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For most of us right now, the scope of our day-to-day reality has been drastically reduced to the four walls of our homes. And whilst this is a necessary measure in light of the current situation, it poses some real concerns for the state of many people’s mental health.   

Being confined to our homes for an extended period of time can be very challenging — not only physically but mentally. So it’s incredibly important that we all take the time to nurture and protect our mental health whilst we see this period of self-isolation through.

With this in mind, we thought we’d share a few tips on keeping mentally healthy and happy whilst housebound. We hope they can be of some use.

Exercise

Keeping active is absolutely essential for remaining both physically and mentally healthy. This is of course true in normal circumstances, but at present it’s more important than ever.

Not only does exercise provide us with a regular routine to follow, but it can drastically help to increase and maintain a healthy mental state.

HelpGuide says that regular exercise “relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood”.

And, according to mentalhealth.org.uk, “Participation in regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety. It also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems”.

For some inspiration, take a look at these 10 workouts you can perform from home without any equipment

Meditate

By now the positive benefits of meditation have been widely documented. But suffice to say that meditating on a regular basis is a very effective method for keeping emotionally and mentally balanced.

It can be especially helpful for creating mental space — offering a place of silence and stillness when we’re otherwise overwhelmed by news feeds, social media, and other forms of external stimulus.

We’re currently living through times of extreme anxiety and uncertainty. So, for many of us, engaging with activities like meditation is more important and necessary than ever before.

But we’ve covered this topic in a little more depth in a previous post. So if you’d like to read more about meditation and how it can be of huge benefit to both your mental and physical health, see here.

Keep your mind stimulated

Boredom presents a big risk when it comes to our mental health during self-isolation.  Having nothing to do can contribute to a general sense of unease, discomfort, and anxiety. And being unoccupied makes us more likely to overthink things and fall into negative mental spirals.

On Mind’s coronavirus advice page, they recommended solving puzzles, reading books, watching films, and listening to podcasts in order to keep occupied. They also suggest learning new skills or taking an online course. OpenLearn and FutureLearn are two excellent resources for finding free courses. Or, if you’re interested in learning a new language, you could try Duolingo.

Connect with friends and family

Humans are social by nature, which means social distancing doesn’t come naturally to many of us. We all enjoy spending time with family and friends, and though most of us are currently isolated from our social circles, being unable to meet face-to-face doesn’t mean we can’t spend time with the people we care about.

We’re lucky to live in such an intimately connected world. Nowadays it’s easy for even the most technophobic of us to make video calls and send voice messages. So it’s both important and feasible to keep in touch with those we’d normally see on a regular basis.

If you have friends you’d usually meet with once a week for a coffee, arrange a group video call instead. You can still drink coffee and chat together, but from the comfort of your own homes.

You could even go old school and write a letter to a friend you haven’t contacted for a while. This also has a 2-for-1 benefit: you can keep your mind active by writing and reconnect with a distant friend at the same time.

More resources

For more information and advice on the upkeep of mental health during this difficult time, there are some excellent articles by Time, Mind, Mental Health Foundation, and the BBC.