Although we are all facing the same restrictions in this lock-down situation. The reality is that actually lock-down looks quite different for all of us. Some of us may be key workers under enormous amounts of strain doing their daily jobs. Some of us are working from home. Some of us are juggling working from home with entertaining the kids, and some of us are trying our best to home school without a clue what we are doing!

And all of this in a time when we are scared for ourselves and our loved ones. The world as we know it has changed and it is a scary and uncertain time. The freedom that we so often take forgranted in our daily lives has gone. It’s quite understandable that we are all feeling overwhelmed, on edge, and stressed.

In order to get through this we really do need to take care of our mental health during lock-down. Here are a few things you can do to help calm the mind.

looking after your mental health during lockdown

Take the pressure off

Particuarly for the parents out there. Know one is expecting you to suddenly be a qualified teacher. And even if you are a qualified teacher, I have it on good authority that teachers find it much easier to control a class of thirty than they do their own offspring.

Some days the kids might do their work with enthusiasm and make you feel like you have all this in hand. Other days they will complain and miss their friends and not want to learn. They are as confused as us by what’s going on, and given how everyone is feeling, on days like this it is perfectly acceptable to play in the garden and watch movies. It’s important to look after our children’s mental health during lock-down too.

Teachers are one of the most hardworking professions. I have no doubt that when this is all over and schools return, they will welcome our kids back with open arms, big smiles and a plan to get everything back on track. Whatever on track looks like for your child.

Get in the garden

To be honest it has kind of felt like the British weather is somewhat mocking us right now. I mean if we were doing the school run, you could guarantee it would be chucking it down.

We may not be able to go to the beach or have a picnic at the park, but if we are lucky enough to have a garden we can still enjoy the sunshine and get some fresh air.

At the time of writing this we are still able to go for a walk as long as we follow social distancing rules. A walk around the block can clear the mind and fill the lungs with fresh air.

Talk

Whilst we can’t physically see our friends and families, we can stay in contact. There are so many apps to make this happen. A Saturday night on a Zoom call with friends is a great way to spend the evening, even if you do just talk about Joe Exotic!

Check in with each other. Go via the post box on your daily walk and send someone a letter to brighten their day.

If you are struggling to talk to a friend or family member but feel you need help, talk to a counsellor online through BetterHelp. There is always help available, even in a global pandemic. You are not alone and many of us are struggling to cope.

Take time for yourself

As much as this is a time to appreciate your family and enjoy some quality time together, it’s also fair to say that you are going to wind each other up spending so much time in close proximity.

It is important to make time and space for yourself. Maybe once the kids are in bed, or maybe your partner will keep them occupied. Maybe you need to hide in the shed. But it’s important to take the time and recognise when others in the family need that time for themselves too.

Read a book, have a bath, do some yoga, do some drawing. Just do something that focuses your mind on something that stops your thoughts spiralling.

Exercise

We all need some endorphins right now. It’s a great way to clear the mind and feel good. Ok let’s be honest, the feel good bit comes after. Plus it means you can eat more cake!

A man who lives near me was in the paper for running a marathon in his back garden! Whether you are joining in with Joe Wicks PE lesson, going for a run, or having kitchen discos, it’s all great for your mental health.

Make a plan

If like me you are a planner, then make a plan! Do a to-do list at the start of each day, so you can feel like you have accomplished something. Set your self a task that focuses the mind on something else, get lost in a good book, organise the junk drawer, clean the veg drawer in the fridge, get your netflix binge on. Do at least on task a day that gives you a sense of achievement.

Ticking things of a to do list puts you in control and gives you purpose.

One day at a time

As much as I like a plan, right now more than ever, none of us know what the future holds. We know we will get through this, but we don’t know when. Try and take one day at a time right now. Plan for that day. Don’t plan for the next month or it can all feel overwhelming.

I don’t know about you but I’m finding last week feels like months ago! Try not to think too far ahead, or focus on how long the lock-down will last. Just get through each day and focus on the positives about that day.

Take social media breaks

I’ve stopped reading articles with big scary headlines. In fact, I now only watch the daily briefing. And it’s made me feel much calmer and less anxious. I’m still trying to find a way to avoid the people on social media that are not following the advice to stay home, because it makes me angry.

But when it all gets to much shut out the outside world and concentrate on your own bubble.

Forgive

I don’t believe any family is going to get through this without arguments and fall outs. But it’s really important that we are quick to forgive. That we recognise we are all trying to get our heads around this and struggling with different emotions. We are not the only one’s who may be struggling with our mental health during lock-down.

Yes, maybe your other half was being a di*k. But maybe you were feeling a bit sensitive. And either way it’s not like either of you can storm out. So kiss and make up, because the four walls really don’t need an atmosphere whilst you are stuck in them.

Positive spin

I don’t believe we should always put a positive spin on things. We are in a scary and unknown situations and all feelings are valid. But if you are struggling and want to feel more positive, simple things like doing a gratitude list each day can help to shift your mindset.

Ultimately I think the best thing for all of our mental health during lock-down is to be kind to ourselves and each other.

This post is sponsored by BetterHelp

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Claire Kirby

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