Supporting your mental health during lockdown

Well, we're now a few weeks into lockdown! How have you been finding it? At times like this, it can seem like there's one million reasons to worry. However, it's really important you take good care of your mental health, learning to recognise the signs when you may be finding things more difficult than usual, and treating yourself with kindness and compassion to enable yourself to recover and feel supported.

There's always someone to speak to

We'd like to make it clear early on that if you're struggling to the point you feel you may be at risk of putting yourself in danger, you can contact the wonderful team at Samaritans at any time of day or night, free of charge, from any phone, by dialling 116 123.

Here are some signs to be aware of, followed by some helpful suggestions which we hope may help you feel that little bit better.

Obsessively checking the news

With so much changing in the world and so many of us having access to smartphones, there's the ever-present temptation to check for news updates. It's not just on the news though - everyone seems to be sharing their opinions across social media, too.

Here are some suggestions:

- Avoid checking the news on your mobile first thing in the morning. It can set you off on a negative tangent at the start of the day.

- Do you think you might be spending too much time on your phone checking the news or scrolling through posts on social media which make you feel deflated? Why not try free app YourHour? You can set limits for the amount of time you spend on your phone each day. 

- You could even go a step further and delete news and social media apps. By forcing yourself to visit your browser and log in to access this information, it may reduce the likelihood of you doing so.

Feelings of dread/hopelessness

It's entirely normal to have good days and bad days at a time like this. If you're having more persistent bad days and feel unusually troubled, you can always speak to a caring person at Samaritans by dialling 116 123

For anyone experiencing less severe symptoms, here are some tips which may help:

- Keep talking. Particularly if you're weathering lockdown on your own, it's really important to maintain conversations with others. Technology is working wonders for keeping in touch at the moment. Why not organise a weekly Facetime with a friend, relative or neighbour? 

- Try to keep to a regular routine where possible. This includes waking up and going to sleep at consistent times, eating regular, nourishing meals and maintaining personal hygiene by getting up, washed and dressed each day. It may seem obvious, but keeping to these usual routines can make a world of difference.

- Set small, achievable goals - the key word there being 'achievable'! If you don't feel you can commit to reading a whole book this week, settle for at least a couple of pages a day. You don't need to do a full hour of active yoga to help yourself feel Zen - take 5 minutes out of your day to sit and practice mindfulness. Allow yourself the time to sit comfortably and consciously observe your thoughts as they drift in and out of your mind. Breathe deeply, focusing on the breath being drawn into your lungs and slowly exhaled. 

- Struggling to sleep at night? Why not try a relaxing bath before bedtime? Slipping into fresh sheets afterwards can work wonders, too. Lavender and camomile are both well-known for their soothing, sleep-inducing properties. Consider treating yourself to a lavender body oil or pillow spray you can apply as you get into bed, or perhaps treat yourself to a nice box of camomile tea on your next supermarket shop.

We hope these tips are useful and help you to feel a little better! In the meantime, if there's anything we can do at Shop Optimum to support you further (even if you just fancy a chat), please give us a call on 0113 263 3849.

 

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