Looking after your mental health during self-isolation
Arthritis Action’s Director of Member Services and Clinical Hypnotherapist Heather Baumohl-Johnson, gives helpful advice on how to look after your mental health during self-isolation.
Experiencing a change in routine or the way we live may not be easy. This may especially be the case for anyone who is feeling anxious, possibly even for the first time.
Let’s consider this new, temporary way of life as a challenge. We have all experienced challenges in the past which we have not been able to control, for example: finishing school and moving into University or work; family or friends moving away or dying; holidays being cancelled etc. We already know that we can’t control everything that happens in our lives, but we can take control of how we respond to those changes. Challenges can be overcome.
Here are some ways in which you may take control to help get through these challenging times:
- It is important to retain a sense of purpose, and staying at home is a real purpose – by staying at home, you are saving lives
- Make telephone and video calls – use this time to catch up with people you may not have been in contact with for a while and chat with them as well as your usual contacts
- Establish a new daily routine and ensure there is a difference between weekdays and weekends
- Limit the time you give to watching television, listening to the radio and reading news. Choose credible and reliable sources of news perhaps once or twice a day only
- Do things that you enjoy: those ‘at home hobbies’ you’ve been meaning to do for a while; those jobs around the house and garden; tell your friends and family what you are doing during your chats
- Eat healthily to ensure you get the correct nutrients and while staying indoors, keeping your body fit and your mood up
- Ensure you keep active. Continue with your usual exercise, or try different indoor activities such as yoga or stretching. If you haven’t exercised in a long time, try doing 10 minutes of our easy indoor exercises to keep active
- When life’s a little different or if you are feeling out of kilter, remember that there is a link between physical health and mental health. Take up Mindfulness or meditation. Learn how to relax and really breathe. Read and watch our online resources to learn how you can self-manage your arthritis
- Remember to keep hydrated. Drinking more water may help to reduce your stress levels, and can help with any headaches caused by stress
- Change your focus from all the scary news. Try keeping a journal of all the good things that happen during the day
- Take time to wind down before going to bed and quieten your mind. Focus on the good things that have happened and ensue you get a good night’s sleep, to set you up for the next day