Right now you might be feeling a range of emotions which may have been brought on by the current Covid-19 pandemic. Not only are we experiencing a complete change of lifestyle, we might be feeling concerns about the potential future impacts of the virus and that’s completely normal. Our teams have pulled together some tips to help you feel more calm and positive, and take control of your mental health.
Staying positive and in control of your mental health
- Be sure to set a timetable for your day/week, create a list so that you can tick things off, keep the list simple and achievable. Accomplish something each day, don’t start too many things and leave them
- Show empathy towards your children – it is a really challenging time for them, help them understand this is the new normal and it is for a very good reason
- Think positively, positivity is contagious- so the more positive you are, the more positive feelings will come. You’ll feel more peaceful, happier and calm
- There are many free trials available for tv and books which are a great hobby and distraction – 7 day’s audiobooks/netflix/ 30 days on Amazon tv
- Quiet hour – spend some time in a room on your own, doing something just for you
- Find an online game that you can play with the children
- Enjoy a free online tour of a national park/museum
- Have a face mask, run a bath and enjoy some pamper time
- Why not start running as a family, you could try couch to 5k
From our mental health first aiders.
A simple exercise if the 'what-if's' keep spiralling
Relinquishing our desire for certainty and control is easier said than done. If you feel yourself start to spin out into negativity or panic, grounding yourself in the present moment can stop the negative spiral and allow your rational brain to come back online.
The technique is simple yet effective:
Bring your attention to your breath and your body. Focus all of your attention on the here and now: noticing the sights, sounds, and smells around you and what you’re feeling in your body. Continue to breath slowly in and out—gently bringing your mind back to your body and breath every time it drifts—until you feel calmer.
If you're feeling anxious or already suffer with anxiety or mental health issues
Separate what is in your control from what is not. There are things you can do, and it’s helpful to focus on those. Wash your hands. Remind others to wash theirs. Take your vitamins. Limit your consumption of news.
Do what helps you feel a sense of safety. This will be different for everyone, and it’s important not to compare yourself to others.
Get outside in nature. Exercise helps both your physical and mental health.
Challenge yourself to stay in the present. Perhaps your worry is compounding—you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future. When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently bring yourself back to the present moment. Notice the sights, sounds, tastes and other sensory experiences in your immediate moment and name them. Engaging in mindfulness activities is one way to help stay grounded when things feel beyond your control.
Stay connected and reach out if you need more support. Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling – if possible use a video chat app, it’s helpful to see people’s faces. If you are feeling particularly anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, it’s ok to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry.
From our Point 1 mental health support team.
Healthy eating for a healthy mind
For some of us, we have more time on our hands at the moment so it may be easier to plan our meals and cook from scratch, helping us to avoid processed foods that can be high in hydrogenated fats and salt.
Load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
Plan and enjoy an occasional comfort food for a weekly treat — pick a day and enjoy whatever you want, just not all your favourites on the same day!
Don’t forget your 5 a day – have fruit readily available and cut up to make fruit salads to add variety, try new fruits that are in season. Don’t dismiss frozen fruit and veg it is generally picked at peak ripeness, when they’re the most nutritious then frozen and packaged within a few hours.
Keep an eye on your portion sizes, remember if you are less active you will not need as many calories. Avoid empty calories such as alcohol, sugary foods and drinks. Snacks such as wholegrain foods like rice cakes, oat cakes and plain popcorn are a delicious healthy option.
Your body makes most of its vitamin D from sunlight during the summer months. Vitamin D helps your body to absorb calcium and keep your bones, muscles and teeth healthy. If you are going out less vitamin D can also be found in small amounts in oily fish, eggs, meat, milk, margarine and fortified breakfast cereals and yoghurts.
Certain nutrients in foods have been shown to reduce anxiety to help us feel as good as we can. People are feeling a lot of stress right now, and stress worsens feelings of low mood, and it also suppresses our immune systems. Therefore, targeting immune-boosting foods will have a dual effect — you may feel less anxious and boost your immunity.
Immune-boosting foods are:
There are many healthy online recipes available to help you cook from scratch so give it a go!
From our mental health first aiders.