Being bombarded with constant media about the pandemic can seem relentless and take its toll on our mental health. Especially for those of us who’re more vulnerable, live alone, or live with anxiety or depression.
For those of us who’re well, healthy, and not in social isolation, we should consider reaching out to older or more vulnerable members of our community to offer our time and support. Something as simple as picking up a prescription, doing a food shop, or even having a quick phone call to check-in can be a huge help to many people.
Tamara Willner, a registered nutritionist with Second Nature, an NHS-backed ‘smart diet’ which allows people to diet at home through an app, has qualified dietitians who can comment on topics ranging from what to eat to boost your immune system, to eating healthily while at home. The digital programme is more relevant now than ever, particularly with practising healthy habits to keep our bodies as healthy as possible
It’s incredibly important that we all take steps to protect and prioritise our mental wellbeing, for example:
1) Chat to friends or loved ones
Staying socially connected via digital platforms is essential for our mental health when our social contact is limited. This might be calling or FaceTiming family members, neighbours, and friends on a regular basis.
2) Meditation or deep breathing
Meditation is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety. If you’re new to meditation, try practising deep breathing with your eyes closed in a quiet room for 2 minutes each day.
3) Practise yoga
Yoga encompasses the benefits of both exercise and meditation. One of the ways meditation is so effective is through controlled breathing, which is also practised in yoga. Yoga also increases our release of serotonin – the ‘happy’ hormone
4) Use adult colouring books
Colouring provides a cognitively stimulating mental activity, which can relieve stress and anxiety by providing our minds with a distraction.
5) Monitor media exposure
It can be overwhelming to receive constant notifications about the virus, which lead us to panic and lose control of our thoughts. It’s important to stay informed right now, but consider checking reliable sources (e.g. NHS or WHO websites) for information once each day and turning off notifications in between.