Look after your mental health and wellbeing when staying at home
As we are In another lockdown, it can be challenging to think about staying at home for the next month or longer. As tempting as it may be to stay in pyjamas all day, regular routines are essential for our identity, self-confidence and purpose.
Try your best to start your day at roughly the same time you usually would and aim to set time aside each day to focus on something that brings you joy – whether it be exercising, meditating or relaxing. We have some tips on what can help alleviate stress during this lockdown.
1) Move more every day
Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels, can make us more alert and even improves sleep for some. Explore different ways of adding physical movement and activity to your day and find something that works best for you. There are home workouts personal trainers are doing for free on Instagram, or try out a YouTube workout video a few times a week. Or, you can go for a daily walk to get some fresh air and move your limbs.
2) Try a relaxation technique
Relaxing and focusing on your breathing can help to alleviate tension and lighten negative emotions. Try to evaluate your body during the day. Are your shoulders lifted? Is your jaw tense? If you recognise that you’re stiffening your body, take deep breaths to ease the tension and relax your muscles.
A range of relaxation techniques, including progressive muscle relaxation are available from the NHS
3) Connect with others
Staying at home, especially if you live alone, or with household members you aren’t close with, can feel lonely. Find time to keep in touch with co-workers, friends, family, and others to help you (and them) feel more connected. Explore ways of connecting that work for you. This could include video-calling, WhatsApp, written notes or social media.
4) Take time to reflect and practice self-compassion
Make time every day to reflect on the positive aspects of your day. Whether you managed to get out of bed, or you completed an important task, celebrate the small things. Consider keeping a gratitude journal each day where you could write two or three things you are grateful for each day. Mindfulness techniques may also help you focus on the present rather than dwelling on unhelpful thoughts (thought they may not be helpful for those experiencing social anxiety or more severe depression).
We have a number of relaxation and other digital exercises on our website.
5) Improve your sleep
With continuous last-minute changes to the rules, and now another lockdown, you may be experiencing trouble sleeping. There are many ways you can help improve your sleep. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day in order to maintain a routine. Also, try to get some natural sunlight by opening curtains and windows. This helps to regulate your body clock which can help you sleep better. Before bedtime, avoid using your phone, tablet or computer. Instead, try to read a book, or do some yoga.
You can find more tips for looking after your mental health here.
Public Health England have developed explicit guidance on mental health in the crisis. If you want to develop a personalised plan for supporting your mental health you can also visit the PHE Every Mind Matters site, developed in collaboration with the Mental Health Foundation.
If you need to talk confidentially you can call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. We also have a resource on how to get help for your mental health.