10 ways to look after your mental health in lockdown
Whilst we know the current situation won’t last forever, lots of us are finding it hard to look after our mental health during this lockdown. Our Bright Star Counterpunch team have put together ten great tips to help.
- Limit your screen time
Screens are important for work and connecting with friends and family during lockdown; but too much screen time can actually increase feelings of stress, anxiety and low self-esteem. Reducing the amount of time you spend on a screen each day, even by small amounts, is a great first step to positively impacting your mental health.
- Daily exercise
Exercise is a fantastic way to support your mental health during lockdown, helping you feel a lot more positive. That’s because exercise releases powerful feel-good brain chemicals, including endorphins. In fact, exercise is so effective, GPs now prescribe it for mild depression. So whether it’s walking with a friend or completing a home workout, try adding some exercise into your day. The guidelines suggest doing 30 mins of exercise a day.
We’d love to help you with some different exercise ideas during this lockdown, so please get in touch with us to find out more.
- Think about your daily routine
One of the most challenging things about lockdown can be lack of structure, and this lack of routine can negatively impact your mental health too. Creating your own routine is a good way to address this, separating waking from work and other daily activities, as well as helping you create time to relax, stay active and focus on your health. You can start small, but developing consistent, daily habits can really help.
If you need help with this, our Counterpunch team can help you create a routine that suits you.
- Get outdoors
Getting outdoors and into nature is a great way to increase positive feelings. Not only will getting outside help improve your physical health, time outdoors in the fresh air can help reduce feelings of stress and anger, as well as boost your self-esteem. It can be as simple as taking a walk in your local park, but it can really improve your mental health during this lockdown.
- Keep connecting
One of the hardest parts of lockdown is not being able to see your support network in person. But this doesn’t mean you can’t connect. There are many ways to stay in touch with friends and family, using apps such as Zoom, phone calls, or even writing a letter. As the Mental Health Foundation says, making an effort to connect, asking how people are (twice!), and keeping communication lines open- even with the people in your house, is really good for your mental health.
We're running mental health support groups, completely free of charge if you wanted to connect with others on Zoom over lockdown. Please get in touch with us to find out more.
- Listen to music
Think about how great you feel when you hear your favourite song. That’s because of those feel-good brain chemicals, endorphins again. Music is also powerful in other ways, with lots of studies finding that listening to soothing and comforting music can improve mental health by reducing anxiety and feelings of stress. So why not put together a great playlist to enjoy? You can share it with your friends and family for an extra way to connect, too.
- Reduce negativity
The news and social media can be full of negative stories and reports that can quickly become overwhelming, particularly due to lockdown. One great way to improve your mental health is to reduce your exposure to negative media and try not to stress about things out of your control.
It’s not easy, but actively taking a break from the news or social media for a while can really help.
- Carry on learning
Learning something new is really powerful for better mental health, helping you develop new skills and discover new approaches to situations. Whether it’s reading a new book, challenging yourself to do something different or listening to an interesting talk; choose a subject you find interesting and learn more around it. There are so many great resources to do this, including reading, podcasts and Ted Talks.
- Eat and drink well
Not eating well will cause fatigue and a low mood, so think about how you can improve your diet. Where possible, try to eat regular, balanced meals to help your mood and energy levels. Make sure you hydrate and drink water regularly too- it’s essential for feeling more energised. We recommend aiming for 8 big glasses of water a day.
Sleep is essential in stabilising your mood, but it can be difficult, especially in periods of worry and stress like a lockdown. If possible, try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day (remember, routines can really help!) and try to have some screen-free time before going to sleep. You can also try some relaxation exercises too to help you get to sleep.