Understandably it is an uncertain time for us all especially for those of us who are more vulnerable due to being isolated, living with health conditions or because we care for loved ones who are vulnerable.
Our routines have had to change quickly, regular life is affected and continues to evolve on a daily basis.
Change is difficult and coping with it can be difficult but can be possible by building up our resilience skills, setting supportive daily routines and healthy habits. We all need to look after our physical health and mental wellbeing – especially in times like this.
It is totally normal that all of us can be experiencing additional stress and anxiety right now. Fear and the ‘fight or flight’ response is a regular human stress reaction to a potential threat.
Here are some specific strategies and ideas based on ‘The 5 Ways to Wellbeing’ to help us to maintain our physical and mental wellbeing as we adapt to changes during COVID-19.
*Connect *Be Active *Take Notice *Keep Learning *Give
Evidence suggests there are 5 steps we can take to improve our mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help us feel more positive and in control during times of uncertainty.
1. Connect with other people
It is really important to stay connected with people we care about even when we can’t see them in person.
Good relationships are important for our mental wellbeing.
- Help us to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
- Give us an opportunity to share positive experiences
- Provide emotional support and allow us to support others
Stay in touch with friends and family. Video-chat by using apps such as Skype, FaceTime, Duo and Zoom. Search and download online community apps such as those listed on the NHS apps library or on the BBC webpages below:
DAB Radio Giveaway
Nominate someone who is over 70 and vulnerable to receive a free DAB radio (to be distributed by loneliness charity Wavelength) by completing the online form via the link below from Mon March 30th:
Age UK recognises that social isolation and the associated wellbeing issues are a real and serious issue for older people. They have set up a new Freephone telephone number for people who are alone and who want to have a friendly conversation with a staff member or volunteer. Call them on 0800 2980579.
Stay Connected Free Helpline Service:
For anyone worried about themselves or someone else going into self-isolation.
To access the Stay Connected Helpline, call 0800 048 7035 (Monday to Friday 9.00-5.00)
All resources are available at www.guideposts.org.uk/stay-connected
Sometimes it’s the creative responses which can help to connect us with our community – for example, there has been a national response to Clap For Carers at a set time to thank frontline staff
Or it’s the things we see which can help to connect us – for example, children locally have been drawing and painting rainbows to put up in windows – these can certainly help to brighten up our day whilst staying indoors!
2. Be Physically Active
Being active is not only great for our physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve our mental wellbeing by:
- Raising our self-esteem
- Helping us to set goals or challenges and achieve them.
- Causing chemical changes in our brain’s which can help to positively change our mood.
*Please consult your GP or practice nurse by phone prior to starting an exercise programme if you have any health concerns
Here are a few links to different types on-line exercise available as an option whilst we stay at home.
NHS – Studio Exercise Classes at Varying Levels
NHS – Stretch & Flex Exercise Videos
NHS – 10 Minute Workouts
NHS – Flexibility/Balance/Strength
Later Life Training – YouTube
Move it or Lose It – Click the link below & scroll down to view Youtube videos:
Joe Wicks – PE Lessons on YouTube
3. Learn new skills
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve our mental wellbeing by:
- Boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
- Helping us to feel a sense of purpose
- Helping us to connect with others even if we feel we do not have enough time or are unable to due to present circumstances
There are still lots of different ways to bring learning into our lives.
Now is a good time to catch up on reading books, reviving an old hobby or starting a new one at home. If you have access to the internet there are lots of creative and useful resources on sites like YouTube to show you haw to get started like learning the piano or knitting.
It is also possible to learn better coping skills: See our ways to Support you during our Covid 19 document for details (link) about learning to deal with stress, keeping your wellbeing in check and becoming practiced at mindfulness.
Other online resources –
Museum Tours from Home:
Pub Quizzes from Home
4. Give to others
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve our mental wellbeing by:
- Creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
- Providing us with a feeling of purpose and self-worth
- Helping us connect with other people, it could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in the local community.
Some examples of the things you could try include:
Saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you.
Asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer.
Volunteering in your community (if safe for you to do so) through one of the schemes helping during Covid-19 such as:
Good Sam App for Volunteer Recruitment
Good Sam App Guidance Notes
5. Pay attention to the present moment – Mindfulness.
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve our mental wellbeing. This includes paying attention to our thoughts and feelings, how our body feels and having an appreciation for the workd around us.
Some people call this practice of awareness; “mindfulness”. Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better – even during challenging times. It can positively change the way we feel about life and how we approach problems.
Mindful Breathing Exercise – YouTube
Calm – Free Resources for Emotional Wellbeing
NHS – Mood Assessment Quiz
The Five Ways To Wellbeing originates from the New Economics Foundation and is widely promoted within the NHS. Activity suggestions within this model have been been adapted by North South Gloucester Primary Network Social Prescribing Link Workers to help us to manage our wellbeing during the current COVID-19 situation.