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Looking after your mental health as lockdown continues

Recent news ensures that we’re all going to be at home quite a lot over the coming months, cold weather notwithstanding. Being cooped up for such a long time is bound to take its toll on your mental health irrespective of your personal circumstances.

We all took inventory of our sense of self at the start of the pandemic, but perhaps we need a little reminder that self-care is chief as we tackle limiting the spread of the virus. 

Here are a few tips to help you take care of yourself and those close to you over the next few months.

mental health

The “c-word”

If you’ve found previous e-mails, texts and picture messaging have been taken over by talk of the current situation, it’s time to review your involvement. It’s important to check in on loved ones, but we might do more harm than good sometimes by feeding each other’s stress and concerns. 

You may want to discuss implementing some boundaries amongst yourselves – sometimes you might want to suggest a five-minute coronavirus catch-up before parking it, or muting chat threads when you feel overwhelmed by it. You might consider a similar policy at home, too. Designate the bedroom as a COVID-talk-free zone to maintain your wellbeing at the start and end of each day.  

Give hobbies your time

It seems as though we must be constantly grafting to keep ourselves afloat but it’s crucial to spend time enjoying things that fire our passions. Infusing our day-to-day with a little novelty right now can only be a good thing, so devote some time to something you love, or indulge yourself in a new hobby that relaxes.  

… and learn something new 

By no means should you put a bunch of pressure on yourself to be productive or concentrate on ~self-improvement~ during a literal pandemic. But for some people, focusing on a new challenge is a welcome distraction. 

Stick to the basics 

Accept that there’ll be good days and bad days, because it’s okay. Once you’re reassured, endeavouring to carry out basic self-care is well worth doing when you can.

By basic, we mean having a wash every day, staying hydrated, eating often and well, having enough exercise and a regular-ish bedtime. Set alarms or write reminders in your diary if you think it’d help, but bear in mind that sometimes you’ll need to stay up late and catch up on the news or have a lie-in, which is all fine. 

You can try again tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up

COVID-chic

LinkedIn and the broadsheet papers would have you believe that getting dressed in office wear every day is the only way to be productive, which we emphatically disagree with.

Getting dressed and prepared for your workday by your usual start time is important but wearing a tie or heels might not be how you’re most productive (and we suspect that it isn’t).  

Adventure is out there 

Social distancing doesn’t have to mean total seclusion – just be smart. Going out for a walk will do wonders for your wellbeing, and hopefully you can enjoy a tasty drink or snack from a COVID-safe local business as you wander. 

Keep close 

Fostering social connections will never be more important than it is now. We’re all having up day and down days, but try to stick to social commitments – jump onto the family Zoom call or return a text when you can.

Being alone can be good for us, but we’re social creatures and you need to do a little leg-work to not suffer the effects of being isolated.

DIY time!

We regularly make suggestions for home improvements, and we suspect that like us, more time at home has you supremely irritated by the things you perceive as not quite right in the home.

Addressing these issues with a lick of paint, organisation overhaul or caulking tube can do wonders for your mental health when it’s hard to achieve much else. If you’re quite happy with your home harmony right now or low on funds, moving the furniture around might do wonders for your perspective!

Take it easy

You wouldn’t want your loved ones to give themselves a hard time during this unprecedented situation, so afford yourself some compassion to get through this.

Many media outlets will be telling you how to spend your time (this blog included!), how you can remain productive while working from home, projects and goals you can easily smash now you have all this time.

That won’t necessarily be the case, so do what you can to keep your mind healthy and person cared for, but don’t feel obliged to pretend everything is normal. Everything is not normal, but we’re all in it together.

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