We asked our Senior Guardianship Manager and Safeguarding Lead, Emma, to put together some tips and advice for the lockdown - hopefully, there will be some points here that you will be able to relate to and will help you, your children or family members during the lockdown. We know that this is a difficult time for everyone, but for people who already struggle with their mental health or who are going through a bereavement, these times are particularly challenging. It is very important that we look after our own mental health and are kind to ourselves before we begin to help others.
Here are some ways in which we can achieve this
Keep to a routine, it’s important to find a new normal for you. Try to stick to a new basic daily routine, even if it is just ensuring you have set meal times each day, or getting up and going to sleep around the same time.
Allow yourself time in the day to reflect upon the current situation, acknowledge the things that you can control and what you cannot control during this time. Practice gratitude, breathe and let go!
3. TIME & PLAN
Try to keep each day as varied as possible and allow yourself extra time to complete tasks that you would normally rush through. Tackle tasks by breaking them down into smaller steps to complete throughout the week - for example, I want to bake a cake, but today I am going to look at different recipe and decoration ideas, tomorrow I’ll buy the ingredients when I am due to go shopping and the next day I will attempt the bake.
Find the time to cook a meal each evening. Dig through an old recipe book and try something different or write down a list of ingredients you have in your home and ask your friends to come up with a recipe idea for you to try.
Move your body without leaving your living room. There are so many videos on YouTube, from Yoga to fitness, from the Strictly Stars home festival to Joe Wicks’ morning workouts. Give it a go and if you don’t complete the whole session then who will know.
Try to limit the amount of time you spend each day watching the news and on social media. It’s important to keep yourself informed by reputable news sources but try not to keep the news on in the background throughout the day. Turn off the TV when you are not actively watching a programme.
Call your close family members at least every day to see how they are. Face-to-face calls, for example through Skype or Facetime, are excellent ways to communicate. If you are using new apps to communicate, then always check them out first on www.net-aware.org.uk
Arrange times to meet with friends online, perhaps organise a quiz, make a pretend art gallery in your home and give them a virtual tour, eat a meal together, prepare a tutorial or just chat and reminisce.
9. EXPLORE and LEARN
Go on holiday from the comfort of your own home. Using Google Earth, you can go anywhere in the world. You can tour through all the National Parks in America, go on a virtual tour of Universal Studios in Florida or visit the Louvre in Paris. If like me, you’re a Harry Potter fan, you can check out the History of Magic virtual tour at the British Library. Planning a trip for the future gives you something to look forward to.
Sleep is important, but don’t worry too much about getting your exact 8 hours. Try to avoid screen time for two hours before bed. Remember your dreams and keep a dream diary, turn them into short stories to entertain your family and friends. If you have been having nightmares (which can be common during periods of uncertainty) write them down on a piece of paper, then rip it up and let go of the negative feelings. Give the narrative an alternative positive ending.
Try to spend some time outside to get some fresh air (although, if you have hayfever like me, then stay indoors until the evening when the pollen count is lower!) If you don’t want to go for a walk or run then be mindful, open a window or stand outside, listen to the birds and try to identify them - they are particularly vocal during spring. The RSPB has a handy guide. Plant some seeds in the garden or on your windowsill and watch them grow or just spend time doing nothing in particular.
Remember that everyone reacts to stress differently. Try to identify and avoid your triggers and stressors. Reduce your alcohol intake, which can often make you feel more anxious. Give your family members some space or safe areas in the home where they can go to sit, read, learn or create without being interrupted. Acknowledge that arguments and disagreements will occur but be quick to forgive. Have open, honest discussions about family life and make the necessary improvements.
Try to remember that everything is temporary and fluid; thoughts, feelings, emotions, including this situation that we find ourselves in.