Taking Care of your Mental Health at Home

Change can have a big impact on how we feel and at a time when all of us are dealing with some degree of change, it is absolutely vital to look after ourselves, not just physically but also mentally.

Many of us will be spending a lot more time at home and that can mean different things for different people. For some it might mean added responsibility, pressures of keeping young children occupied whilst working from home in a way we need time to adjust to. For others, it can mean the opposite, isolation, loneliness and a lack of the social interaction we all need.

Listening to your mind is just as important as listening to your body when it comes to the topic of health. From a physical health point of view we might feel unwell or experience localised pain, mental health doesn’t always work like that. Instead of pain, we might instead experience emotions such as fear, panic, negativity, hopelessness or anxiety if left unchecked such feelings might become the precursors of a more acute problem and it is important to identify them and do things to keep them at bay.

How can we keep such feelings away during such unusual times, when finding a sense of normality can be a challenge because everything feels anything but normal, but take heart. There are things you can do.

Repurposing technology

Your mobile devices and tablets can be great for entertainment during time spent at home but they can also allow you to keep in touch visually with friends and loved ones whom you might not be able to see in person. Face to face engagement means much more emotionally than a simple voice interaction even on a tablet screen, in all likelihood you already have everything you need for this, making it part of your daily routine can make all the difference.

At the other end of the technology spectrum is the old fashioned combination of pen, paper and postal worker. Letters feel so much more personal and intimate; it is something of a lost art that needs to make a comeback for the benefit of all.

A sanctuary of your very own

Fresh air, a safe space, a little physical exercise and the simple joy that comes with being close to nature. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, what better time to make the most of it. Gardening and spending time in nature, however humble your garden may be, is a proven way to improve mood and wellbeing.

Becoming a practitioner of fun

If you are taking on homeschooling responsibilities for a while, it could be a chance to expand everyone’s horizons, including yours. Home cookery for example, using the things you have and making the most of them can teach your children valuable practical skills. How about board games and good old fashioned puzzles for a little curriculum enrichment? You could even join them in an online game of their favourite co-op video game to really get out of your comfort zone and see what their teamwork, communication skills and reflexes are like. Think outside the box, it is likely that as schools transition to online learning for a while they will have plenty of Maths and English to do, don’t be afraid to make the other things a little more practical and fun.

Making a list and ticking it off

A sense of achievement and satisfaction are both very positive things in life but both might become challenging if you are working from home or more isolated than normal. If the idea of endless days at home fills you with dread, it might be time to look at life from a different perspective for a little while.

Why not spend a few minutes each morning, pen and paper in hand and create your list of things to do for the day; little victories just waiting to be achieved!

It doesn’t need to be something groundbreaking, it can be cleaning the fish tank, washing the curtains or giving the doors and windows their annual squirt of WD40, plan it all, write it down and when it is done… Tick it off! You’ll feel good.

Finally and most importantly, talk to others and let them talk to you, be kind to others and let their kindness touch you. We all have concerns and worries, we are all human after all but we are at our very best when we do things together and at our strongest when we all pull in the same direction. Remember that…

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