Mental Wellbeing During Isolation

I’m sure you’re just as worried as I am during this unprecedented time. While looking after your physical health is unbelievably important over the coming weeks/months, I want to check in with you about your mental wellbeing.

Isolation is going to be tough and is bound to take its toll on our minds and wellbeing. I want to give you some tips to ensure that you are able to maintain your own welfare from your home. I think the key is to be proactive with these ideas now, rather than waiting until you feel low. 

Mindfulness: We have all read the frightening news headlines over the past few weeks. These can upset your emotional wellbeing and lead to feelings of anxiety surrounding your future, your family and your friends, so it’s easy to want to block out the outside world. However, I don’t think that this is the answer to solving these anxieties; instead, I think we should acknowledge and rationalise the thoughts going through our minds. An activity to help counteract feelings of uncertainty is to create a gratitude list of all the positive things that you are certain of. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Write an anxious thought currently in your head down on a piece of paper
  2. Draw a line through the anxious thought and below it, write a list of five things that you are certain of and grateful for. 

For example: ‘I can’t see an end to the virus and all my summer plans look like they’ll be cancelled’. However, there are scientists working on a cure for the virus; I’m thankful for the roof over my head that is keeping me warm; I can contact family and friends to check up on them; I am thankful for the amazing experiences I have had at university this year and, I know that no matter what plans are cancelled over the next few months, I would rather be safe and help contain the virus than put myself or others at risk. 

You might like to even buy a book about wellness, spirituality and self care over the next few weeks. I’m currently reading ‘We’ by Gilian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel and it has been really handy in keeping myself grounded and calm. 

Keeping life ‘normal’: It’s true that our lives have changed dramatically in the past few days. However, a conversation with a loved one gave me a great idea. He said that he thinks mental health will be impacted by the disappearance of everyday events. For example, someone who lives alone may be comforted by watching football matches each week, but this has now been cut off. I have created a list of things that you can do to ensure that at least some of your everyday life stays the same.

  1. Skype phone calls to catch up with your friends and have a drink
  2. If you love art, then go online and do a virtual tour of an art gallery
  3. If you love sports, then set aside a time to sit down with family members to watch sporting highlights videos on YouTube.
  4. If you live in the gym, then try and plan some tough home workouts using things around the house.
  5. If you have a routine of what time you do university work each day, then ensure that you’re still sticking to this routine, and that in your breaks you go outside to do solitary exercise, or chat to a loved one for a catch up.

Some positive news to brighten your day: COVID-19 is a serious virus that no one should underestimate. However, we need hope and love at this time, so here is some slightly more positive news to lighten the weight on your shoulders.

  1. According to Bing’s Covid-19 tracker, over 84,000 people worldwide have recovered from the virus.
  2. A vaccine trial for the virus has been tested on 45 people in the US.
  3. COVID-19 Mutual Aid UK have had thousands of volunteers, who have been creating food and care packages for the vulnerable in society.

Stay safe and stay hopeful everyone. Look after yourself and check up on friends and family. Feel free to email me: lba30@bath.ac.uk for a few more tips.

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