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wellbeing with Sally: tips for managing our mental health during lockdown

Hi all,

I hope everyone is keeping safe and well during this very uncertain time. I think that we can all agree, no one could have predicted what has been happening in the world over the last few weeks and how our lives have changed. Life has moved pretty fast and dramatically for all of us.

I would like to acknowledge how worrying this time is for everyone and the anxiety and stress that is involved in such a drastic situation. Most of us, if not all of us, have had a complete change of lifestyle. We have had to adjust very quickly.

Amid this crisis and while we are in a period of lockdown there are things we can do that could help lift our moods, make us feel less anxious and help us focus on other, more positive aspects. Here are my ten suggestions:

  1. Do some exercise (wellness and fitness permitting) – this may be having a short walk, going up and down the stairs a few times, jogging on the spot for a while – you could YouTube some exercise or yoga classes. (Jo Wicks is on YouTube every weekday at 9am, doing half an hour of exercise for children and adults - I would recommend it!) This helps our bodies use up the energy that anxiety produces and also releases chemicals that help us feel good.

  2. Read something cool – pick up that book that’s been sitting on the shelf for a while, put your feet up, relax and escape with it.

  3. Write a journal - although these are worrying times right now, they are also interesting because in years to come, people will be fascinated to know what happened during the Covid-19 period, how we lived, how things changed, and how we got through it. Future generations will love to know all about it. Writing can also help with expressing your fears and worries. Sometimes getting them outside of your mind can help you stop ruminating on them.

  4. Start a whatsapp video group call/video-chat with your friends, treat it like a catch up – take the time out – laugh, chat, ask how they are.

  5. Plan to watch the same film with friends at the same time – you can all text, comment and lol as the film is running!

  6. Get good at something – for example try your hand at cooking, practice an instrument that you may not have picked up for a while, write poetry, a story, or songs.

  7. Do some online learning – there are quite a few cheap courses out there at the moment, (some are free if you are in receipt of benefits). Pick a subject that you are interested in and study online, get a qualification or certificate that will either help with your current job or situation, or to impress potential employers. Either way, it looks great on your CV. Distraction helps with managing anxiety too so keeping your mind occupied with an interesting topic can be helpful.

  1. Appreciate the fresher air while there is less traffic and less pollution on the roads. Only go out with people in your household mind and for the amount of time permitted.

  2. Do something nice for yourself – have a lovely big bubble bath, make a tasty smoothie (you can use tinned or frozen fruit), give yourself a foot spa (you can make your own with a bowl, soaps and bubbles!).

  3. Have a de-clutter – although it may initially feel daunting, once you get started it can help your thinking become less cluttered. There have been suggestions that de-cluttering helps people feel less anxious and more peaceful.

I hope you and your loved ones all keep well. I look forward to the time, hopefully soon, when we can all meet and see each other in person.

This content is general information only, not advice. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please contact a mental health professional or contact the Samaritans.

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