Updated: Apr 14, 2020
Taking care of your mental well-being is extremely important during this unsettling period. It is important to remember that you are not alone if you are feeling anxious, worried, upset and frustrated. Feelings like this are temporary and will pass, just as will this lock-down period.
I've spoken to a few good friends - Asad, Becky and George to get their top suggestions for looking after Mental Health during this Coronavirus Lockdown.
Dressing For Your Day is Asad's top suggestion - find him at @asad_ifty on Instagram.
Asad is a Mental Health and Wellbeing Champion in his Department and is an authoritative figure in this subject, as well as being a passionate personal ambassador for positive mental well-being.
Asad considers the importance of the rituals we perform as part of getting ready for the day. As millions of us are, Asad is also working from home. Each work day morning he dresses like he is going to work, also wearing a watch and aftershave (which he wouldn't normally do if he was having a day at home, but would never leave the house without).
While it may be tempting to simply throw on a comfortable robe or stay in pyjamas, getting dressed for the day makes everything feel a little more like normal times. Or maybe there's a middle ground where you can lose the tie and the shoes and put on some comfy slippers instead. Dressing up for work can make us feel more in control and ready for the work day. As when going into the workplace you should wear what makes you feel great and comfortable.
Dressing up for the day as if you were leaving to go to work and then dressing down at the end of the work day can also help to maintain that sense of routine. Your day will be better divided into work day and relaxation at home time. This practice will also make it easier to adjust for when we are required to go back to work in the office.
Go Outside Every Day is Becky's top suggestion - find her Twitter handle at @beckybarnesb
Becky is Huffpost UK Journalist. Becky is a hugely positive person and I always admire her outlook and approach to life and its challenges. Becky's strength is her vulnerability and her compassion shines through her writing style and her ability to make everyone around her smile.
Becky states that 'you deserve to see the sun on your face'. Going outside can hugely improve your mood as well as your physical health. Going outside does not need to be a big step which takes you out of your comfort zone - time spent in the garden, a walk around the block or a stroll in the park can all have hugely positive benefits for your mental well-being, even for 15-20 minutes.
Going outside each day can also take us away from our computer screens. You may even choose to leave your phone at home. Aim to be present, focusing on the new spring blooms, sounds of nature and how your body feels as it opens up and stretches. Notice the fresh air in your lungs and take a moment to feel gratitude and peace.
Turn Off the News is George's top suggestion. George is an editor for a well-known newspaper. I have watched his resilience and persistence to rising to better a better physical and mental space over the last year, with awe. After working through a very tough year, he has maintained a strength of character and hope - where on the other hand, many others, including myself may have felt like giving up and fallen into a ball of despair. He is hugely inspiring and I am learning lots from his approach to life.
The 24 hour news cycle can have hugely damaging effects on our mental health. Listening to negative news can put a huge dampener on our mood and can make us feel more negative about our own personal lives. Consider only looking at the news at a certain point in the day. Many of us are so used to clicking on the news whenever we get a spare moment. One suggestion is to remove news apps from your phone. Another option is to simply be more selective about which new sources you are consuming. Hugely right wing, hate-filled sources may have more detrimental effects than reading a balanced source from a journalist you have personal respect for. Remember that news wants your attention and its going to get this by exploiting our fear. Don't give them the satisfaction or the clicks.
There are many more amazing tips to look after mental health during this difficult period. Everyone will have their own unique set of challenges. As I have done today, reaching out to friends for their suggestions and to connect, I would personally suggest that you also reach out, speak out and connect. Discuss your worries and fears with friends and family and people you trust. Or simply have a chat about something totally non related. Share ideas and be compassionate to all.
We are all feeling a sense of anxiety in this time, likely so even if we think we are not. Reach out to people and be an ear for them but at the same time remember that you are not alone and that you must allow yourself to feel supported too.
Remember that this is only a period of time - even if we didn't choose it. We can only do our best by taking actions to look after our mental health and that of others.