Mental Health: Staying In Control – Covid-19
This is a time of turmoil for us all, especially those of us who suffer from mental health issues. Pre Covid-19 you might have developed and perfected some great coping mechanisms. Life might have changed beyond all recognition, stopping you from doing the things you normally do to cope, but you can take back control.
I ddarllen yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg, clicia yma
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What was your routine to keep control and keep your mind healthy pre covid-19? Was it exercising at your local sports club, playing football, exercise classes or pumping iron at the gym? Did you find comfort in spending time with friends and family, having meals out, going to the cinema or simply escaping to someone else’s house? ‘Normal’ life came with a routine and a schedule, whether that’s work, school or Uni and now there’s a black hole of nothingness… or is there???
We might not be able to control the virus, and there are laws telling us what we can and can’t do, but forget that! Today is the day you take control and create a new normal.
1. Have a daily routine
Sleep late – eat junk – watch TV – sleep – repeat. You’re not going to feel too great if your days are spent in a constant loop of nothingness. A routine will give you a sense of accomplishment. It will bring a bit of normality to a bizarre situation. You don’t have to go to the lengths of scheduling in your toilet breaks, but keeping to regular wake up, bed, and meal times each day will help. Slot some exercise and activities in here and there and you’ll have a busy day.
2. Plan ahead
To stop things feeling like you’re in a real life version of Groundhog Day keep things varied. Planning ahead will help you to try something different everyday. You don’t have to be too ambitious, keep it realistic. Completing mini tasks throughout the day will give you a sense of purpose and achievement. This might be the perfect pick me up that will make you feel in control again. There are lots of ideas here about things you can do during lockdown.
3. Have a mental wellbeing toolkit
There are lots of great ways to manage your mental health and having a list of them , a mental wellbeing toolkit, can help. You might be using some of them already, from distraction techniques like having a happy box when you’re feeling sad, to relaxation ideas when you’re struggling with your anxiety. While something might work for you one day, it might not be so successful the next day, so keep your mental wellbeing toolkit to hand. This could be a list of distraction tips or relaxation ideas on your mobile, or a note on your bedroom door. But if you’re having a tough day then it’s easy to find and get some control.
4. Keep taking your medication
If you’re taking medication to cope with anxiety or depression then keep taking them as normal. Don’t be afraid of contacting your GP if you feel you need to review your medication. They will probably be able to sort a repeat prescription or offer support over the phone or video call.
5. Keep a healthy lifestyle
Oh boy is it easy to grab for the junk food and binge Netflix at a time like this but STEP AWAY FROM THAT REMOTE! Try to keep on that healthy path of yours, or if your life wasn’t particularly healthy before, use this time to make some healthy changes. You’re home most of the time anyway so there’s never been an easier time to cook healthily. You can’t use that “I didn’t have time to prepare” excuse which means you’re grabbing an unhealthy sandwich from the shop on your lunch break. Try to eat fresh vegetables and fruit. Check out this information from Mind about how food can affect your mood.
You’re only allowed out once a day, so make the most of that time and take your daily exercise. Don’t waste it; suck up that lovely fresh air! There are also lots of great free workouts you can do online. Some local gyms are posting daily challenges on their social media sites or you have celebrities like Joe Wicks offering free classes. Exercising is great for your mind because it releases endorphins that will improve your mood and help you sleep better at night! Check out Meic’s advice in 4 Ways To Exercise While In Lockdown. Who doesn’t love wearing a comfy tracksuit or stretchy Lycra, right?
Take some time to yourself. Ok, so this might be more difficult if you’re in lockdown with a house full of people, but you can always find a small space to relax by yourself. While it’s important to keep busy, it’s also important not to overwhelm yourself. Make some time in your day for relaxation, this could be through meditation, taking a long bath, reading or watching your favourite film at the end of the day.
7. Try something new
This is the perfect time to try something new and learn some new skills. In ‘normal’ life, time might be in short supply, but at the moment we’ve probably got plenty of it. Lockdown won’t last forever, so make the most of it now. Dig out that old sewing kit your mum bought you that you’ve never used, bake a cake or a loaf of bread, try out some yoga on YouTube or learn a new language online. You might be stuck within four walls but there are plenty of things that can open up your world.
8. Keep social
So you might not be able to meet up with friends, but you can still keep in touch through video calls or text. Ok, so it might not be the same as seeing someone face to face, but it’s better than not being in contact. Let people know you’re still thinking about them. You could set up a virtual quiz over video call; there are plenty of video apps out there.
9. Access support
We might be in lockdown, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t support out there for you if you need it. Meic advisers are available between 8am and midnight 7 days a week and can help you with information, advice and advocacy if you need it. Get in touch.