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9 Ways To Look After Your Wellbeing During Lockdown

Our emotional wellbeing is just as important as our physical health, in fact the two are so closely linked that it isn’t uncommon to have physical reactions to emotional issues.

Even those who feel usually mentally and physically strong, could, in these strange times of a pandemic, find themselves experiencing a whole new range of pressures and worries. Are you self-isolating alone, struggling with feelings such as isolation, fear of the unknown, and struggling to keep your mind occupied? Perhaps you are in a house full of people, struggling holding down a career and looking after everybody else.

Many people are experiencing anxiety right now, whatever their circumstances, that’s why our Co-Founder & Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Neil Parrett, has put together some tips for looking after yourselves during the lockdown and COVID-19 crisis.

1. Stop following the news too often. If you want to keep up to date, try giving yourself a short amount of time to catch up each day. If you receive mobile, email or smart watch alerts, turn them off.

2. Keep a daily routine. Get up, have breakfast, make sure you get out of your pajamas. Stretch your activities throughout the day, and try to go to bed at a normal time.

3. Keep alcohol to a minimum. Alcohol is a sedative, affecting the nervous system, whilst you may feel great after a couple of drinks, it can ultimately lead to feelings of depression and anxiety.

4. Maintain social contacts. This is an important one, particularly if you are living alone. With the help of modern technology there are so many new ways to connect. A simple catch up phone call, or even a coffee at the end of your garden with a neighbor (observing the social distancing rules of course!) can help to curb feelings of loneliness and isolation.

5. Become more mindful and conscious of the small things in life. The natural world can be a place of great solace, whether it’s noticing the birds singing, plants on a window ledge, listening to the wind blow through the trees. At times like this we begin to reconnect with things we may have been missing whilst rushing around in our ‘normal’ lives.

6. Focus on learning or exploring something you never had time to do before. Is there something that you’d always fancied having a go at? Learning a language, reading a certain book, or creating something? The Open University are doing free courses, and there are so many instructional videos online to help with learning new hobbies.

7. Be kind to yourself. It’s perfectly okay to have low moments in these strange times.

8. Carve out some time for you. If you are living with others, it is important to make sure you have time out from each other, being together all the time can place extra strain on relationships.

9. Exercise. Any kind of exercise is good for our health. It doesn’t matter how small you start off, try to build up a little more each day.

 

Based on Dr Neil Parret’s list, we have explored ideas and suggestions that an elderly loved one could benefit from. 

 

Painting

Painting is seen as one of the best and popular activities to improve brain health. Boosts memory recollection, problem-solving skills, and can help reduce memory loss in old age. It engages the brain and can inspire painters to get creative, exploring ideas and memories before bringing them to live. It also requires a fair amount of concentration and a steady hand, all of which engages the brain for a prolonged period of focus, more stimulating than activities such as watching television, 

 

Brain games

Brain games are another great way to stimulate and engage the brain, exploring challenges and forcing the brain to be reactive, thinking quickly in response to the game itself. From chess or checkers to a word search or bingo, games also have the added benefit of being a largely social experience. Interacting and engaging with others can give us a mental boost, stimulating the brain far more than singular activities. 

 

Knitting

Another great activity that engages the brain is knitting- reducing the risk of depression, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s, it’s definitely a pastime that results in more than just a comfy scarf or blanket! 

 

Puzzles 

Puzzles are another pastime that offers social interaction, but even if you were working on a puzzle alone, it can be a great pastime. Completing a puzzle offers better visual and spatial reasoning, as your brain needs to focus on small details. It also improves your ability to problem solve, and can combat stress, refocusing your attention on the puzzle. 

 

Keeping a routine

Routines can help keep your days from blurring into one and can help you organise yourself. For example, having set times for perhaps a walk, or an activity, as well as a regular time to wake up, can save you from losing track of time, and find yourself struggling to get out of bed. A routine gives you more purpose, and a great way to make sure you meet your routine is to involve other people. Whether that’s a personal carer or a friend who you regularly catch up with on the phone, for example- putting this dependency on others means you’re more likely to achieve what you set out to achieve! 

 

Connect with friends and family 

Even if you are separated from your loved ones presently, there are plenty of ways you can connect with your loved ones in 2021. From facetime and video calling to simple messaging, group chats and more. We’ve listed some great pieces of tech to help you keep in touch with loved ones:

 

Tech for the elderly 

You cam now find smartphones that are specifically designed and adapted for older uses. With large buttons, simple design, and volume options, you can find a great phone suited to your loved one’s tech prowess.’ From a simple phone with number digits to place calls, to smartphones with simplified versions of apps, with large logos for those with visual impairments, the market is full of suitable options. Good brands to look into include Doro, Denver and Nokia. There are a range of additional apps designed for the elderly, too, such as text to speech apps, and simplified Facebook apps. 

 

An Amazon Echo Show Smart Speaker, Facebook portal or iPad are other good examples of tech that is simple to understand, and can be set up to function for Facetimes, video calls and key features in line with how your loved one would use it. 

 

The benefits of nature

 

We’re all aware of the positive impact nature has on our mental health. According to Mind, spending time in nature has been found to help with mental health problems including depression and anxiety. If your loved one has access to a garden, a simple daily walk or potter, gardening for half an hour or simple exercise boosts endorphins and can make you feel far less stressed. Especially at the moment, in a period where we are not connecting with loved ones as much as we may like, spending time in nature is particularly essential. 

 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed reading Dr. Neil Parrett’s tips for wellbeing during lockdown.

 

We recognise that it is a difficult time for everyone, no matter what their circumstances.

 

Please call us on 0118 449 2373 if you have any questions at all about live in care.

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