxset will hopefully still be enjoyable and manageable.
Having a breathing technique in your toolkit can be handy to pull out if you were to ever need it. The NHS explains a nice simple technique on their website. Practice it at home at times when you are not in need and then you will have it up your sleeve to pull out if you ever felt anxiety creeping in.
A concept that can be very beneficial for mental health. It takes practice to develop the skill to be mindful. There’s a lot of information online if you wished to dive deeper!
“It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much. Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing.”
In summary mindfulness is about noticing what is actually happening right now. Fully immersing yourself in the moment and noticing all aspects of it. We have busy lives. We walk through the park, checking our email on our phone, thinking about what we need from the shops and what to cook the little ones for tea. Our minds never stop, but they need to! They need a break! Next time you walk through the park, immerse yourself in the present. Notice the sights, sounds and smells. The birds chirping, the leaves rustling, the squirrel running up the tree. Feel the breeze on your cheeks and smell the fresh air. Children are much better at being mindful. Younger children won’t be worrying about the mortgage or the library book that needs returning. They will be focused on the big puddle in front of them and the fantastic splashing sound it will make when they jump into it!
If you’re new to mindfulness, take small steps. Try a few minutes at a time. Immerse your in an experience, anything! Brushing your teeth, having a shower, playing with the children and absorb every sensory opportunity from that experience. Your mental health will thank you for it and you will create special, longer lasting memories along the way.
Help is there if you need it:
Ask your family or friends for help and support. See the NHS WEBSITE for a list of mental health helplines, help is always there if you need it.
Taken from @thehappynewspaper. A great escape from the doom and gloom news, happy stories and smiles: