Social Distancing does not have to mean isolation…
How to look after your mental & physical well-being during lockdown.
Unless you are a key worker, you are probably getting very familiar with the four walls of your home! If you are lucky enough (or unlucky enough as some may feel!) to be enduring the lockdown with your family, you may not be suffering with loneliness too much… In fact, you may be desperate for a bit of space! However, for those of us who do live alone, this understandably is a time of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness, and this can most certainly have a negative impact on our mental health.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember, social distancing does not have to mean total isolation. Whilst physically, we are often not able to see our family and friends, the man at the corner shop, or the lady you chat to in the gym… we are so lucky that we live in an age when technology has made the world much smaller! Where would we be at the moment without the internet? We have so many tools at our disposal that if we make the most of them a sense of isolation can be avoided.
Here are our top tips to look after your mental health and stay connected to loved ones;
- Accept that is it absolutely normal to feel worried, stressed, and on edge during the current situation. Try to take comfort from the fact that you are not alone in this and that we are all in the same boat.
- Make use of the internet! Use WhatsApp, Zoom, and FaceTime to connect with your friends and family. It’s amazing how much better a giggle with a loved one can make you feel! A day can feel like a week when you are stuck at home and it’s a good idea to fill your day with regular interaction. That friend you’ve been meaning to call but never find the time? Well now you have an abundance of it, so use it to re-connect.
- Don’t binge on 24hr news broadcasts! By all means keep informed, read or watch the news a couple of times a day but try not to sit at home constantly watching the events unfolding outside on the news channels. This can only serve to increase anxiety and make what is already a stressful time worse.
- Keep physically active – try and do at least 30 minutes of some kind of exercise each day whether that be a walk, run, online workout, yoga self practice, or whatever is practical for you and your situation.
- Take up a hobby at home – whether that be picking up the guitar you haven’t strummed for 20 years, learning to knit, trying your hand at being more creative in the kitchen, or even that jigsaw puzzle that has been sitting in a dusty box under the stairs. Never has there been a more opportune time!
- Eat well – don’t forget to nourish your body during this stressful time as the old adage ‘a healthy body equals a healthy mind’ is actually often accurate. Try to avoid binging on junk food and ensure you are maintaining a healthy diet. No-one is suggesting you shouldn’t have that bar of chocolate or a delicious pudding every now and then, but don’t let those kind of treats become the norm.
With all the good intentions in the world and even if you follow all of the tips above, we are all bound to have good and bad days, so it’s important to hold on to the knowledge that this will end, life will go back to normal for the vast majority of us, and you will be back at the Lab before you know it!
In the meanwhile, stay safe, stay healthy and keep in touch!