Look After Your Mental Health and Wellbeing During Lockdown and Beyond!
Apr 08, 2020
We all need a bit of support from time to time. Getting Through Together, a campaign by the Mental Health Foundation and Canterbury District Health Board, have pulled togther some top tips to help you look after your health and wellbeing during this tough time. For more information, articles and resources head straight to their website https://www.allright.org.nz/campaigns/getting-through-together
Continue to connect
Connecting with others is so important for our wellbeing and helps to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. We can support each other to get through this. Some ideas to connect include: playing video games with mates, playing online scrabble or other board games, joining or starting a virtual book club, using social media, having video catch-ups with workmates, calling friends and whānau who are in self-isolation and reaching out to neighbours to ensure everyone has what they need to get through.
Keep taking notice
Notice the beauty in the world around your home. Take time to feel the sun on your skin, open the windows wide and allow fresh air to travel through your home, make a list of what you’re grateful for, take the time to thank someone for how they make you feel, do a mindfulness exercise on YouTube, grow plants inside or outside your home.
Find ways to be active
No gym? No problem! Do a yoga class online, try out a new workout on YouTube, go for walks or runs outside (just stay 2m away from others!), use the cans in the pantry as weights, stretch.
Find ways to give
Give compliments, think about a skill you have you could share with your whānau/flatmates/friends, share a favourite recipe, let people know you’re there to help (and tell them what help you can offer – e.g. can you pick up food for a neighbour when you go shopping? Can you help your friends’ kids with their English homework via Skype?). Check in on neighbours and members of your community who may need to hear a cheery voice or need a helping hand.
Staying curious and engaging with the world around you is a great way to uplift your wellbeing. Pick a question you’ve always wondered about and take some time to look it up. Do an online course and upskill yourself in the down time. Look up stories, myths and legends from different cultures. Download an app like Duolingo and start learning a new language. Ask your tamariki/kids to teach you something they learned at school.
If you're currently getting help with your mental health, continue this if possible
Talk to your GP, counsellor, case worker or mental health team about how they can continue supporting you. Can your appointments take place over the phone, via email, text or video chat? What tips do they have to help you get through? Who can you call if you need help urgently? Write this down so you have it handy when you need it. Keep taking regular medication.
Stick to your routine (or start a new one)
Routines sound dull, but they’re good for our mental health. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time, eat at regular times, shower, change your clothes, have regular e-meetings with colleagues or virtual coffee dates with friends, do your chores. This will help you to manage your days and adjust when life starts to go back to normal.
Explore different ways to relax
Many of us haven’t stretched our ‘relaxation muscles’ in far too long. It might take a bit of trial and error to find what works for you. Maybe it’s lighting a scented candle, switching off with a good book, playing a video game, having a silent disco, talking to a mate, reading a book, getting creative and making some art, try our mindful colouring, journaling or watching movies. We all need to find things that help us switch off and reenergise our minds and bodies.
Limit the amount of news you follow
Pick one source you trust (like the COVID-19 official website) and check it once per day. If you want to keep checking in with news coverage, take notice of how it makes you feel and set time limits or restrict your news sources to just one or two if you need to.
If you are still not feeling all right, there is free help available. If you are looking for information or advice relating directly to mental health head online head to https://www.allright.org.nz/ or https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/. Over the phone, you can call or text 1737 anytime, 24 hours a day. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543354 or text HELP to 4357.