How to care for your mental health while social distancing
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How to care for your mental health while social distancing

As we socially distance ourselves during the Corona virus pandemic, it’s normal to feel sad, anxious or lonely. Perhaps you miss spending time with your grand kids and your family. Or maybe your regular outings and activities have been cancelled, and it’s affecting your mood. Whatever your situation, now is a good time to care for your mental health. Here are 13 really simple things you can take each day to give yourself a boost – all without leaving the house.

  1. Look after yourself

Although it’s tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day, getting dressed each morning, brushing your teeth and combing your hair can lift your self-esteem. If you’re starting to find you need help with personal care, our dedicated carers are more than happy to lend a hand.

  1. Try to keep to a routine

Studies show having a regular routine can help us feel in control of life and reduce our stress levels. Try to wake up, eat meals, exercise and sleep at a similar time each day. This will help keep you anchored and ensure you prioritise habits that are good for your health.

  1. Enjoy eating healthy food

Fuel your body and your mind with plenty of nutritious food such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein. Some foods that are thought to lift your mood include fatty fish like salmon, green tea, bananas, oats, berries, coffee and (of course) chocolate!

  1. Move your body

Exercise reduces stress, improves your sleep, pumps blood to your brain so you can think clearly and produces endorphins. Simple activities like going for a neighbourhood walk, doing some gardening or doing an online yoga class can help get the body moving.

  1. Connect with your friends and family online

Spend some time, even just a few minutes, chatting to your friends and family on the phone or through online platforms like Face Time, Skype, Whats App, Google Hangouts or Zoom. If you want more, we have plenty of online social groups and lessons you can try.

  1. Give meditatinga go

Meditating isn’t just about sitting very still; it’s also a great way to reduce anxiety by bringing your attention to the present moment, without judgement. An easy way to start is to visit a meditation website or download a free app, such as Headspace.

  1. Listen to your favourite song

Did you know music can elevate your mood and keep you motivated? If you are living with dementia, music can also reduce agitation and provoke memories, as the area of the brain linked to musical memory is relatively undamaged by the disease. Just a few more reasons to crank that playlist!

  1. Keep working on your individual goals

Don’t forget about your own personal goals! Thanks to technology, services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy and counselling can delivered online, helping you enjoy quality of life. To find out more about what online therapies we offer, get in touch.

  1. Do hobbies that you enjoy (and maybe try new ones!)

Now is a good time to get into those hobbies you enjoy, whether it’s art, knitting, gardening, colouring in, doing puzzles or cooking. While you may not be able to meet for group activities, there are plenty of online resources to help you learn a new hobby or skill.

  1. Don’t watch the news too much

Constantly watching the news and hearing stories about the pandemic may cause you to be stressed and anxious. Make sure you have some time in your day when you turn all the screens off and do something enjoyable to take your mind off current events.

  1. Find joy in the little things

Think of something that you did today that made you smile: listening to birds, enjoying a cup of tea, getting out in the garden, stroking your pet, chatting to a friend or watching your favourite TV show. Learning to appreciate the little things can help lift your overall mood.

  1. Get help if you need it

For those who are in quarantine, everyday things may be really difficult to do. If you need help with grocery shopping, cleaning your home, running errands or attending appointments, don’t hesitate to get help. We have special services we are offering during this time that may be useful to you.

  1. Do things that engage your mind

Spend some time doing activities that get you thinking. This can be anything from playing word games and find-a-words to completing jigsaw puzzles, a Sudoku or reading a book. Exercising your mind also has the added benefit of helping prevent memory deterioration.

  1. If you’re struggling, reach out

Remember: it’s OK to not be OK. If you find you are really struggling with you mental health, speak out by telling your friend, family member, doctor or your support worker. You can also call BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636, visit the headspace website if you’re a young person, or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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