COVID-19: Five ways to Wellbeing

Promoting your wellbeing 

The government advice is to stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work, to stay two metres (six feet) away from other people and wash our hands as soon as we get home.

This now means that more of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us.

It will help to try and see it as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.

It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.

Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall.  Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time.

Create a daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. Staying healthy is as much about your mind as it is about your body.  See the tips for looking after yourself at home here

Go here for some more ideas and information for looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak

Five Ways to Wellbeing 

Wellbeing is about how we think, feel and behave. To help understand what this means in practical terms, the elements of wellbeing have been broken down into five themes. These five themes help us to think about the things that matter to us under each of the headings.

1. Stay Connected

Maintaining relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Self isolation does not mean you cannot stay connected.  While there will be ‘physical distancing’ it is still important to maintain human connection. In fact at times of stress we work better if we can have contact with others. The more you can plan for this the better. Here are some ideas for you to consider to help you stay connected:

  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
  • If you’re part of a group of people who are also self-isolating this group could also act as an informal support network ie work colleagues
  • Join a peer support group community e.g. Elefriends at Mind
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people if meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you’ve not seen for a while.
  • Putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life.
  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcast if your home feels too quiet.
  • Daily Mindfulness
  • Stay in touch with Men in Sheds through their website and regular newsletter ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’.

2. Keep Learning

Find ways to spend your time that bring you some enjoyment and satisfaction

  • Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
  • Enjoy Somerset Libraries online resources including free downloadable books, audiobooks and even magazines.
  • FutureLearn and OpenLearnhave free online courses you could try.
  • There are lots of apps that can help you learn things, such as a foreign language e.g. Duolingo or other new skills from Open University free on line
  • Use the time at home as an opportunity to start to learn an instrument, craft or technical skills
  • Get creative with an artist’s activity pack. First site’s ‘art is where the home is’ (which you can download for free here) will give you ideas about how to get creative at home. Anyone can have a go – no specialist materials required.
  • Listen to a podcast or watch a video to learn something new and boost your wellbeing. The Mental Health Foundation have some great content here.
  • Head fit – designed specifically for the Defence community, provides 24/7 access to self-help tools that can enhance mood, drive and confidence, and help Defence people manage the stresses of everyday life.
  •  Every Mind Matters – Every Mind Matters is now tailored to support people through social distancing and home isolation. Find guidance, advice and tips on how to maintain your mental wellbeing if you need to stay at home or are worried and anxious about the outbreak
  • Shared Reading Covid 19

3. Stay Active

Its important to try and build physical activity into your daily routine. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:

  • cleaning your home
  • dancing to music
  • going up and down stairs
  • seated exercises
  • online exercises

You can find out more about staying active on the ‘Healthy’ pages of the Healthy Somerset website.

 4. Take Notice…

…of nature

Bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed. You could try the following:

  • Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air.
  • Have flowers or potted plants in your home. Plant up seedlings brought on line.
  • Use natural materials to decorate your living space, or use them in art projects. This could include leaves, flowers, feathers, tree bark or seeds.
  • Look at photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as the background on your mobile phone or computer screen, or print and put them up on your walls.
  • Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall. Get as much natural light as you can.
  • Spend time in your garden if you have one, or open your front or back door
  • Staying home is the new going out. Have a look at the things to do from Somerset Wildlife Trust

…of yourself

There are lots of different ways that you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side. These include:

5. Give

Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community, can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you. Think what activities you can do at home that might benefit others. Ideas might include:

  • ringing or writing to a friend, family member or neighbour who may be feeling particularly lonely and isolated
  • make bunting for your local fete or community group
  • build bird boxes or animal shelters
  • spring clean cupboards and drawers and donate unwanted items to your chosen charity
  • sew blankets and clothes for the local special baby unit
  • donate to Somerset Community Foundation Coronavirus Appeal
  • Volunteer to support your local community through the ‘Corona Helpers’ website.
  • Find out more on ways you can volunteer on the volunteering page