Adapting to this weird, new reality we find ourselves in is challenging on several fronts. Whether it’s keeping productive with projects, staying in touch with peers or ensuring you’re keeping healthy, adjustments will have to be made to the way we live, interact and communicate.
Now more than ever our mental health takes priority which is why Bido Lito! has partnered with Wirral-based charity The Open Door Centre as they adapt their provision to roll out the Horizons Project. Their new, three pronged offer delivers various ways to keep on top of your mental wellbeing during the social distancing measures.
In the first of a regular column for Bido Lito! written by the folks at The ODC, Volunteer Co-ordinator Amy Newton offers her expert tips on staying healthy during isolation.
*Keep in mind, these are simply suggestions and may not suit everyone’s lifestyle.
GET YOUR THOUGHTS DOWN!
Keeping a journal helps us acknowledge our thoughts, feelings and reflections. It can be beneficial to take our emotions out of our head and put them down on paper. Here we’re able to observe them better. As a result, our minds will begin to feel less busy. Keeping a journal is a key part of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and it helps you to notice any patterns in your mood. We can reflect on our journal entries on a later date, find patterns and look at ways to better ourselves. Keeping a journal will also be beneficial for when this is over, because who knows – it might be something to share with your grandkids one day!
Staying motivated is really important during this time. We know, it would be so easy to just stay in bed all day and watch Netflix, but this isn’t going to help us in the long run. Grab a notebook and start a do-to list of what you want to finish by the end of isolation. This could include reading a book, sorting the house out, baking or making time for self-love, such as yoga or regular home workouts.
Mindfulness is a really useful and powerful tool. It helps us to calm the mind and control those negative thoughts. It helps us to concentrate on the present moment rather than delving into our thoughts, which research states focus on the past or the future. There are lots of ways to practice mindfulness, be it walking, listening to sounds and or incorporating the use of objects like crystals or incense. There are a few apps such as Headspace and Calm, or you can find several sessions on YouTube.
NOTES OF JOY!
Positive statements and reminders can be used when we are feeling low. All you will need to do is get a list together of statements that make you happy or bring you some sort of joy. These could be positive affirmations about your family, home, lifestyle, achievements or even something you like about yourself or think you do well. If you’re feeling low, take a look back at what you wrote. You can keep these in your phone, in a journal or even leave little Post-It notes around your room.
Let’s face it, your routine is going to change in isolation. That’s okay. We just need to adapt it for what is currently going on. This is a big lifestyle change for everyone and one that is going to take some time to get used to it. Your new routine may involve exercise regimes, cleaning, spending time with friends or family (either the ones you live with or phoning/video calling others), setting aside some time for working/studying, cooking, playing board games, watching a film or TV show or being creative.
When working from home, make sure it’s in a separate room to where you are sleeping, so you still have that feeling of getting up and going to work. After a couple of weeks this routine will become ‘normal’.
Keeping in touch with family is so important in this time, not just for your own mental wellbeing but for theirs too. There are so many different forms of technology now that can help us stay in touch with each other, so take advantage of these. Try limiting exposing yourself to the negativity of social media as much as possible though; use texting or video calls to keep in touch.
Where you can, limit your time on your devices. If you watch the news, choose a reliable source, not Facebook. Do this with other forms of social media or maybe try muting it for the day. This will help block out negative information and help you feel calm.
Now is a perfect time to concentrate on yourself and focus on you. Make sure you are eating well, staying hydrated and continue to access nature and sunlight where possible and responsible. If you are building a new routine, make sure you add some down time for yourself. This could be taking a bath or reading a good book. Just remember not to over work yourself and make sure you do get that down time.
REACHING OUT FOR HELP!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to someone! We are all in the same boat at the moment and those feeling may be mutual so it will definitely be beneficial to talk things through. If this is something that you can’t do with someone at home, try some helplines that you can contact.
MIND: 0300 123 3393
CALM: 0800 58 58 58
Samaritans: 116 123
NHS Wirral Mental Health Crisis Support: 0300 303 3972
The Open Door Centre are giving away 50 free licences to their online Bazaar: A Marketplace For The Mind resource. An innovative provision utilising CBT and mindfulness techniques to benefit your mental health. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org