As the world faces a new challenge, and we are in a position of needing to stay home to protect others, ensuring that we take steps to protect the mental health of our family, and ourselves, becomes vital.
Having spoken to many people over recent days, here are 5 things that you can action right now to support you and your family.
- Plan a routine – Whilst we have energy and focus, making a plan for the next 6-8 weeks can help give you structure and focus. For those with home learning to do with children, this will give structure to some of the day, for those working from home, this will cover some of the weekdays, but for all of us we need to consider the time around this. Consider activities you have been procrastinating about at home, jobs you want to complete, home learning you could do as well as creative tasks and exercise. You can also integrate some relaxation and meditation into your time to focus on calm. When this is over, if you can look back and review all that you achieved it will allow acceptance and gratitude for this forced down time.
- Future intentions – when did you last have a chance to truly reflect on what you would like to do? Spend time on your own, with your partner and with your children creating an intention plans. This can be places you want to visit, activities you would like to do, things you want to learn or even training towards new careers or holiday destinations. This keeps us focussed on the good that will come and to make plans with your children so that they can see there is an end in sight.
- Accomplishments and Achievements – when we accomplish and achieve things it boosts our morale, self-esteem and confidence. Therefore, having a sense of achievement each day over coming weeks will do your mental health the world of good. From cleaning the windows, to conquering long division to getting strong enough to complete Joe Wick’s workout – accomplishments make us feel good and are vital when our options are reduced. Record them, create a diary sheet and step back and be pleased with what you did.
- Use your senses – in a world where electronics have become our ‘go to’ reigniting our sense is really important. Too much time in front of screens can become detrimental to our emotional well-being, whether that is children in front of computer gaming systems or iPads, or adults reading too much of the news or zoning out in front of the television. Having time to use senses connects us to the world and helps us feel calmer. Think about some time with sensory play dough (recipe here) or water play in the garden, to baking in the kitchen and yoga or relaxation in the living room.
- Turn up – show up – whilst it can be tempting to spend the day in our PJs, long term this can impact our mood and mental health. Getting up each day, having a shower and getting dressed can help us to feel motivated and more focussed. It also keeps our routines in place so when we return to a new normal, we are in good habits.
Overall, keeping structure, optimism and planning for the future will help to keep us in good spirits. Sharing your ideas, plans and activities with friends can also help keep us inspired.
Stay home, stay safe