Alternative tips for mental wellbeing while in isolation

It’s well publicised that self-isolation can be challenging for our mental health, so it’s important we do all we can to make sure we’re keeping fit and well. Here’s four ways you can give your mind a helping hand during this difficult time.

avoid the news!

It’s obviously essential to stay informed on what’s going with the virus outbreak. Things have been changing on an almost daily basis, so it’s important that we all understand developments and how they affects us and our family and friends.

But… being permanently tuned in to the news 24/7 can be overwhelming.

Studies have shown that negative news, even when it doesn’t concern us, can amplify any unconnected personal worries we have and begin making us feel even more anxious about them. When you consider that much of today’s news actually does affect us personally, then you can understand the negative impact too much of it can have on our mental wellbeing.

To avoid covid-19 news overload we’d suggest being organised and planning in regular times throughout the day when you’ll tune in. Part of this is ensuring your phone doesn’t keep giving you constant updates on what’s going on, so make sure you turn off the any news notifications that keep your phone permanently pinging. By getting your news in regular bite-sized chunks you’ll help minimise the mental impact of what we’re all going through at the moment.

Avoiding too much news before bed is also a good idea.  Having negative thoughts swirling around our heads before nodding off isn’t going to help us have a restful sleep. Perhaps give the New at Ten a miss for the next few weeks?

go to the (virtual) pub

For many, not getting together with family and friends has been the hardest thing to deal with so far.

The health benefits of socialising and staying connected are well publicised, but when you’re in lockdown it can be hard to do.

Luckily, all we really need is our phone or laptop and a half-decent WIFI signal and we can connect with groups of friends at the touch of a button.  Conference apps like Zoom and Houseparty have been doing good business recently because they offer a super simple way to get all our friends together in one place.

These technologies, and others like them, have helped groups of friends and even whole communities have dinner parties, run book clubs, organise mass cook-a-longs and even host pub quizzes.

The key thing is not to wait for someone else to organise a virtual get-together, as it may never happen. Take the initiative yourself – all you need to do is download an app and send out some invites.  Far less effort than walking down the street to your local.

And, social gatherings don’t always have to be boisterous pub quizzes or dinner parties. Sometimes just sitting quietly with friends watching boxsets can be the ideal way to catch up and wind-down all at the same time.

And there’s now no need for the coronavirus to stop these TV get-togethers from happening thanks to a clever Google Chrome extension called Netflix Party.

It lets you create a virtual Netflix watching party with friends by sending everyone a link that allows you all to watch the same show together, all perfectly in sync and in HD.

get some culture

Now that you’re likely to have a bit more time on your hands, why not expand your mind by getting in a bit of culture alongside your pub quizzes and Netflix sessions.

Recent studies have shown that visiting museums and art galleries make an enormous contribution to improving people’s lives and enhancing their mental wellbeing, and there’s no need for that to stop now that we’re stuck in the house.

In a bid to keep helping people expand their minds, museums and art galleries have been busy creating virtual tours or posting their works on social media using the #museumsfromhome hashtag so we can all continue to learn and experience something new every day. From the comfort of your own sofa you can see the works shown from world-famous museums like Tate Modern, The Louvre and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum.

Enjoy and stay well.