Taking care of your mental wellbeing during the lockdown
6th April 2020
We are experiencing uncertain and unprecedented times, and if you're feeling unsettled or anxious, you're certainly not alone. Whilst we can't predict how long the current situation may last, there are things we can all do to keep ourselves and our brains happy, healthy, and occupied. We share some of our favourite tips here:
It's okay to feel how you're feeling
Remember, it is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared, or angry during times of crisis. Acknowledge your feelings the best you can. Whether you prefer to express yourself through writing, drawing, or conversation, find a way to express your feelings and thoughts that feels safe and healthy for you.
Structure your day
You might not be able to control the world outside, but you can plan and schedule your day – providing you with a sense of structure and routine.
Do your best to stick to regular bed and meal times. Schedule college work for specific times of the day, and ensure you schedule regular comfort breaks during these times.
Get in the zone
City life means space in your house may well be at a premium but, where possible, try to limit types of activity to designated zones. Set our separate areas of your house to work in, exercise in, and relax in. Do your best to keep your bedroom and your bed for sleep and sleep related activities only.
Exercise is a fantastic way of reducing your stress levels as it releases endorphins – your brain's feel good chemical. You can take one walk a day, maintaining an appropriate distance. There are some accessible walks in and around the city, you can find a walking route here.
If you want to pick up the pace, you could try jogging. If you've never tried running before, there are some great free resources to help set you on your path, such as the NHS podcast – Couch to 5k.
Managing moments of intense stress or anxiety
Uncertain times may well lead to a rise in anxiety or stress levels. The key in these moments, is not to give into the panic. It can feel overwhelming, but there are simple tricks and methods you can use to make the situation feel more manageable.
Simple breathing tricks can help ground you and prevent the ‘what if’s’ from running away with you. Try breathing in through your nose for five seconds, holding your breath for five seconds, and then exhaling through your mouth for a further five seconds. Repeat these five times.
Some people find mindfulness techniques helpful during moments of intense stress. This involves bringing your awareness and attention to the present moment, while acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. The NHS provides free audio practices which you may find useful if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety.
The lockdown may mean physical distance from others, but it doesn't mean you can't stay in touch. Keep in contact with your friends, family, and loved ones through Whatsapp, phone calls, and text messaging. If you miss face to face contact, use video messaging apps such as Skype, Face Time or Zoom.
You can also use this time to stay in contact and help with your neighbourhood through the Covid-19 mutual aid Facebook and Whatsapp groups, you can find the Norwich Facebook group here.
Be kind to yourself
These are uncertain times, and it's understandable if you aren't as productive or as healthy as you usually are. Be kind to yourself, schedule in treat activities, binge watch that box set, dance around the house to your cheesiest playlist – do whatever helps to put a smile on your face.
We are here for you
Whilst you may not be physically in college, our college community is still here to help and support you during these times.
The Advice Shop is continuing to provide information, advice and guidance including careers guidance appointments via email, telephone and Skype.
You can contact the Advice Shop to arrange appointments by emailing email@example.com or by telephoning 01603 773 311.
Our Wellbeing advisers, Counsellors, and Mental Health Adviser are available during normal working hours to offer advice and guidance for anything affecting your wellbeing, not just coronavirus related.
You can contact the Wellbeing team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org