10 steps to mental wellbeing while at home
We’ve now changed our 7 steps to wellbeing to 10 steps to link in with Every Mind Matters’s national campaign messages.
These are unprecedented times. Taking care of our own health and wellbeing can be the first thing to slide when we’re focused on taking care of patients, friends, family and loved ones.
Staying at home for a prolonged period can be difficult, frustrating and lonely for some people and that you or other household members may feel low. It can be particularly challenging if you don’t have much space or access to a garden. It’s important to remember to take care of your mind as well as your body and to get support if you need it.
1- Look after your body
- Visit the Active Essex website for some great ideas and videos on how you can keep active (tips for families too- we love Joe Wick’s video workouts every morning at 9am and the 10 min shake up programme from Change4Life) when you’re at home, if you are well enough
- Join Active Essex’s Keep Essex Active Youtube channel for live workout sessions throughout the week
- Sport England have launched a new campaign ‘Join the Movement’ #StayInWorkOut to inspire people to get creative with staying active in and around the home
- See the 10 minute workout videos from OneYou website
- Enjoy some gardening- see beginners’ guide from RHS
- Government guidelines state that so long as you maintain a safe distance from others, you can go outside as many times as you wish to exercise. So, Couch to 5k is available to you. As is Active 10 which guides you to complete three ten-minute walks per day.
- Suffering from arthritis? Arthritis Action have also been listed on the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy new webpage entitled ‘Managing your bone, joint or muscle pain’, encouraging patients to take practical steps to manage their condition at home during the Coronavirus outbreak.
- Keep your mind active too: Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, jigsaws or drawing and painting.
Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol.
- See tips for mindful drinking from Drinkaware
- Take the Alcohol Test from Drink Coach
- Ace Lifestyle run a weight management programme in Essex
- See guidance on eating well from the NHS
- The Better Health campaign features information on healthier eating and exercise as well as a free 12 week weight loss app.
Connect with other people, through any means of communication. Face to face is still possible using technology: Try FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp video calls to keep connected. It may be different or odd, to begin with, but before you know it – it will become second nature.
- See befriending services available in Essex for the elderly and vulnerable population
- Coronavirus information service on WhatsApp- Simply add 07860 064422 in your phone contacts and then message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started
3- Support and help others
Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, so try to be a little more understanding of other people’s concerns, worries or behaviours at this time.
- The NHS Volunteer campaign is a new initiative which looks to help the 1.5 million Britons with underlying medical conditions who have been asked to stay at home for the next 12 weeks. It is also designed as a support structure to reduce pressure on the NHS and its staff. Hundreds of thousands have already registered and you can do too now
- Give blood– You can still travel to donate. Giving blood and platelets is essential to the NHS and vulnerable patients. Please keep donating.
- Join the Essex Coronavirus Action on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a collaboration between Essex County Council, The Essex Public Health Team, and local Facebook group owners to provide three main services (advice to help prevent coming into contact with Covid-19, content to inform people about hoaxes, myths and fake news and a service to assist vulnerable members of the community who may need help) during the Covid-19 outbreak. Register to volunteer in your local area. Registration is open for any residents or businesses who want to volunteer in their local area. By using one of the forms below, your details will be passed directly to the group or groups that are operating near to you: For Individuals or Businesses
- Find out what food your local food bank needs and how you can donate safely. You may be able to contribute something from your shopping basket when you checkout.
4- Take notice and focus on the present
Slow down, pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, senses and the world around you. Taking notice helps us to learn about ourselves and feel connected with our world.
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
- Open the window: Taking in deep breaths of fresh air will fill your body and mind with fresh energy.
- Try mindfulness: whether you’re in self-isolation, looking after someone or working from home, there’s a chance our minds will whirr away at this time with thoughts, concerns and worries. Try stilling your thoughts through a 10-minute daily meditation using apps such as Calm or Insight Timer. You can also find meditation videos on YouTube.
5- Keep learning
Challenge your mind- this is a great time to learn a new skill. Learning boosts our self-confidence and broadens our horizons.
- Learn a new language for free using the Duolingo website or app. Pick up that dusty musical instrument stored in the wardrobe
- Listen to a new podcast or audiobook
- Take up a new pastime/learn a new skill e.g knitting, painting, poetry. Find something the whole household will enjoy.
- Join an online choir
- Visit the ACL website– distance and online-learning will be available for some courses
- Join the library online! If you live, work or study in Essex you can join the library service online. This gives you access to a whole library of audio books, magazines or comics from the comfort of your home
6- Look after your sleep
Good quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it’s important to get enough. So keep the same routine, get up at the same time as normal. Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices.
- The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.
- Tips for good sleep: How to get to sleep and 10 tips for beating insomnia
- Check out the NHS apps sleep library
- Take a break from the screens- TV, phone, tablet, computer—in the two hours before bedtime
- Do something active every day- see ideas above to incorporate some physical activity into your life
7- Talk about your worries – it’s okay not to be okay
It’s normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation.
- See our mental health support page for young people
- See our A to Z to support services in Essex
- See NHS recommended helplines
8. Stick to the facts
Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful. When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
- Find a credible source you can trust – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people.
- You could also use the GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. This automated chatbot covers the most common questions about coronavirus. Message the coronavirus chatbot to get started.
If you’re a parent, discuss the Coronavirus with your children:
- Young Minds website- advice to talk about Coronavirus to your child
- Dr Ranj’s Coronavirus advice for young kids
- Mental Health Foundation advice about talking to your children about scary world news
- The Government has released advice for how to support children’s mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.
- There is also a parent’s guide to helping your child’s anxiety around Coronavirus
- Childline have produced guidance and easy to understand information for children about Coronavirus
- There is also a free e-book available by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler
9. Feel prepared
Think through a normal week: how will it be affected and what do you need to do to solve any problems?
- Understand your sick pay and what benefits you are entitled to
- HeadsUp support during Covid-19– they are still offering employment support via email, phone, video call or post
- See support available in Essex for employers and businesses
- Money and employment worries? See advice from the CAB, check what benefits you can get, if you are entitled to sick pay and what to do if you are claiming benefits
- Can’t pay your bills? See advice from the CAB
10. Stay on top of difficult feelings
Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their daily life.
Try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information.
- If you are looking for extra support with your mental health you can log on to Silvercloud – a free and secure online self-help programme that is proven to help with anxiety, stress and depression
- Try some ideas to help manage your anxiety
- Listen to NHS audio guides
- Essex County Council dedicated a page to coronavirus updates in relation to Essex and Essex County Council services such as schools, adult social care and libraries
- Visit your local authority’s website to find out more about their service updates during Covid-19 such as recycling/refuse, council tax, planning and council events
- See guidance from Gov.uk to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing
- See tips on home and remote working from the Mental Health Foundation website
- See NHS’s One You 7 tips to tackle home working