How To Look After Your Mental Health During Lockdown

A month ago, lockdown was unfamiliar territory for us all. Five weeks or more later, the novelty of this new state and rhythm of life may at best start to be wearing a bit thin, and at worst starting to take a toll on our mental well-being.

So how do you look after your mental health during lockdown? There are some easy steps all of us can take to keep us and those around us mentally healthy.

  1. Go to bed and get up at the same times every day.
  2. Get dressed soon after you get up and resist the temptation to spend most of the morning in your pyjamas.
  3. Build some form of exercise into your day (once a day if outside of the home as per the government guidelines).
  4. If you are working from home, take regular breaks and stick as far as you can to a schedule – start and finish at a specific time and resist the temptation to work longer hours.
  5. Keep busy. Set a realistic goal at the start of each day – such as cut the grass, finish a book, paint the kitchen, whatever it might be.
  6. Eat regular, proper meals – homemade if you can.
  7. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink – perhaps only drink on certain days of the week.
  8. Schedule regular telephone or internet calls with close friends and family. Planning these for specific days and times can help give structure to the day as well as something to look forward to.
  9. Join an online class such as cooking, exercise or learning a new language or skill.
  10. Limit the amount and frequency of news you watch or read, and be selective about which source you use.
  11. Switch off news and social media notifications on your phone and other devices.
  12. Try to get outside every day, as part of your daily exercise or go in your garden or on your balcony, if you have one.
  13. Try practising mindfulness – by focusing on the here and now. Mindfulness can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and stress.
  14. Don’t let special occasions pass unrecognised, however much of an effort it might be by celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, etc online with friends and family. Online parties, quizzes and cook-ins are all good ways of making an occasion special.
  15. If you are finding it a strain living in such close quarters with others, find somewhere to be alone and cool off for a few moments if you can – even if it’s just the bathroom – before getting into arguments.
  16. Be kind to yourself, and allow yourself the things that make you feel good. Watch a film, enjoy a hot bath or listen to music.
  17. Remember that the lockdown is temporary and that it is the best way we can all help others. It will end.
  18. If you are finding things really tough, take advantage of the many support groups such as the Samaritans. Many communities have set up their own local support groups too. Share your thoughts and feelings before they become too much.

If you feel you could really use some professional help with your mental health, we at Private Psychiatry are here. Both our consultants, Dr Winbow and Prof Hale, are offering online and telephone appointments during the lockdown. Just get in touch with us to arrange a consultation.

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