Self care is something we often talk about, particularly with regard to those of us who suffer with mental illness, but self care is important for everyone. It is particularly important during the current Coronavirus pandemic because many people are having to change the way they live.
For those of us who live with mental illness, especially anxiety, self isolating is something we are absolute pros at! Why? Because anxiety makes the world a very scary and intimidating place, so we’re kind of adept at keeping ourselves busy and looking after ourselves when we’re unwell and not able to see others. I suppose you could say, we have an advantage over some of the population.
With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the things we do as part of our self care routines to help those of you whom are being forced into self isolation and social distancing.
- Set up a WhatsApp group with a couple of good friends. You’ve probably already done this, but this is an absolute lifeline for me. I have a group with two trusted friends, who know me well. We can rant without judgement, share our worries, concerns and then go off on a complete tangent and end up chatting about the most ridiculous stuff. Remember, friends will keep you sane(ish).
- Reading. You could be stuck indoors for a while, so take advantage and grab a book from the bookshelf, or download one. Pop the kettle on and enjoy a cuppa and a good story. It’s also a really good way to escape from the harsh reality of the world for a while.
- Exercise! The Body Coach has free workouts available and has now added PE lessons for your children, whilst the schools are closed. Not your thing? Pop on your favourite music and have a dance whilst you do your housework. Keeping active is good for your mental and physical wellbeing.
- Get Creative! Have you always wanted to write a book, or pick up a pencil and just draw or paint? Most of us already have paper or a laptop, so grab a pen, or open up word or google docs and crack on. Creative arts are another great escape from reality. You can let your imagination run wild, or you can use it as a therapeutic tool to make sense of what is going on. Don’t be put off if you’ve not drawn for years, Rob Biddulph will take you through step by step.
- Music! Play music, listen to music, make music. Music is probably the greatest gift to mankind. It has the power to really move us on an emotional level, to inspire us, motivate us and comfort us. If you used to play an instrument, now could be the time to start again.
- Pamper yourself. Run a hot bubble bath, give yourself a manicure, use that facemask. Just relax and spoil yourself, maybe indulge with a glass of wine.
- My personal favourite…learn something new! It’s never too late to learn. There are some fabulous free courses available. I’m currently working my way through one of the Open University’s free courses; check them out here. Another provider of free courses is Alison. It’s a good opportunity to learn a new skill or explore a subject that you’re interested in without committing to a lengthy, expensive course.
So there are just a few ideas to keep yourself safe and well during this uncertain time. Remember, to stay in contact with one another. Text friends and family, video call them and keep an eye on those you know are vulnerable. It will be a challenging time for many, especially if you are a super outgoing sociable person, but if we all work together and share our self care tips, we’ll get through it.
If you do need help with your mental health please contact:
Mind 0300 123 3393
Samaritans 116 123