Look after your mental health and wellbeing if you are staying home

New Directions

An important advice article from our partner New Directions on how to protect mental health during the pandemic:

Plan your day

We are all adjusting to a new, rather strange, way of life at the moment. This can be a risk to our mental wellbeing.

As tempting as it might be to stay in our pyjamas all day, regular routines are essential for our identity, self-confidence and purpose.

Try to start your day at roughly the same time you usually would and aim to set aside time each day for movement, relaxation, connection and reflection.

Move more every day

Being active reduces stress, increases energy levels, which can make us more alert and help us sleep better.

Explore different ways of adding physical movement and activity to your day and find some that work best for you.

Even at home, there will be lots of ways to exercise and keep your body moving.

Try a relaxation technique

Relaxing and focusing on the present can help improve your mental health and lighten negative feelings.

Try some breathing exercises to see what helps. For example, sometimes we can be so tense that we do not even remember what being relaxed feels like.

Two breathing exercises to choose from:

First – 4-7-8 technique, focus on the following breathing pattern:

  • empty the lungs of air
  • breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds
  • hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds
  • exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound, for 8 seconds
  • repeat the cycle up to 4 times

Second – Deep Breathing

  • Get comfortable. You can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees
  • Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air
  • Breathe out through your nose
  • Place one hand on your belly
  • As you breathe in, feel your belly rise
  • Take three more full, deep breaths

Connect with others

Staying at home, especially if you live on your own, can feel lonely. Find creative ways to keep in touch with fellow team members, friends, family, and others to help you (and them) feel more connected and supported.

Explore ways of connecting that work for you, whether that’s by post, over the phone, social media, teams, video-chat, face time etc. This could be anything, from sharing a cup of tea over video, or simply sending a supportive text-message.

Improve your sleep

Feelings of uncertainty and changes to daily life may mean you have more difficulty sleeping.

There is a lot you can do to improve your sleep. Aim to go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even at the weekend if you can, and try to get some natural sunlight (by opening your curtains and windows) where possible. This helps to regulate your body clock which can help you sleep better.

Wind down before bed by avoiding using your phone, tablet/iPad, computer or TV for an hour before bedtime.

We are in this together, so please drop one of us a line if you need a little extra support during this time.