Research shows a period of uncertainty and a lack of control in our daily lives can lead to increased anxiety.
In times like this, it’s essential we support one another and show compassion to those who need it. This is a shared experience that’s stressful for everyone – and we don’t know how long it’s going to go on for.
Fortunately, positive social support can improve our resilience in coping with stress. So use the phone and if you can, and by virtual means, gather a group of people to stay in touch with.
Positive social interactions – even remotely – can help reduce loneliness. Showing genuine interest in others, sharing positive news, and bringing up old memories can enhance our relationships.
Here are some tips to remain connected when you’re practising social distancing or in self-isolation:
- Think about how you can interact with others without putting your health (or theirs) at risk. Can you speak to your neighbours from over a fence or across balconies? We’ve seen this in Italy
- If you have access to it, use technology to stay in touch. If you have a smartphone, use the video capabilities (seeing someone’s facial expressions can help increase connection)
- Check in with your friends, family, and neighbours regularly. Wherever you can, assist people in your life who may be more vulnerable (for example, those with no access to the internet or who cannot easily use the internet to shop online)
- Spend the time connecting with the people you are living with. In a lockdown situation, use this time to improve your existing relationships
- Manage your stress levels. Exercise, meditate and keep to a daily routine as much as you can.
- It’s not just family and friends who require support, but others in your community. Showing kindness to others not only helps them but can also increase your sense of purpose and value, improving your own well-being.
Staying connected could be through using WhatsApp, Skype, FaceTime, Alexa or an app like Houseparty or Zoom (multiple people). Don’t forget TEAMS too which is an excellent way to get a group of people together.
Minding your Mental Health:
We are having to do a lot of things that are out of the ordinary and it is a very difficult time. To help there are several recommendations:
1. Build and follow a routine:
It is being hailed as unprecedented times, but building a ‘new normal’ or a routine, is key. Although it might be tempting to have endless pyjama days, getting up, washing, having breakfast, building a timeframe and schedule for the day is really, really crucial.
2. Mental health support is available:
When looking for help during the pandemic, support lines remain available. Remember that the support system are available to you. The NHS has a dedicated website which helps with your mind, body and useful apps to help https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/
3. Avoid information overload:
Having a level of “detachment” from updates can be helpful. It is suggested that it maybe is a good idea to set yourself a schedule for when you are going to actually engage with updates, or when you’re going to watch the news – almost going back to the traditional style of watching the 6 o’clock news rather than engaging with the 24-hour news cycle.
5. Keep up contact:
Keeping in contact is hugely important. Keeping in contact with your social network, particularly those closest to you and indeed anyone who you’re concerned about who might be vulnerable is key.
6. Reconnect with or take up a hobby:
Try something new or rekindle your love for a hobby (puzzles, music, reading, knitting, games). Take time out too, we are heading through Spring into the Summer so enjoy the garden, the birds and nature all around us.
The NHS Every Mind Matters with helpful advice and free apps
Headspace – which is free for all of us in Education