Social distancing and self-isolation can be really hard to deal with. It’s normal to feel anxious, frustrated or bored. If you’re worried about the effect it will have on your mental health, you are not alone.
Here are a few tips from all of us here at Tees Active for looking after your well-being during quarantine.
One of the biggest downsides of isolation is the lack of communication with the people we love and care about. These tips will help you to stay connected and feel less alone:
Phone calls are a great way to stay connected but seeing someone’s face really can make a huge difference, so why not video call instead. Seeing your friends and family can lift your mood and make you feel less lonely. There are lots of free video calling services you can use and if you can connect to wifi this will help if you’re worried about your data allowance. Don’t be shy about going on camera – your loved ones will really appreciate seeing you, even if you’re in your pyjamas! You could really brighten someone’s day as well as your own!
Find a positive online community
There are lots of positive online communities where you can make new friends, get inspired and chat about things you care about. You could try searching for groups involved in causes, music or TV shows you are passionate about.
But remember to avoid anything that encourages you to do things which are harmful for your physical or mental health. If you’re worried by things you’re experiencing online, talk to someone you trust for advice.
In this time you’re definitely not the only person feeling worried, bored or frustrated. It’s a good time for a catch up, so don’t be afraid to make the first move and reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. They’ll probably be very grateful to hear from you. Send them a message and let them know you care.
Sometimes staying calm is easier said than done but these few tips should help you to create a mindset and environment that helps you to stay relaxed during this difficult time:
There are lots of great free apps you can use to guide you through breathing techniques and meditation that can help ease your anxiety and clear your mind of anxious thoughts. We like to use Headspace.
Why not also try some yoga as a way to relax and also take part in some gentle exercise which can is proven to boost your mood? There are free yoga apps that are perfect for beginners and the Activ8 Health & Fitness Home Workout Hub is providing plenty of free home workouts to keep you active during this time.
Clean up your social media
You might be spending more time than usual scrolling on social media, have you ever thought about how this could be affecting your mental health? Why not use this time to unfollow or mute accounts that make you feel anxious, upset or angry. Find positive accounts that boost your mood and share your interests.
Take a break from the news
It can be tempting to constantly check the news during times like this but if you notice this is having a negative impact on your mental health try limiting how often you check the news. If you want to keep up to date on the government’s daily broadcasts why not check out news websites for the brief overviews given after.
Read a book
Getting away from screens and reading a book can help you escape for a bit. Why not re-read one of your favourites, or get your friend to recommend one? It might be difficult to get a new book, but you can access lots of books online. There are even audio books for those of us who prefer to listen!
Plan your days
Your normal routine might be disrupted and that can be stressful. Take some time to write down how you want to spend your day. Creating and sticking to a new routine will give you a sense of order and normality. Decide on your new routine and make sure you build in time to do things you enjoy. If you live with other people, you could ask them to help you.
Make a list of all those things you said you would do but never get round to. It could be sorting out your wardrobe, doing some gardening, fixing things around your living space etc. These tasks can make you feel productive and give you a sense of accomplishment. Tidying your living space can also make you feel calmer and more positive. Use this time well and you might achieve so much that you needed to do!
If you want to take the time off to rest and not be productive, that’s also fine too. Listen to your body!
Online games you can play with friends
Games can be a great way to spend time with friends or family while giving you something to focus on. You can play a lot of board games online, like Monopoly or Chess, or via apps like Words With Friends 2. The free app Houseparty is a Facetime app that lets you play games with multiple friends at once while you see each other!
We’ve all been through stressful situations at home, maybe more often than we’d like to admit! Here are a few tips to help diffuse the situations that can arise:
Walk away from tense situations if you can
Being cooped up with other people will naturally be frustrating and might create tension between you and those you live with. You can defuse difficult situations by walking away from arguments until everyone starts to feel calmer. If you and those you live with do not have any coronavirus symptoms you could go outside for a walk once a day, this helps to feel less like you’re cooped up and fresh air is great for the body and mind!
Create a rota
If you’re in a situation where lots of people are fighting over who gets to decide what you watch on TV, who cooks and cleans, or anything else, you might find it helpful to create a rota. This can help you agree a fair system and help avoid arguments.
Reach out for help
If your living situation is difficult, don’t struggle in silence. Speak to someone you trust. Call a friend or a helpline. If you’re worried about being overheard, you could try texting or emailing instead. There are lots of helplines which also offer text and online messenger support.
There is a lot that we can all do to make sure our mental health doesn’t suffer during this time in isolation, some of these little differences can have a really big impact so why not start practising them today!
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