During this time of lockdown and social distancing, with the vast majority of people at home, it’s never been more important to look after your mental wellbeing as well as your health.
For some people, being at home during the day will be normal, particularly for those that are retired or looking after children. However, for a lot of people, this will be quite a change from the usual day-to-day life. Once the novelty of being at home has worn off, you may find yourself wondering how to keep some sense of normality.
Here are some top tips to help you keep busy, keep well and manage your mental health.
Have a routine
A lot of people find having a routine important. From getting up at the same time each day, following the same morning routine as much as possible, but what about after that? Whether you live alone or with others, why not set a plan for the week?
What activities you’ll be doing consistently every day? e.g. your daily form of exercise
Plan different activities for different days
Make a list of jobs you need to do around the house – some people find ticking things off a list gives them a sense of achievement
Having a sort out – if you’re not working from home, this is a great time to catch up on those jobs you’ve meaning to do for a while. Organising cupboards, cleaning the oven, sorting the garage, organising paperwork and bills – the list is endless
Have a digital clear out. If you’ve got hundreds of emails sat in your inbox, why not spend some time organising or deleting emails you don’t need.
Sorting your finances – whether you’ve got an insurance renewal coming up, need to speak to your mortgage company about a payment holiday or just filing paperwork, now is a great time to sort these jobs. Remember that phone lines are likely to be very busy at the moment, particularly for mortgage companies, so be patient.
Cleaning – just keeping on top of the chores will help, but if you love a bit of cleaning get your dusters and Dettol out and give the house a deep clean.
Find ways to relax or be creative
Whether you’ve now got a full household, or you’re used to being out and about, finding some activities to keep your occupied or relaxed at home will really help maintain a sense of well being
Arts and Crafts – many people find they need a creative outlet so think about activities you might enjoy. This could be painting, drawing, upcycling old furniture, knitting, crocheting and much more. You can order supplies online.
DIY – if you enjoy a spot of decorating or you’ve got a list of odd jobs to do around the house, now is a great time to get on top of the DIY
Playing music – for those of you that are musically inclined, picking up an instrument, singing or listening to music will be a great way to get creative or relax
Mindfulness and meditation – taking time out to relax and shut off from everything that’s going on can be really helpful. If you’ve got children at home, it can be difficult to find time for yourself, but even if it’s ten minutes when the kids are all in bed, it can be beneficial. There’s lots of mindfulness apps out there.
Yoga is a great way to exercise gently and focus on your breathing. Many people find it reduces stress and anxiety as well as feeling more grounded
Gardening – if you love tending to plants, now is a great time to start seeding plants ready for the summer. You could even think about growing your own veg. You don’t need to head out to the local garden centre or DIY store, you can buy seeds, compost etc online
Create a list of movies or boxsets – maybe you’ve never seen Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, now might be a great time to make a list and tick off all of the TV shows and movies you’ve been wanting to watch, but previously, not had the time to do so.
For some, not being able to see friends or family could become quite lonely, so it’s important to stay connected. And with all the tech we’re surrounded with, doing so with video calls through Facetime or What’s app or zoom is a doddle.
Make a bucket list
One idea that has been trending on social media is creating your very own bucket list for when life returns to normal and we’re no longer in lockdown or social distancing. Think about all the things you currently miss doing, what are the things you want to do as soon as you’re able to?
Maybe it’s visiting all the friends and family you’ve not seen and giving them a much-needed hug, maybe a visit to the beach, going to the pub for dinner, going for a walk without having to cross the road. Whatever it is, write them on a small piece of paper, fold them up and stick them in a jar or container. Then when life returns to normal, pick one out and go and do it. This will give you something positive to focus on.
Keeping your mind active
Remember to keep your brain active and challenged by setting aside time for reading, doing puzzles or watching films. There are lots of free brain training apps for smart phones. You could learn a new skill or language. What about setting up your own blog? Writing about your experiences during this period of isolation could be quite cathartic and entertaining for others, particularly if you keep it light and positive.
Managing your media intake
Whilst it can be useful to keep a watchful eye on the news, for some people it can trigger anxiety and be very overwhelming. Take a look at the MIND website they have some great advice with news and information. You can find out more here.
To keep informed, use reputable sources such as the BBC or the Government websites.