Many people have felt the mental strain of entering into our third lockdown. If you have dealt with feelings of uncertainty, stress and worry, know that you’re not alone. More than ever it is important that we try and find ways to take care of our mental health in a way that is effective and safe for you and those around you. With the help of a couple of our members, we’ve put together a quick guide to ways that you can look after your mental health during lockdown.
Communicate and Connect
It’s harder to see those that we care about, but it doesn’t mean we have to lose touch with them. We’ve all turned to technology for a number of reasons, and keeping in contact with others is a great way to use it! Try having a zoom quiz, joining an online group for similar interests, and remember to make those ever-important phone and video calls! Connecting with others is a fantastic way of meeting our emotional needs and taking care of our mental wellbeing.
Staying Active (indoors and outdoors)
We all associate exercise with good physical health, but it also has a positive impact on our mental health. Exercise releases endorphins, which create that feel-good feeling in the brain and can boost our mood.
If you can get outdoors for some exercise, it is a great chance to clear our minds and relieve some tension. You don’t need to run a marathon to get exercise. The important part is simply being active, in whatever way works for you. And if you’re unsure, or unable to leave your home at the moment, try and get moving from inside, such as cleaning or an at-home exercise class on YouTube.
“I Find that the Walking Group through Reach has been therapeutic, and also doing a journal.” – Linda, student at REACH
Keep your brain busy
It’s important to find positive activities to keep your mind preoccupied and your body relaxed. Getting creative is a great way to keep your hands busy while also giving yourself something to work towards. Completing a project you’ve been working on can be a very rewarding! If you’re not too artistic, you could start a puzzle, or decide on a new skill you’d like to learn, watch tutorials or join a virtual class. With many people feeling they’re at a bit of a loose end, beginning a new project during lockdown is a great time to start!
If possible, try and stick to a regular sleep routine that allows you to get enough sleep. This can vary from person to person, but allowing yourself to get the sleep you need will help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Poor sleep can be both a contributor and a symptom of mental health difficulties, and so it can be good to know what it means to have good sleep hygiene. If you want to find out more about sleep hygiene, click here.
Be mindful and reflect
During lockdown, most of us are spending more time at home than we are used to. During this time, it can be beneficial to take time to remind yourself of things that you are grateful for, or things you have achieved (it doesn’t matter how big or small they are!).
Another good way to stay grounded in the present is to keep a journal. It’s a great way to get out any thoughts and feelings you’re having, and spilling them out into the book. Some people may also choose to do meditation and breathing exercising, which is good way to let go of stress and relieve feelings of anxiety.
Seek support and utilise your support networks, whatever they may be
If you are struggling with your mental health during lockdown or at any other time, there are people that want to help.
It can be difficult to open up about your mental health, but it’s an important conversation to have. Talking to someone that you trust about how you’re feeling, or seeking professional support can aid you on your road to recovery, help you to manage your thoughts and feelings, and offer advice and comfort.
You can find out how we’re supporting people with their mental health HERE.
For people in mental health crisis call 111 then select Option 2 to speak to a trained mental health professional.
You can also call 116 123 to speak to Samaritans, or text SHOUT to 85258.
Hear from one of our REACH Recovery College Students
My name is Wayne and I have been a student since 2017, everyone at REACH and Trust Links have helped me rebuild my life.
I’m not the person I was before, but I am a long way from where I was.
Things that are helping me through this difficult time for everyone:
- Staying in contact with friends I have made, even the odd walk together.
- Visiting Rochford reservoir and feeding the Ducks and Geese, love the way they waddle, warms my heart.
- Spent some time cooking, Choice (from REACH) has inspired me.
- Been spending some time in the garden and using some of Fiona’s gardening tips.
- I am continuing with helping the Bluetits in my garden, wonderful to see how they bring up their young.
- I’ve even set some boundaries to protect me.
Without the help of people I’ve met at REACH, this would have been impossible for me. The Family of REACH has helped me believe there are good people in the world.