Looking after your mental health during lockdown

Important: Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have.

Looking after your mental health was already a challenge before a global pandemic and lockdown conditions were introduced into the equation, but here we are. It may feel as though someone’s suddenly thrown a heavy sack of potatoes on your back, increasing your burden, but there are still plenty of ways you can manage your thoughts during this strange and difficult time.

Despite the glaring messages from your television and smart phone – the world is not ending, and you still have the power to change the ways things are. Staying at home isn’t fun for anyone, but there are ways to let yourself breathe and overcome the daily challenges posed by COVID-19.

Here are a few tips to improve your mental health during lockdown, as backed by psychologists:

  1. Stick to a daily routine. Being able to control this aspect of your day-to-day life is a way to take back power at a time you might feel powerless.
  2. Get dressed. You may have nowhere to go, but throw on your gladrags as if you’ve two tickets to
  3. Get outside for at least thirty minutes. Don’t go any further than the 2km around your home, and be sure to stick to social distancing measures.
  4. Do some exercise for at least thirty minutes.
  5. Reach out to your friends or family via any non-physical channels at your fingertips. Send a text, give someone a call, and have a nice chat.
  6. Stay hydrated.
  7. Develop a self-care regime that involves some of your favourite and most comforting pasttimes. Think bath bombs and hot chocolate.
  8. If you have children, make sure to give them plenty of attention. They might be too young to understand what’s going on, and they’ll need you to help them make sense of the situation.
  9. Find a space in your home to retreat to when you need to.
  10. Don’t make the same working demands of yourself that you would on any normal day.
  11. Limit your exposure to social media where possible.
  12. Amidst all of the negativity – remember the good things. Remember the amazing heroes who are helping on the frontline, or those who are simply contributing in any way they can. There’s still countless examples of goodness in the world – it just doesn’t always make it to the newsroom.
  13. Help others. Doing what you can to help your friends and neighbours is always a source of comfort and an experience you can have control over. Whether it’s picking them up something from the shop or simply listening to them over the phone – helping others is an all-round positive experience.
  14. Engross yourself in a fun and long-term project. Think as big as you’d like; write a book, paint a masterpiece, or even just rearrange each room in your house. Find a big project to lose yourself in.
  15. Laugh. Watch a funny TV show, Youtube video, or keep in touch with that friend or family member you know is always good for a laugh. This is one of the most important ways to cheer yourself up in times of need.
  16. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
  17. Remember that this will all be over one day. This is a challenging time for everyone and it’s okay to be upset by it, but remember that it is only temporary, and one day soon life will return to normal.

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