These are very testing times and although we are being encouraged to get our one form of exercise done every day it can be far too easy to forget and brush over the mental health affects lockdown is having.
We have put together a few of our top tips and ideas for keeping you mentally stimulated and providing a release as and when you need it.
1. Look after your key relationships
Be consistent with communication to those close to you. Check in with your closest family and friends regularly letting them know how you are and also making them aware that you are there for them to, they will want to know how you are doing.
2. Maintain a balanced diet
It can be far too easy to snack more and over indulge while working from home and letting the boredom set in. Try putting a plan to your meals or being creative to make some healthy snacks and treats – test out your baking skills and be sure to check in with yourself to keep a balance.
3. Try something new
Now is the perfect time to try something new. We have more time than ever on our hands so there is no default excuse of “I didn’t have time”. There are so many things we all say we wish we could do or that we want to try, so give it a go. It could be learning to cook or bake something new, signing up to an online tutorial or giving running or cycling a go for the first time.
4. Read a book or listen to a podcast
A great way to distract the brain for an hour or so is to pick up a book or pop in your headphones and listen to a podcast. There are both books and podcasts for every genre you can think of and with e-books and podcasts free on platforms like apple podcasts and Spotify they are so easily accessible.
5. Do something nice for someone
There is no better, more rewarding feeling than doing something nice for someone else. It doesn’t need to be extravagant or even mean spending a penny, as they say, it’s the thought that counts. Write a letter and post it to a relative or friend, pick up some shopping for a neighbour, clap for the NHS or make a cake and drop it on someones doorstep.
6. Keep active
Set yourself some time for exercise. It doesn’t need to be sweaty and hard to make it worth it, just get your body moving. If you want to go hard then push yourself with a run, cycle or workout class or if you are wanting someone a lot easier on the body then head out for a walk or find a stretching or yoga class online to follow. It doesn’t matter what it is but give yourself a dedicated time slot each day to move your body, even if it is just dancing round the kitchen to your favourite cheesy songs!
7. Reconnect with people
Reach out to old friends or relatives you haven’t spoken to for a while. Life has a habit of getting carried away and before we know it we haven’t spoken to someone we care about for weeks or months, even years. Pick up the phone or drop someone a message and start up a conversation again.
8. Write down your thoughts
If you aren’t able to talk to anyone face to face right now and there isn’t someone you feel comfortable ringing to have a chat then grab a pen and paper and start writing. Letting your thoughts out onto paper can be just as effective as talking them out with someone.
9. Take a break from social media
With a lot more time on our hands we are turning to social media to keep us entertained but we need to learn to create some boundaries. Like any relationship it’s not healthy to spend all day, every day together and can cause arguments or tension – your relationship with social media is the same. Set yourself a limit and learn when to jump off social media and take a break.
10. Have some me time
We are all seeking positive distractions and as we have even said about trying new things and turning to social media but we all need to have some solo, undistracted, me time! It can be as little as 5-10 minutes, take yourself to a quiet spot, leave your phone out of arms reach and on silent, turn off the tv and just sit and soak up all the thoughts and feelings you are having. Take some deep breaths and let yourself relax through those thoughts and feelings, letting them drift away.