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Looking after your mental health during isolation

While we all stay at home to look after the health of ourselves and the nation, it’s important to actively look after your mental health as well. Today we’re sharing our five top tips for staying in good spirits.

1.       Stay Connected

While you may not be able to physically be with your family and friends, technology today has made it easier than ever to stay connected virtually. Video calling is our favourite way to connect with loved ones, it makes a real difference being able to see each other rather than just talking on the phone. Why not arrange for the family to all have dinner together at the same time on a video call? Or plan a games night to do together, such as a trivia quiz. For video calling software, FaceTime is one of the most popular. It’s an app that’s available for Apple iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch. Skype has been around for years and is ideal for anyone using a PC or laptop for their video calls. While most laptops have inbuilt webcams, you might have to buy one separately if you’re using a PC. Zoom is a conference calling software that’s easy to use and great for bigger groups.


2.       Stay Positive

It’s important to keep up with the news, but it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the negativity. Try to only check essential news briefly, once or twice a day. Instead, be sure to seek out sources of good news, which are still plentiful. The Good News Network is a website that is updated daily with uplifting news stories. The BBC also has an uplifting stories section on their website. John Krasinski, an actor known for his role in American sitcom The Office, has started a YouTube channel dedicated to bringing good news stories from around the world.


3.       Stay Informed

It’s hard to know who to trust when seemingly everybody is giving out information. The World Health Organisation is monitoring and responding to the outbreak worldwide, providing reliable information and advice. The UK government is also publishing official advice online.
 As of posting, the best thing to do is stay indoors as much as possible (leaving only for groceries, exercise or medical appointments) and wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. If you’re over 70 or have an underlying health condition, you should ask family, friends or caregivers to collect groceries and medicine for you so that you may remain indoors. If there is nobody to do this for you, many local restaurants, cafes, grocers, butchers etc are now offering contactless delivery services to help those who are isolating.


4.       Keep Creative

Take this time to get your creative juices flowing. It’s the perfect time of year to get out into the garden and give it a little TLC. If you’re a knitter, why not make some gifts for when you see the grandkids again? And if you’re not a knitter, why not learn? Many shops are still operating online, as well as Amazon, allowing you to order supplies that are safely delivered to your door with  no direct contact. Maybe you enjoyed drawing as a child but haven’t picked up a pencil in years. Similarly, you can try your hand at painting or scrapbooking. If you want to keep your mind ticking over, crosswords and jigsaw puzzles are a fun way to challenge yourself. If you’re handy in the kitchen, why not try experimenting with some recipes? There are millions of free recipes available on the internet, including the BBC Good Food website. Why not combine your love of cooking with a little creativity and create your own recipe book to hand down through the family?  There are plenty of other creative outlets to be found, take some inspiration from sites like Pinterest, Skillshare and Youtube.


5.       Comic Relief

They say a laugh a day keeps the doctor away, so make sure to get some daily comic relief. Podcasts are a great way to get some entertainment while you’re doing something else, like cooking or housework. The BBC has lots of good podcasts, including Comedy of the Week and Friday Night Comedy from BBC 4, as well as classics like Desert Island Discs. They also have plenty of funny TV shows on iPlayer, including full series of Gavin & Stacey, Outnumbered, and French & Saunders.

If you don’t have a Netflix subscription, it could be a great investment for the next few months. (Or just ask the grandkids – they might be able to add you to theirs.) Alongside classic comedies like the Monty Python films, you’ll find plenty of fascinating documentaries, including nature classics Planet Earth, Life, and Blue Planet. If true crime documentaries are more up your street, try The Staircase, Making a Murderer, The Confession Killer, or Evil Genius. Or if you’d rather get wrapped up in a drama, you’ll find shows like Broadchurch, The Crown, and The West Wing.


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