Top Ten Tips for Minding your Mental Health during Self Isolation
Covid-19 has been daunting in different ways. Our day to day lives have drastically changed, leading to problems such as anxiety, stress and depression. The Irish Government released new measures to decrease movement around the country. Which means many of us are now self- isolating.
- Keep Calm
Look at this period as different as opposed to a negative time. We cannot control everything in our lives, but we can somewhat control our thoughts by practicing mindfulness meditation as a healthy way to adapt the current situation. There are Apps that can teach us how to practice mindfulness i.e. breathing exercises etc.
- Make a Routine and Feel Productive
Self-Isolation causes disruption in normal daily routine that can be aggravating. Creating a new routine will give you a sense of regularity and structure. Space each task evenly throughout the day, sticking to a healthy sleep pattern and adding in things you enjoy.
Productive tasks you never get a chance to do normally can help; it could be sorting out your clothes in your wardrobe, fixing items around your house etc. If you’re content with your home, then this tip probably isn’t for you, but maybe use this time to change things around in the house. A change of scenery in your home can help your state of mind while also keeping busy.
- Cut back on Social Media
There are benefits of Social Media i.e. Keeps us connected, helps us find new friends, raises awareness on important issues. However, overuse is common. This can lead to negative feelings like inadequacy and loneliness.
- Try not to watch too much News
Keeping yourself informed is essential but restrict the amount of news you watch/listen/read. Overloading yourself with graphic news stories can lead to excess stress.
- Stay Active
Exercising releases good mood hormones like endorphins and other neurotransmitters. Endorphins help alleviate pain and stress. There are many ways to stay active or even become fit at home. You don’t necessarily need weights and equipment to exercise. Simple exercises that don’t need equipment include bodyweight lunges, squats, push-ups, planks, leg raises, burpees and sit ups etc. They can even be done while watching Television! Other ways of staying active while obeying the 2km limit include walking, running, dancing, yoga and housework. There are countless of online gym classes to help you get started.
- Keep contact with Friends and Family
Don’t isolate yourself from others. Keep in contact with friends, family and neighbours via messaging, email and video calling. Be open about how you are feeling. Gaming online with friends and family for example is great entertainment. (Eg) Chess, Monopoly
- Learn a New Skill
This is a perfect time to learn a new skill. A new skill could be enrolling in an online course that interests you, it could be learning how to play an instrument, cooking, baking or even learn a language. This can bring great sense of fulfilment and achievement.
- Focus on Different Hobbies and Relax
Sticking to one hobby can become repetitive. Try to focus on different hobbies to give a variation to your day. For example, you could read a book or watch some movies, whatever interests you.
- Maintain a healthy balanced diet
A balanced diet contributes to a strong immune system. The best way to keep a balanced diet is to have a plan before you shop. Avoid panic buying, the supermarkets are open and are sufficiently stocks. Base your grocery plan around healthy meals you enjoy. Include fruit and vegetables, nuts, legumes, beans, lean meat, poultry, yogurt, eggs, wholegrains and white and oily fish.
Minimise shopping items containing high amounts of refined sugars (cakes and sweets), saturated fats (butter, sausages and fatty meat) and salt (crisps, smoked meat). Read food labels to help you stick with RDA guidelines.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA)
- Sugar : 25g-30g per day (one 500ml bottle of an average fizzy drink has 50g)
- Saturated Fats: Should be 5% of daily intake. I.e. if your intake is 2000 calories your intake of saturated fats should be 100 calories per day.
- Salt: 6g per day
Eating because of boredom and stress is a common response. In order to stop yourself from doing so, be mindful of why this is happening. Distracting oneself from over-indulging may help, be it reading a book or socialising online with a friend. Staying hydrated is important; drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluids per day, preferably water.
- Minimise Alcohol Consumption
According to Drinkaware, 50% of Irish adults drink alcohol as a coping method during times of anxiety and stress. This may lead to greater mental and physical health problems. Being mindful about your consumption of alcohol is essential in the forthcoming days and weeks. There are healthier coping methods which including your hobbies and talking to friends and family.
HSE.ie have support systems set up. https://www2.hse.ie/services/mental-health/services-search/
The Irish Sun 24/3/2020 : (https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/5244718/coronavirus-in-ireland-mental-health-tips/# )
HSE.IE Page Last Reviewed: 14/03/2020 https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/mental-health/minding-your-mental-health-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
Written by Siobhan Clarke, Pharmacy Technician at Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St. Whelehans Pharmacies, 38 Pearse St and Clonmore, Mullingar. Tel 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). www.whelehans.ie