Coronavirus & Construction: How to look after your Mental Health and Wellbeing
Whether you’re working from home, furloughed, self-isolating or still going into work, here are our top 10 tips on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing at this difficult time.
We’re living through strange times, but thankfully there are lots of things you can do to protect your mental health and wellbeing so that you can cope with the changing landscape:
- Focus on the things you can control
There are always things you can’t control, but the good news is that there are many things you can do to keep yourself, your family friends and loved ones safe. So, focus on what you can control, like how you observe the government guidelines on social distancing and washing your hands, the amount of time you spend on social media or listening to the news, your attitude and how you spend your time.
- Be understanding
Everyone has been affected by the changes caused by Coronavirus, and everyone reacts to those changes in a different way. So, if your family, neighbours or work colleagues are acting very differently to you, try to be understanding, don’t tell them how they should be acting, instead be supportive and try to get them involved in healthy activities to take their mind off the current situation.
- Make a new routine
Humans tend to be creatures of habit. Having a routine makes us feel safe and lowers the number of decisions we have to make every day. So, try to get up and go to bed at the same time every day – this will also help you sleep. Make a schedule of new activities that you can do at home to replace activities and events that you used to go to. If you’re no longer working, plan your days with set hours for housework, gardening, exercise, meditation and online socialising with friends and family. Make a to do list every day and enjoy ticking off what you’ve accomplished each evening.
- Stay in touch
Just because we’re all social distancing, it doesn’t mean we can’t be sociable. This is where technology can really help. Social media, video meeting apps such as Zoom, Facetime and Duo and of course mobile phones means that it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with family and friends. Try having a virtual dinner party, organise a coffee catch up, try a quiz night or simply pick up the phone and give someone a call. Don’t just wait for someone to contact you, take the initiative and reach out to your loved ones, neighbours and colleagues. That way you’ll be cheering them up as well as lifting your own spirits too.
Limit social media and listening to the news
Social media is good for keeping in touch, but there’s a lot of fake news around, so try to limit the amount of time you spend on social media and unfollow or block anyone whose posts make you feel anxious. It’s important to stay up to date with the latest government guidelines, but continually watching or listening to the news isn’t good for your peace of mind. Try to just listen to the headlines once a day and to make sure you get a good night’s sleep avoid the news for several hours before you go to bed.
Take regular exercise and eat well
It is for good reason that the government has allowed us to go out for a walk, run or cycle close to home once a day. Exercise improves mood, makes us feel good and helps to keep us physically fit. Even if you’re self-isolating and can’t go for a walk, a few minutes in the fresh air in your garden or on the balcony of your apartment can really lift the spirits. It’s also important to eat a healthy balanced diet, because good nutrition can also improve mood, so resist the urge to binge on Netflix with chocolate or crisps and keep your alcohol consumption within the recommended guidelines.
Practice mindfulness, meditation or yoga
Try mindfulness, meditation or yoga to keep you calm. There are lots of YouTube videos and apps such as ‘Headspace’, ‘Unmind’ and ‘Calm’ that can help you with this. You may find it difficult to switch off at first, but stick with it, because practicing these techniques every day for just 10-15 minutes will make a real difference to your mental wellbeing.
- Try new activities
This is a great time to try something new. Tap into your creative side with painting, woodwork, DIY or crafting. Improve your skills by studying motor mechanics, growing your own vegetables or learning a new language. Expand your mind with crosswords, quizzes, reading the classics, or factual books. Impress your partner by learning some new dance moves – there are lots of videos online to teach you salsa, street dance, ballroom and lots more. Once this is all over your life will be enriched by all your new hobbies and skills.
Think of others
It’s easy to become very self-absorbed at times like this. But thinking of others, being kind and helping those around you isn’t just good for your community, it’s also good for your self-esteem. Ring friends who are on their own to see how they are managing. Call an elderly neighbour for a chat and to see how they are. Consider volunteering to help the NHS or joining any local community volunteering groups to help shop and pick up prescriptions for those who are unable to go out.
Ask for help if needed
If you’ve tried everything and are still feeling anxious or down, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Try reaching out to a friend you trust to tell them how you’re feeling, or ring one of the many helplines available from charities such as Mind or the Samaritans. If your mental health is causing you or your family real concern, talk to your GP who will be able to offer further support or prescribe medication if required. More information is available on the following websites:
This will end. Life will get back to normal, or at least a new normal. We will be able go on holiday, celebrate big birthdays, graduations and weddings, go out to concerts, for meals and to the pub. Best of all we’ll be able to hug and kiss family, friends and loved ones once more. Until then take one day at a time, stay strong, be positive and keep well.