According to the Mental Health Foundation Longitudinal Study, nearly one in four of us in the UK felt loneliness during the first lockdown in Spring 2020. With the increasing severity of the pandemic forcing us all to stay at home once more, loneliness as well as anxiety and depression is also expected to rise. In a time where we have so little control, it is important to prioritise what you can; and your mental health is vital. The winter months make this more challenging, but there are many ways that you can and should boost your wellbeing:
Get as much natural light and nature as you can
If you can spend time outside in winter, such as in a garden or on a walk, plan to do this during daylight hours. To stay comfortable in the cold, wear warm clothes and think about bringing a hot drink in a flask.
Stay in touch
Loneliness has been shown to have negative effects on our mental and physical health. The health risks are even higher for older generations, who are more vulnerable to disease and loneliness alike. So, it is important to make plans to video chat with others regularly. If you need some guidance on making video calls, Age UK has a guide to using video calls which may help. You could also arrange phone calls or send instant messages.
There are other ways to stay connected too; if your home feels too quiet, you could listen to a chatty radio station or a podcast.
Whilst it is important not to put extra pressure and stress on yourself during this time, it can be helpful to set small achievable goals to give focus to your day and take your mind off the situation. These can be anything you would like – maybe you want to be able to run longer, cook more, read, or simply set new habits for yourself. Life as we know it may be on pause, but you do not have to be.
Talk about your concerns
Every one of us will have a different experience of the current situation, and we are all going to have differing feelings and concerns. It is important to talk about these; this can be to a friend or loved one, but if you prefer you could also write down your thoughts.
Take care with news and information
There is a lot of information out there on the pandemic, and it can be overwhelming. While it is good to keep informed on current events, make sure that you only read trusted news sources. It may also be helpful for you to limit the amount of time that you spend looking at news stories i.e., only checking once per day or setting an actual time limit. It may also be good to limit the amount of time spent on social media to avoid reading news items that you would rather avoid.
Here to help
If you need advice or support in getting your organisation online with the technology you need to stay connected, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our team. If you ever need urgent support then there are services you can turn to, such as the Samaritans phone line. Lockdown will not last forever, even if it seems like it, and there will be better days ahead. This is a time to be kind to yourself and to those around you.