Looking After Your Mental Wellbeing: Tips To Help During Self Isolation

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There are almost 9million people aged 70 and over in the UK, who have currently been asked to self isolate for 12 weeks.

Whilst this is to benefit physical health, there’s no denying that staying at home for 12 weeks is hard and can impact your mental wellbeing as well as increase feelings of anxiety and stress.

In answer to this, we have compiled a guide of top mental wellbeing tips to support people with these feelings. We hope you find it useful. As ever, let us know if you have any feedback, thoughts or suggestions via hello@el-well.com.

Stick To A Routine

Establishing a routine during this period of upheaval can be one way that you can try and take control of your life – albeit all indoors.

You don’t need to produce a timetable or even stick to a plan rigidly, but having an idea of how you can and will fill your time could help you feel more productive and improve wellbeing.

Before you go to bed each night, think about what you can do the following day.

Reach out to people and arrange a virtual morning tea catch up or carve out a time each day for exercise or to spend walking round the garden. Even simple things such as getting dressed in ‘outdoor’ clothes can help you feel like you have more of a purpose.

You have time on your side, so focus on the task in hand and take the time to complete it.

Don’t Put Pressure On Yourself

Friends might have told you that they’re using this down time to learn a new skill. Maybe you feel like you should be reading a new book a week?

The most important thing here is that you listen to your body and mind. If you are struggling with the change in daily routine, don’t put any additional pressure on yourself.

If you don’t feel like learning something new to pass the time, or you don’t want to do something one day, then don’t.

Only Watch As Much News As You Want

During this time of uncertainty, many of us rely on the news for regular updates – but sometimes we can be at risk of watching too much and getting overwhelmed. Or even taking in ‘fake news’ which can lead to greater feelings of anxiety.

Choose a time each day to watch the news, and get up to date on the latest. It could be an idea to speak through the information with someone afterwards, either the person you’re living with or arranging a daily phone call with a loved one.

If you have news notifications on your phone or computer, go to Settings and turn them off (if you can’t work out how to, try Googling it or asking someone you know to help explain it to you).

In terms of fake news, try and block it out to avoid news confusion and rising levels of anxiety.

If someone tells you a rumour, question how can it be substantiated. If it’s not on the actual news, then it’s not true. So much is changing every day currently, and even our doctors and politicians are starting statements with “we think” and “we believe”. They are not sure about everything, so how can a non-expert be?

Talk To Someone

It’s completely natural that you will be feeling all kinds of different feelings during this time – sometimes even in just one day.

Don’t bottle it up, talk to someone. Whether that’s your partner face-to-face, a friend or family member over the phone or even a stranger.

Have you got all the contact details for your loved ones that you want to speak with? If not, can someone help you get them so you can get in touch, and vice versa. You might also find writing letters a cathartic exercise.

If you want to speak with someone confidentially about how you are feeling, then contact The Samaritans. Ring them free 24/7 on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org. There is no judgement there and you can talk freely.

You can also talk to ElWell for free (or for the price of a local phone call). Ring us on 01865 238185 and if we aren’t able to speak then, we will ring you back. Find out more about this service here.

Stay Active

There can be a temptation to sit down all day now we’re at home, but minimising sedentary behaviour and getting active can help with energy levels and feelings of anxiety.

The World Health Organisation recommends that for over 65s, any exercise is better than nothing. Take note of this, and try:

  • A step challenge. You may not be able to get the recommended 10,000 steps in per day at home, but buy a pedometer online and challenge yourself (and friends?) to a daily target.
  • Check out some daily at-home exercises we recommend here.
  • Work on your strength and balance. You can do this by trying to stand on one leg when you brush your teeth (swap every 30 seconds!) or try these six exercises daily from the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists (takes about five minutes).

Or just get up and move every hour. Shake it out and feel better!

Keeping Up With Appointments And Medication

If you meet with a professional or take medication, make sure that this continues to be part of your routine.

Can the appointments be done online or via the phone? Check how much medication you have, and work out how long this can last you for. Are you able to order your prescriptions online and arrange for them to be delivered? If needs be, speak with your pharmacist to arrange a tailored plan for you.

Please don’t buy medication online – if you’re concerned about accessing your medication, speak with a friend or family member who could help you.

Focus On Eating Well

Nourishing your body from the inside can help your wellbeing. Think about what you’re eating and when. Staying inside all day, and higher levels of anxiety may mean that you don’t want to eat as much. Make sure you’re still taking in the right number of calories and nutrients for your body.

We know that at present it is harder to get all the food shopping you may want. Check online and see if you can order a food delivery slot (or if someone can do this for you). Even if it’s a week away, you can update the ingredients until the day before and you’re then guaranteed to know when you will get your shopping.

Or is there someone you can ask to go shopping or prepare some food for you? This situation is prompting local communities and neighbours to support each other – don’t be afraid to ask for shopping help.

A change in routine can also mean you drink less fluids. Keep drinking water and stay hydrated.

Relax And Be Creative

Find an outlet for yourself to focus on in the present. This can include:

  • Adult colouring books
  • Meditation (Calm is the number one site for meditation and relaxation, currently offering one month for free. Click here to try it)
  • Drawing and painting
  • Singing
  • Reading

Read more about ways to stay busy during self isolation here.

Connect With Nature

The weather is improving, and whilst we’re unable to go outside, there are still ways we can appreciate it.

Work out which areas of your house get the sun at what time, and sit by the window to feel the sunshine. Go for a walk in the garden if you are able. Order fresh flowers or houseplants, or plant some seeds.

Even just opening the window and getting fresh air throughout the day can help you collect your thoughts.

Conclusion

We know that feelings of anxiety of worry affect different people in different ways, but we hope that this advice helps you understand how you can control your mental wellbeing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are struggling. Whether that’s from a friend, family member or stranger who is offering to go shopping for you. Good luck.

How important is it to look after our mental wellbeing as well as our physical health during self isolation?

So important! Our lives and daily routines have changed which can impact our wellbeing, and the current climate means anxiety can rise too. Whilst a lot feels out of our control, there are things we can do to manage this. From managing your news intake, to starting a routine and lots more. Click on our blog to read more.

What can you do to improve mental wellbeing and decrease anxiety during self isolation?

There’s no denying that staying at home for 12 weeks is hard and can impact your mental wellbeing as well as increase feelings of anxiety. There are things you can do to help yourself during this time. Focus on eating well, manage your medication, stay hydrated, plan a daily routine and keep in touch with loved ones. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

4 thoughts on “Looking After Your Mental Wellbeing: Tips To Help During Self Isolation”

  1. Pingback: Over 70? Our Guide To Staying Fit At Home During Self Isolation - ElWell - Helping you look after your parents as they get older

  2. Hi Dortha, thanks for the message, glad you find it useful. Let us know if there are any other topics you would be interested in hearing about! Thank you, Jessica

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