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Looking after your mental health and wellbeing during Covid-19

This week marks the ninth week since the national lockdown began. During this time, it’s fair to say that most of us have experienced many ups and downs as we adjust to our new day-to-day way of living.

Everyone is experiencing lockdown in their own way. You may be feeling frustrated or down or experiencing anxiety or loneliness. You may have worries about the impact that this will have on your job, finances or the health of yourself or your loved one.

All these feelings are perfectly normal and understandable.

Covid-19 has impacted our everyday lives and the ways in which we cope with stress, so it’s important that we take the time to look after ourselves.

To tie in with Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve put together a list of advice and useful resources to help you take care of yourself and others.

Keeping fit

During lockdown measures, it’s important that we all keep moving and keep looking after ourselves.

Every minute of activity counts. A brisk walk every day could help you deal with things like anxiety, depression, feeling low or lacking energy. You could even try the Couch to 5k app to start yourself off.

If running’s not your thing or you’re shielding and need to exercise indoors, why not visit this NHS page which has free to use aerobic exercise, strength and resistance, Pilates, yoga and other fitness plans videos.

If you’re not sure what you can and can’t do in terms of exercising at the moment, Sport England have put together a handy page of facts on how to stay safe while keeping active.

Keeping fit with kids

If you have kids at home, why not get them involved in getting active too? The Change for Life website has Disney-inspired indoor games and 10 Minute Shake Up activities to help them stay active while everyone’s at home. Find them here.

Anxiety

Lots of people will be feeling more anxious than normal at the moment, and that includes people who may not have experienced anxiety before. You might have symptoms such as feeling overwhelmed, difficulty concentrating, upset stomach, not being able to think straight or feeling out of control.

Charity group Every Life Matters has produced a fantastic easy-read guide containing practical information about things you can do now to look after your mental health and wellbeing, and how you can support others.

Over at Streetwise, a Newcastle youth work charity, they have produced a video to help our minds and body to stay calm.

Routines

One thing which can really help at the moment is having clear routines. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines and set yourself goals. You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week.

If you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule. You could set a new time for a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV programme or film, or cook.

Posture during home working

With many people working from home, it’s really important that you think about your posture while you’re working. There are ways in which you can look after your back when you’re working. Try to maintain a good posture. If you’re sitting, try to make sure that the small of your back is supported, your shoulders are relaxed, and that there isn’t any pressure on the back of your knees.

As we would do in the office, it’s important to always remember to move throughout your working day to promote good health. Try to take regular breaks and move at least every 15 minutes if your posture is compromised. You could also try standing while working (e.g. at your kitchen worktop). If you do try standing, keep your legs, torso, neck and head approximately in line and vertical – try not to slouch, lean or twist to the side.

Domestic abuse

Coronavirus is affecting the most vulnerable people in society more than most, including adults and children experiencing and escaping from domestic abuse.

Since social distancing measures began, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline reported that number of calls rose by 25% in the first few days as adults and children experiencing domestic abuse are, in some circumstances, isolating with their perpetrators.

Anyone who is worried about a loved one, or about isolating with a perpetrator, can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. In the event of an emergency, you should call 999 then, if you are unable to speak at the time, press 55.