As well as concerns around physical health, there are very real fears that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown could quickly lead to a mental health epidemic, so looking after your mental health is more important than ever.
Lockdown restrictions have meant isolation for many which has led to questions about how sustained periods of time in your home affects your mental health. But there are ways that you can look after your mental health at home.
Use these 5 self-care tips to try and help to protect your mental health during coronavirus:
Exercise helps our brains to release feel-good endorphins to give the mind and mood a natural boost. Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity helps relieve stress and anxiety whilst also improving memory and sleep quality, all of which contribute to more positive mental health.
Staying active does not have to mean an exhaustive daily workout. Find something you enjoy such as walking, jogging, or cycling, and aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, 5 times per week. Using technology to monitor your health and fitness can help to motivate you further. The Kinetik Heart Rate Monitor provides real-time data during your workouts to help you train more efficiently, whilst the Kinetik Body Composition Analyzer helps to track improvements in key health parameters such as weight, BMI, and body fat.
If you have felt your mental health deteriorating after lengthy periods indoors at home, try to spend more time in the great outdoors.
Natural daylight and fresh air are natural tonics for the mind. Being indoors during lockdown has left many feeling isolated and increasingly demotivated, but as restrictions begin to lift you can feel safer outdoors whilst remaining safe by following social distancing guidelines.
If you are fearful of going out in public, a face mask can provide physical protection against coronavirus whilst making you feel safe too. Staying home for mental health is important, but learning how to feel safe outside of your home is equally so.
Find a new routine
The world is suddenly talking about how it is adapting to a ‘new normal’, but what if you feel unsure and unprepared of making changes to your life?
The key to recovering from a chaotic period like lockdown is often found in restoring some structure to daily life. This is also an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and define your own ‘new normal’.
Aim to stick to regular wake up and bedtimes, and if you are not yet back at work you can still make other commitments to give your days more direction. Decide on times to exercise, contact loved ones, or arrange a socially distanced walk with a friend.
A well-practiced routine will help protect your mental health by giving you renewed purpose.
Find time to relax
Staying at home does not necessarily mean you have felt relaxed. Working from home, home-schooling your children, and worrying about your health may have left you feeling strung out and exhausted. Exhaustion can have a negative effect on mental health, and it is vital that you give yourself some downtime too.
Schedule some time for self-care into your new routine, aim for a few early nights and try something to promote mindfulness such as yoga, a DIY project, or just listening to your favourite music.
Talk to others
Sharing your fears is an important way of protecting your mental health. If there is someone you trust enough to talk to, speak to them. Or you may prefer to contact a third-party for support. If so charities like Mind can offer support for mental health, as can the Samaritans or seeking advice from your GP. Remember that you do not have to suffer alone.
For more information on the importance of mental health, as well as tips on mental health guidance during coronavirus and beyond visit the NHS website which has a helpful list of resources.