9 tips to stay mentally healthy

27 March 2020

These Coronavirus Lockdown tips have been provided by Tom Fox, a veteran and SSAFA beneficiary who's company Thoughtify provides Mental Health Training courses and Executive Coaching for business.

1. Get Out of Bed!

Although you may fancy staying in bed, set your alarm and aim to wake up around the same time every day.  This helps to stabilise your internal clock and improve your sleep overall.  You’ll feel less tired, more refreshed, and find it easier to concentrate throughout the day.

Keep to your established morning routine – get ready, washed, shaved, and dressed as if you are going out.  Remember not to let your standards drop.

 

2. Try Not To Worry

It’s normal to feel unsettled when big changes happen. We need to give ourselves time to adjust to the current, changing circumstances. There are lots of unknowns which may be troubling you, for example:

  • Will I get coronavirus? will my family / friends?
  • If I do get coronavirus, how badly ill will I get?
  • How will the pandemic effect my job / income / finances?
  • How will I manage home-schooling my kids? whilst working?

To be honest no one knows the answers to most of these questions.  But no amount of worrying, questioning others, reading the news, hearing experts can give us the answers.  We need to learn to accept the current uncertainty and wait to see what happens.

Uncertainty doesn’t feel nice, but it will pass and when the time comes, we’ll handle it as best we can.

  • Notice when you are worrying.
  • Remind yourself “worrying doesn’t help”.
  • Focus your attention on the present moment.

The worries may keep coming back, but each time you catch yourself worrying, gently (without self-criticism) refocus your attention on what you want to be doing NOW.  There is a wealth of resources on mindfulness which can help train your mind to step away from your worrying thoughts and back to the present.

MIND Urgent Help Tool:  Mind - Urgent Help

 

3. Social Media

Limit exposure and read only reputable sources.  You’ll want to stay up to date with the latest news and changes around COVID-19, but please only follow reputable sources, such as the NHS, & UK Government accounts. There is a lot of speculation, panic & and “noise” out there, especially on social media channels like Twitter.

UK Government:    Coronavirus

Dept of Health:      DoH Coronavirus

NHS:                      NHS Coronavirus

 

4. Working From Home?

Try to set aside a work area separate from your sleeping area, as this will help to prepare you for being “at work”.  It will also make it easier to switch off at the end of the day. You don’t need a home office to do this – a small desk set up in a corner of your room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table can do the trick.

 

5. Exercise

Include some movement into your work from home routine and it will help maintain your physical and mental health. You’ll feel more awake and alert, and your concentration and sleep will improve. Not only will it make you feel better mentally, but it’s well known that a little light exercise can help protect us from all sorts of other health conditions too.

 

6. Get some Fresh Air

Take a walk down the street and back, or over the park.  If you have a garden then get out there for a while.  Doing the same when you finish your working day can help you to leave your work mindset behind and switch off. Don’t sit indoors all day if you can possibly avoid it.

 

7. If The Weather Is Bad 

If you can’t get out, then look online for an activity such as a fitness class.  Some gyms are now live streaming their classes, so you could even join a fitness community in your local area.

Even if you can’t do some exercise, still take regular screen breaks, walk about, and stretch off throughout the day.

Check out Joe Wicks exercise blog here

 

8. Keeping In Contact 

Being isolated can be hard for many people and we know that human contact is so important for our mental health.  Make time to speak with colleagues, friends & family over webcam or phone.  Virtual face to face conversations are much better for us than texting or talking over the phone.

 

9. You’re Not On Your Own

Remember that you’re part of a massive Armed Forces Community!  You’re not on your own, and there are lots of resources out there that you can access.

If you need to talk to someone:

SSAFA Forcesline

Samaritans

If you’re feeling anxious or isolated, remember that support is out there!

 

Tom Fox.  Thoughtify Ltd

Please feel free to call our Forcesline if you need any support.

0800 731 4880

We are open 09:00 - 17:30,
Monday to Friday.