COVID-19 Series. Keeping well and looking after your mental health.
We have all been in lockdown for a number of weeks and months. WWTW Clinical Lead, Carolyn, has put together some top tips to help you look after your mental health during this time.
1. Connecting with others from a distance
We’re becoming experts now at using technology to connect to others – keep going and use it to support others who may be struggling, particularly those who live alone.
2. Isolation and stress
Again, connect to others through technology. It’s good to talk and if you’re anxious about the future, reach out. Take care of your physical self. Take regular exercise, eat healthily and try to get plenty of sleep.
3. Anxiety about the future
It’s good to talk and if you’re anxious about the future, reach out to others, whether this is family, friends or work colleagues and seek support if you need it. If you’re worrying, it can be helpful to write down your worries. Some things you can control and others you can’t. Think about the things you do have control over rather than focusing on the things you don’t. Tick off those you can’t control. Be kind to yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If anxiety sets in, take a moment to breath. Use the 4,7,8 technique below.
4. Breathing to help with relaxation.
4,7,8 breathing technique involves breathing in for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this a few times. The aim is to reduce anxiety and can help with sleep.
5. Mindfulness and relaxation
Take time out to practice if you do get benefit from mindfulness. If you haven’t tried it before, have a go – there’s nothing to lose. There are plenty of good Apps available to help you.
6. How to sleep better
Refreshing sleep is good for us physically and mentally.
- Have a routine – go to bed and get up at regular times
- Cut back on the caffeine before bedtime and that includes sugary drinks such as coke and chocolate
- Wind down before bedtime, gentle music, relaxation etc
- Avoid electronic devices an hour or more before sleep
- Make sure the bedroom is a relaxing environment
- If you are struggling, keep a sleep diary it may pinpoint a pattern
7. Worrying about others
Again, going back to situations you can and can’t control. Check in regularly with others to make sure they are doing OK – friends, family or work colleagues. Sometimes it’s not possible to fix things, so a phone call or video catch up is all you can do and probably very much appreciated.
8. Don’t forget the work/home balance if you’re working from home
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