Lockdown, combined with the winter blues, has not made for an easy time for the population of the UK and although there is no quick fix solution to the problems caused by declining mental health there are some helpful actions and activities people can undertake to stave off the worst effects.
So, without further ado, here are a few suggestions which will hopefully make the time go by less laboriously.
- Be SMART with Goal Setting – Set yourself Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-based targets to give yourself a sense of accomplishment. These can relate to some of the tips and hints below but don’t have to be limited to them.
- Move More to Improve Mental Health – You’ve probably heard it before, but exercise of any type, releases adrenaline and cortisol while producing endorphins which creates a great internal cocktail to reduce both stress, anxiety and depression. Aerobic exercise which elevates the heart rate releases endorphins more quickly than anaerobic exercise and doesn’t require special equipment. There are plenty of exercise tutorials on YouTube which showcase how you can turn any domestic environment into your very own home gym.
- Eat to Beat the Blues – There are many foods you can include in your diet to help manage stress, anxiety and depression such as: Fatty fish (like Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines and herring), yogurt, green tea, Brazil nuts, eggs, dark chocolate are all good choices to reduce anxiety; additionally, herbs like chamomile and turmeric are also helpful.
- Improve Yourself Improve Your Stress – Aside from physical activities, you can also improve your mind, so while you’re stuck inside, why not take the time to improve yourself by reading more or taking a correspondence course or online course. There are many free-of-charge courses if your budget is tight, so cost shouldn’t be a limiting factor.
- Love Your Home to Love Yourself – for many the lockdown period has provided a great opportunity to get those little jobs out of the way which you’ve procrastinated over before. Again, if you’ve never considered yourself ‘handy’ there is no need to fret as there are a number of tutorials available online for almost any job within reason. If you don’t own your own accommodations, you can turn to crafts to create your own works of art to adorn your domicile with your own home-made décor pieces.
- Laughter is the Best Medicine – share jokes, memes and gifs which make you laugh via social media or phone calls and seek out the movies and programmes which bring a smile to your face. In troubling times, we sometimes need to find an excuse to be funny.
- Mindfulness Matters – Don’t be consumed by what has been or what might transpire, be in the here on now. Embrace your senses; look outside, open a window, feel the breeze, smell the scents, and listen to the sounds of your environment. Don’t try to avoid your negative thoughts and emotions but view them as mental events which will pass by you like a bus at a bus stop and name them to give yourself a sense of control. Some may find it easier to deal with these while taking part in for some gentle exercise.
While Working from Home the feeling of being isolated can wreak havoc on your mental health. If you’re one of the many undertaking the daily grind in your own abode here are a few ideas to make you feel like a team player.
- Meet Regularly Virtually – there are many platforms out there to allow you to stay in touch with your colleagues, so embrace the technology and let yourself be seen and heard via, Teams, Zoom or any type of social media platform. Make sure you use your cameras as well, as this will give you the chance to dress to impress. While working from home the inclination to live in your sweats is alluring but don’t ignore your wardrobe. Make the most of all your best cloths as well. Getting dressed up is an easy way to make yourself feel good and knowing that you’ll be seeing your colleagues might just be the motivation you need to shed the trackie bottoms and t-shirts you’ve been living in.
- Share a playlist – If music be the food of love, play on. One of the best things about working from home is listening to some good tunes, but sometimes you might want to feel more included with others, so get together with your team and create a group play list which you can all listen to at the same time. It may allow you to reminisce about good times from staff functions or provide the opportunity for a conversation.
- Share to Care – If you have found a particularly effective way of motivating or organising yourself share it with your colleagues. Despite being separated, we really are all going through the same thing so helping others is a great way to help yourself.
As Arthur Ashe said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” And when life seems to be getting the better try to remember, “It’s hard to beat someone who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth