Ok, so we are now into day… I have no idea! The days have run away with me, I can’t remember what it’s like to talk to other adults and my kids are feral!! I cannot take it much more… Oh, crap, I have to though don’t I? I have weeks of this so I need to carry on, I need to focus and I need to ignore my mind that is slowly starting to scream from being stuck in isolation. I mean, that’s natural, isn’t it? To have moments where you want to scream and escape? This is not a normal situation for any of us but what we need to do is to ensure that those occasional lower moments remain as just those and that we don’t all dive into a pit of depression. This could be so easy for many of us which is why I wanted to share with you what helps with my mental health usually and what has been helping this week so far…
13 Things To Help Your Mental Health During Isolation
Making the Bed
May sound really odd but making sure the bed is made is a really positive way to start the day. Chore one, down. Easy peasy. Tick! Oh, I do love a tick list, even if it’s in my head.
Just because you will only be seeing your family at this current moment doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still make a bit of an effort. If being clean, wearing makeup, doing your hair and wearing nice clothes makes you feel good, keep doing it.
It’s hard right now but there is a lot available to us. There are workouts, yoga classes, dance classes, everything you could need right there on YouTube and if you have kids, it is great fun to do these together.
I do like a routine, as do my kids. We always have the same morning routine and even if we don’t stick to the same times, we still always do it all in the same order. Once we are dressed I need to know we are doing something and even though I am not being strict with the home learning, I have a timetable that I am filling in as we go, I am making sure that I have an idea of what we can do before the day starts and I am focussing on three activities in the morning with another three in the afternoon just so my brain can go tick! On those too. Bedtime for the kids is all exactly the same too.
None of us can keep going all day long so I have breaks from the homeschooling and when I do I let myself break too. This may mean sitting quietly in the kitchen with a cuppa, checking in with a friend on social media, phoning my sister or reading a bit of my book. Just enough to switch my brain off.
We are lucky to have a garden, it is small but it allows us to be able to get outside for some fresh air whenever we need to. Sometimes being stuck in the house for too long can be suffocating and those feelings can easily escalate into feeling claustrophobic which can lead to stress or even panic attacks. When I feel as though the pressure is building, the atmosphere is becoming tense, I just open the doors and get outside. I am also using that walk a day to take stock of everything. An evening walk is a nice time to go out by yourself and to just enjoy a bit of calm.
I was feeling really low the other night. I was exhausted from the day and the last thing I felt like doing was joining in with my choir in a live. However, I checked in just to see how it was being run and I ended up singing along for the hour just to my laptop. No one could hear me (thank goodness!) but it was just so nice to see my choir leader in front of me, doing what he always does. It was a bit of normality and I clearly needed it because I was a different person by the end! Even if you don’t already have a group or club you go to, there are loads being set up online so take a little look and see what suits you.
This has always been a little escapism for me, that glimpse into somebody else’s life, experiencing what they are up to, engaging with them, chatting with friends and it is helping even more now as I can see how others are coping, see how they are homeschooling, pick up some ideas and feel a little less alone in all of this. Instagram has honestly brought me a lot of friendships and there are people on there who I talk to every day. Some I have met in real life, some I haven’t but that doesn’t matter, they are people I can chat openly with.
Playing my piano, having a sing, dancing around my living room to music, all of these brighten my day. Music changes my mood so quickly and it is something I need in my life. Even if you don’t play an instrument yet why not take one up during this time? Even if you can’t sing very well, even if you look ridiculous prancing around with the kids, it doesn’t matter. No one can see you (neighbours may hear you but nevermind) and it will make you feel so much better.
I don’t know about you but a disorganised home leads to my brain feeling the exact same way. So after each activity with the kids I have to tidy it away. I then prepare the next one. In between, I will be sorting the kitchen and trying my best to stay on top of the toys and washing. If things start to slide it will feel ten times worse with all of us in here.
It’s not something I usually do but I really think we could all benefit from a bit of zen to help our mental health whilst in isolation. I am thinking that imagining myself after all of this, sunning myself on a beach, with waves lapping at my feet and enjoying the gorgeous sounds of the water and birds will help me through. I am such an outdoorsy person so being stuck in for a long time is definitely going to affect me.
It is so tempting to stay up later when there’s no school or work or if you are just working from home but this will only add to your darker moods. Get earlier nights, rest as much as you can, switch off in the evenings and allow yourself to heal. The days are more intense you don’t need tiredness making them harder or unbearable.
I cannot stress this enough, just talk. Whether it’s on the phone, via facetime, on a platform like Zoom with a group of friends or on social media, just reach out and chat. We are all in the same boat so everybody is going to be thinking and feeling more or less the same as you. This is the one time where most people’s mental health will be taking a battering and we can relate to one another. Having a bad day? Rant it out with someone. Having a low moment? Have a cry to someone. And it works the other way too. Be that shoulder for somebody else to lean on, that can also make you feel far better as you are left with the sense of purpose and being helpful which makes you feel better about yourself. It is amazing how much a good chat can help.
Take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. If you need to shout and scream go and find a room to do it in. If you need to cry, go ahead, a lot of us have done this already. If you need some alone time, explain this to your family and ask them to understand. If you need a bit of ‘me time’, go and run a bath, grab a book, light a few candles and drift away for a while. Your mental health is so important and even more so in isolation.
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