How to Protect Your Mental Health During ‘Social Distancing’

How to Protect Your Mental Health During ‘Social Distancing’

As we head into what could be several weeks of limited access to our normal routine and in-person interaction with other people, many of us will be feeling a high degree of anxiety and anticipated loneliness.

To help relieve some of this apprehension, here are some ways to prepare and manage your day-to-day activities, in order to reduce the negative emotional impact for yourself and for others.

 

  • Identify the positives

Focus on what you are able to do during this time. Organise, read, rest, cook, exercise and play. Take advantage of the time this provides.

 

  • Don’t overload on news

Staying informed can make you feel in control, but the constant news reports can also become overwhelming. Try to limit the amount of time you spend reading or listening to the news and make sure you are using a reliable source of information such as the government website.

 

  • Set a schedule

With so much uncertainty, taking action and sticking to a routine can really         help maintain a sense of normality. Things like eating around the same time as usual, dedicating time to work and rest. If you are on any medication, please do continue taking it unless advised otherwise by your doctor. If you are worried about getting your prescription, call the pharmacy where you collect your medication or your GP, they can arrange getting your prescription delivered or picked up by someone else.

 

  • Find things that help you feel calm

Like at any other time, it’s important that you are not only looking after your physical health but your mental health too. Think about some activities that can help when you are feeling overwhelmed, like breathing techniques, yoga, playing music, doing a puzzle and talking to a friend. Try to avoid turning to stimulants like cigarettes or alcohol which can leave you feeling worse.

 

  • Be social, virtually

Social isolation doesn’t have to mean emotional isolation. Create a virtual schedule with friends, colleagues and family so you can be present with your loved ones, whilst staying safe. Think about using apps such as Whatsapp and Zoom to talk to someone via video call. If you find that you need extra support, think about who you could turn to, whether it’s someone you know, a helpline such as Samaritans, or a registered counsellor via telephone. 

 

  • Help others

As long as you are feeling well in yourself and are able, reach out to family or neighbours who may be struggling. Apps such as Next Door allow you to interact with neighbours, discuss community news and let people know what you can do for them. Being helpful and staying active can help distract you and boost feelings of self-worth.

 

Remember, this pandemic will end. New stories, open-ended developments, and the unknown are anxiety provoking for sure, but be mindful that this outbreak won’t last forever and better days will come. 

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