Daily Thoughts

Keeping mentally healthy in strange times

Thoughts and tips on looking after our mental wellbeing during strange times.

First of all, I’m not a doctor and not playing one on the internet. Here, I’m just going to share personal thoughts and some stuff that’s helped me so far. None of this is medical advice.

I’m not speaking from a place of authority but one of experience from past isolation moments. What you do with this information is up to you.

I think we can all say for sure that we are living in some strange times right now. Drake once said, ‘what a time to be alive’ and he’s certainly not wrong about that with current events.

Let’s be honest here, the common human has no real idea what’s going on and that uncertainty is not cool for the mind.

I’ve been pretty calm about current events with the worldwide coronavirus so far but even my anxiety levels are being tested. As someone who has had their fair share of battles with these personal demons, I can tell you that these current events can be tricky to navigate at times.

But, there is much to be positive about and many, many ways we can all support each other during this time.

With large parts of the world on lockdown and quarantine. My thoughts have been turning to fellow humans and how we can look after each other during these unknown times.

Events like this are one thing to contend with but having to do this while being isolated from others can be even more problematic.

I’m a pretty deep introvert but even I’m starting to look outside my windows, wanting to jump out into the real world.

I know there will be a lot of people feeling like this too.

So, as my service to the rest of our society. I want to share a number of things that have helped me with isolation in the past and some ideas that I believe could help during these next few months.

Take a look, try some out and I hope they help you feel better. Let’s make sure we are all supporting each other. Please do leave your own suggestions in the comments. Sharing is caring my friends.

(For audio lovers, listen to the podcast version of this post below, on Spotify or your podcast platform of choice with this RSS feed. 🎧)

Don’t check the news every 5 minutes

Whether that’s on tv, through social media feeds or a physical newspaper. Don’t check in with what’s going on constantly.

All this will lead to is overwhelm and it’s the perfect source to feed a negative narrative in your head. 

We all know the coronavirus is here and we know what to do to stop it spreading. Don’t torture yourself with latest case numbers, death tolls or non valid opinion pieces with the intent of scaremongering.

My best recommendation to you, is have intent with your media use.

Use the power of technology to connect

Let’s be clear, despite the above passage, I’m not here to demonise social media.

It does have positives and one of them is enabling connection. It’s a great time to be keeping close to friends and loved ones, and social media can provide that platform for you.

Again, it’s all about your intent but I’ve found personal enjoyment in conversations purely communicated via GIFS on twitter many times already.

Dinner and drinks over video

I just tried this over the weekend. Although odd at first, it ended up being a fun experience and one that allowed me to connect with my wider circle when I can’t physically be with them.

We have so many options to use video through WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype and Zoom. These great prices of tech allow us connection with anyone at anytime and now is the time to use these.

Whether it’s just a chat, eating dinner, enjoying a drink or binge watching the latest Netflix addiction together.

We are living in a great time to connect even when we can’t leave our home.

Have a routine

I cannot stress this next part enough. Having structure to your day and normal everyday routines are essential to keeping mentally healthy.

I’m sure anyone who has experienced their own battle with their mental health will agree with me here. It can make all the difference.

Grab a notebook or open up an excel sheet and start to design what your ideal routine looks like.

Here’s a hypothetical example to get you started:

7:30-8am: Wake up and grab a glass of water to rehydrate

10am: Make some breakfast

11am – 1pm: Focus time – this could be reading a book, doing work for your employer or your own work if you’re self employed.

1pm – 2pm: Grab some lunch and chill with a book or check-in with your inner circle.

2pm – 6pm: Back to your work of choice my friends

6 – 7pm: Some free time, detach, relax and perhaps workout!

7 – 11pm: Connect with loved ones, make some food and rest up before it’s time to sleep

Build a good sleep routine but keep it balanced

We all know sleep is super important and if you don’t take my word for it, then listen to this chap who is far smarter than me.

Too little sleep sucks but so does too much. Like all things in life it’s about balance. Don’t use these isolation periods to binge Netflix until 3 in the morning. Be smart, get sleep but not too much.

Watch some great TV

Yes, I’ve bashed streaming services a bit on here but now is a good time to catch-up on some great shows and films. Whether that’s finally getting around to the thrilling Game of Thrones (what’s taken you so long!) or embracing something new like Westworld or classics like Lost.

Whatever floats your boat, The streaming world opens up so much great entertainment to us all and keeps the mind away from the constant stream of doom.

Learn something you’ve been wanting to for ages

Want to learn to code, write that book or play guitar? There is no better time than now to invest in learning. I would be a bad example of a learning advocate if I don’t encourage you to use this time wisely and get around to doing that thing you’ve been putting off.

I’m off to grab my guitar!

Move your body

Despite these strange times, we still need to keep our bodies healthy.

Whatever you choose to do, yoga, chasing the kids or training to be Batman. Get yourself up and about for 30 minutes a day. Your body and mind will be better for it.

Eat well

As tempting as it might be to devour every piece of chocolate cake in your home as your mind processes uncertainty. This will not benefit you in anyway.

Be smart, be balanced and make the nutritional choices that will keep you feeling good.

This like all these tips so far, work as one whole part. So, by making better food choices, you’ll fuel some of the other things in this list too.

Stay safe and be well

That’s it from me.

Stay safe, look after each other and please share this with people you feel can benefit too.

Don’t forget to share your recommendations, thoughts and ideas in the comments so others can benefit from these too.

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