Whether you are self-isolating for medical needs or socially distancing, being at home all day can be stressful. It is important to stay physically and emotionally well during this time.
Here are ten things you can do to promote your overall wellbeing:
1. Be up to date - Know what the latest is, using reliable sources such as the BBC and the NHS. Try to limit how much news you watch / read to once or twice a day.
Being up to date with the news and guidelines will help you to protect yourself and those you live with from coronavirus. Limit yourself to checking the news once or twice a day, and only use a reliable source like BBC news or NHS websites. Constantly watching, listening or reading news is likely to cause unnecessary worry and disrupt your quality of life.
2. Be active – Great for mind and body. Find ways to keep physically active that are suitable to your ability and circumstances e.g. gardening or home-based exercise.
Keeping active is good for your physical health, and a great way to look after your mental health too. Move around as much as possible and add in activities which raise your heart rate (ideally for about 30 mins per day, but you can break this into 10 min blocks). There are lots of virtual classes online or via social media, which can be a great solution if you don’t like to exercise alone. If ‘exercise’ isn’t your thing many day to day activities can help you to get or stay fit if you do them energetically (going up and down stairs, digging in the garden, cleaning windows etc). Pick something that suits your level of fitness and that you find fun - the more you enjoy it the more likely you are to do it. Try to involve other people to do it with you or keep you accountable! Set up challenges for yourself and others (e.g. who can do the most steps whilst being in the house!)
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3. Be connected - Know who you need to stay in contact with for help with getting things done or just a general chat. This could include family, friends, local faith or community groups. Find new ways to connect with them such as video calling.
Connections to other people are important, particularly in challenging times. Finding ways to connect with people that you already know can provide practical support when you need it, and keeps you connected with life beyond the home. Developing relationships with new people or services can also help keep you safe and well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or wait until something goes wrong to develop your support system – develop it now so that it is there when you need it. Be creative in how to connect – now is the time to learn how to video call or use social media to connect with friends and family, or to get familiar with using the phone or text messages.
Find out more or contact Herts Help.
4. Be prepared - Think about what you are going to need and make a plan. You can make daily, weekly, and monthly plans to help get the things you need, e.g. food, medicines, magazines.
As we adjust to living in our new circumstances there will be things we need to do differently. Preparation will be vital for living well. Listing what you need on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and making a plan for how you are going to meet those needs will help. For example, if you usually rely on a relative to take you shopping but that’s not possible at the moment, ask them to help you set up a regular online shopping order. Make a list of things you need, how you are going to get them, and the help you might need to do this.
Contact Herts Help to find out more.
5. Be in a routine - Develop a new daily routine that works for you. This could include regular waking up and bedtimes, planned mealtimes, and time to be physically active.
Routines provide you with a daily structure and help you to plan and organise yourself. Start with the basics – create a routine to wake the same time each morning and go to bed at the same time each night. Add in set times to exercise and eat and schedule time to practice relaxation and connect with friends and family. Don’t be afraid to change your routine – if you find you don’t like exercising in the morning, change it to the afternoon. It’s your routine, so make it work for you. You can create your own routine by simply writing down what you’ll do and when, or you can use a digital calendar.
6. Be occupied – Now is a great time to get on with your current interests or explore new ones. You could try a hobby that you used to enjoy but haven’t had the time for.
Doing things because you ‘want to’ rather than because you ‘have to’ improves wellbeing. Make a list of things that could or would give you a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction (e.g. gardening, painting, baking, playing the guitar, learning a language) and schedule in time to do them. It is important to take a break from clearing up, looking after others, or work responsibilities. Where possible choose interests and activities that are mentally engaging (e.g. completing a crossword) rather than passive (e.g. watching television). Try to involve others if this helps – for example, learning a language together with a friend or colleague.
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7. Be helpful - See how you can support others. Whether it’s someone you know or volunteering to support people locally, there are lots of ways to get involved with your community even from home.
Extending a helpful hand to someone in need benefits them but benefits you too – it makes us feel better and builds our support networks. There are many ways to help others, even if you cannot leave your home. Helping others can be as simple as providing a listening ear or helping to coordinate a project in your area.
8. Be relaxed - Try a relaxation or meditation exercise that works for you and practice it once a day for at least 10 minutes.
Social isolation can be stressful. Practising relaxation and meditation every day is proven to reduce stress and promote feelings of wellbeing. Learning how to relax is one of the most helpful things you can do for your mental health and is easy to learn and do. Relaxation and meditation are more than just taking time for yourself and doing something that you like.
Find out more or contact Herts Help.
9. Be heard – Talk to friends, family, a helpline or community and faith groups about how you are feeling. Writing things down can help to organise your thoughts. Living through a piece of global history could be a great time to start a diary!
Talking to others gives you a way to express your feelings, organise your thoughts and can help you feel less overwhelmed. Having other people listen and respond to any worries and concerns can help you gain perspective, particularly when things seem uncertain. Social isolation can make it harder to talk, especially if you live alone, but there are still lots of ways to communicate and ‘be heard’. If it is difficult to talk to others, then writing down your thoughts in a diary can be very helpful for clearing your mind.
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10. Be positive - Try to look for the positives in the situation e.g. having some extra me time or having the opportunity to catch up with something you have been meaning to do.
Training yourself to use affirmations and pay attention to the positive events in a day, even when times are tough, can improve wellbeing. Challenging situations can also be an opportunity to re-assess the way you live your life and what you want for the future. They can also reveal hidden strengths and prompt the development of new skills that you may otherwise not be aware of.
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Links to online tools for:
- reading books, watching shows, visiting museums and learning new skills
- mental health and meditation
- talking to old or new friends.
Support to stay physically active at home,relax and share your feelings.
If you have any questions about connecting, preparing or relaxing, email firstname.lastname@example.org.