These are unprecedented times and, as we get used to the new normal, it’s important that we’re extra mindful of our mental wellbeing and taking the time to look after ourselves – both mentally and physically. To help fight the spread of COVID-19, we need to practice social distancing and limit the time we spend with our friends, families and colleagues face-to-face.
Social distancing is hard, but it’s essential to protecting ourselves and our loved ones. We understand that this time is difficult, and we want to support you in taking care of yourself and looking after your mental wellbeing.
It’s OK to be unsure of how to feel in these circumstances. This adjusting process is unorthodox and can be overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that this won’t last forever and be aware of how this is impacting your emotions.
If you’re struggling or just want to be proactive in taking care of your mental health during this period, we have pulled together our suggestions for ways you can look after your emotional wellbeing whilst social distancing and, hopefully, relieve some of your stresses:
1. Create a new routine
For most of us, our normal routine of going to work, meeting up with friends and heading to the gym has been thrown out the window. And as tempting as it may be to say in bed, work in pyjamas and eat ice-cream out the tub, in the long run this is bound to have a detrimental effect on your overall mood.
Instead, try and make a new routine. Get up as usual, do a workout, take a shower and make a nice breakfast. This will allow your brain to wake up and make you feel like you’ve achieved something before your day starts. Especially if you’re working from home, this time each morning will help you feel ready and motivated before pitching up at your makeshift home office.
2. Get fresh air
Our time spent outside might be limited but we recommend that you take this exercise time every day. Whether it’s a 30 min run around the estate, a short walk or a bike ride, get outside and breathe in the fresh air. If you live in a busy household, use this time to get some time to yourself – pop in your earphones, listen to your favourite songs and just take a moment to escape.
If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or balcony, make the most of this too and spend as much time outside as you can. Maybe this is the time to tend to those flower beds that you’ve never gotten around to finishing or using the back garden as your new gym set up. Being outside will make you feel better. When you’re cooped up in the house and not moving around, you can start to feel lethargic and uninspired so make sure you’re breathing in the fresh air and getting outside when you can.
3. Join a fitness community
Nothing quite gets you in the mood to workout than the atmosphere at a busy spin class (music pumping, sweat in the air and the glimmer of fear in the persons eyes next to you) and with gyms now closed across the world, it can be difficult to stay motivated.
But with fitness apps, YouTube channels and Instagram accounts popping up left, right and centre, you can easily bring this community feel into your sitting room. For example, Keep It Cleaner are doing live streams every morning of their workouts, showing people how they can keep fit in the comforts of their own home. We’ve also noticed lots of new local running and exercise groups on Facebook, where people are setting challenges and encouraging one another to stay active.
Fitness communities are brilliant for helping you to keep fit, motivated and connected to others whilst social distancing.
4. Clear your mind with yoga or meditation
Whilst it’s important to stay up to date with the news, it’s also just as important to take breaks from the constant news cycle and clear our minds. Yoga and meditation are brilliant forms exercise for alleviating stress and minimising negative thoughts, along with so many other benefits.
Whether you’re new to the world of zen or a pro looking for some inspiration, then take advantage of all the brilliant videos online. For example, Yoga with Adriene, who posts a range different flows on YouTube, has recently created a 30-day challenge for people to reap the benefits of Yoga at home.
5. Stay connected
We may have to limit our face-to-face interactions for the time being but it’s essential that we still make the time to connect with our loved ones. Whether it’s a group Skype call or a five-minute daily check-in with your parents, pick up the phone and chat with your friends and family.
There are so many different apps and digital platforms that allow you to video chat, such as FaceTime, Zoom and Facebook, so you don’t have to say goodbye to socialising just because you’re stuck in the house. Sometimes there’s nothing better than just having a good old blether with your pals and making the time to connect with your friends and family is guaranteed to make you feel better.
It’s also important that, if you are finding things hard, you reach out to your loved and tell them how you’re feeling. Although we’re unable to be with people as we’re used to, you’re not alone.
We want to use our community to help each other feel supported during this hard time. If you have any other tips for how we can all improve our mental wellbeing whilst social distancing, we’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation across on our social channels using the hashtag #SFNExpo.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, you can call the Breathing Space helpline on 0800 83 85 87. For more info, please visit www.breathingspace.scot