Taking Care of Our Minds & Bodies in Times of Stress & Solitude

Updated: May 11, 2020

At the present time, right across the world we are seeing significant measures implemented to minimise the effect and spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The majority of public and social gatherings have been prohibited.

These restrictions can have a huge impact on the emotional wellbeing of the general public. Considering this, I have provided some advice for looking after your mental and physical health in the difficult and uncertain times that we find ourselves in.

Occupational Deprivation - Occupational Therapists work to a well recognised phenomenon, Occupational Deprivation. This can arise following an enforced absence from the day to day roles and responsibilities of a working person. An example of this would be, the period of time needed to recover from an injury, or in the current situation the lack of ability to access regular employment due to the government's social distancing regime.Occupational Deprivation can greatly increase someone’s risk of depression and other psychological or mental illnesses.

Guidance for The Public

Routine - For those who are unable to leave their homes, the temptation to lie in bed in the morning, and go to sleep much later than usual is great. You should look to avoid this. Attempt to maintain as usual a sleeping pattern as possible.

Healthy Eating - The temptation to reach for unhealthy snacks when your mind is unoccupied is huge. It can really help to plan healthy meals for throughout the day, if possible these will be fresh and home cooked. If you're unable to cook or prepare meals this isolation period could be the perfect time to learn. Some fantastic recipes and video tutorials can be found online.

Regular Exercise - Regular exercise tops the list of the best ways to maintain good mental health. If you can go for a walk or a run then try and incorporate this into your daily routine. Additionally, it is very much possible to exercise within the confines of your own home. Even without access to a home gym, there are endless numbers of resources available online, and apps which can support you with regular access to fitness associated activity plans. The Nike Training app specialises in home based workouts (that do and do not require equipment), that app additionally includes Yoga & Pilates tutorials.

Rehabilitation & Recovery - If someone is currently in the rehabilitation process following illness or injury, they should continue to be in dialogue with their physiotherapists, doctors & surgeons to understand the best approach for them with regards to their ongoingrehabilitation.

Physical Health - In addition to a combination of regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, you'll almost certainly see benefit in restricting the amount of alcohol you are

consuming. You're always best avoiding smoking at all times. Try to spend as much time out in the fresh air as possible. If you are concerned about your physical health, follow the latest NHS advice with regards to contacting your GP.

Social Interaction To reduce the chances of having to socially isolate completely, it is important to maintain good contact with your family and friends. If you can, spend time in touch with close friends, although the way you choose to do this must be in accordance with the latest Government advice. Make positive use of social media, messaging and apps such as WhatsApp to keep in touch. FaceTime and Zoom are also incredibly useful visual tools for a period where social distancing is enforced.

Mental Wellbeing Exercises to help you relax such as mindfulness can be very a useful technique when looking to maintain good mental health. There are an abundance of resources online, as well as fantastic apps you can download to your devices such as Headspace. If you’ve never given mindfulness a try but always wanted to, then this period of time could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. It is an incredibly effective way to help you manage the difficulties you’re facing such as raised anxiety levels, and the potential to become depressed.

Activities The importance of having regular access to leisure activities cannot be emphasised enough. The restrictions on movement we are increasingly facing can provide some challenges to participation, but once again, the situation we find ourselves in may provide the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to try something you’ve long wanted to or that has caught your attention. I have listed below some ideas of leisure activities you may want to try and may be inspired to take up. Remember, as part of a balanced routine, there’s no shame in spending time watching your favourite boxset on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

  •   Cooking

  •   Arts & Crafts

  •   Watching movies and TV programmes

  •   Gaming

  •   Gardening

  •   Walks (Consider the latest government advice)

  •   Music (If you have ever wanted to learn to play a musical instrument then this could be the right time)

  •   Reading & Writing

Opportunities for Personal & Professional Development The period we’re now facing may seem bleak but it could provide a great opportunity for you to consider how you can develop yourself personally and professionally. If you have long held aspirations of starting your own business or writing the book that everyone tells you that we have in us, then with a clear schedule, now could be the time to make that commitment. Additionally, now could be a great time to explore opportunities for training or further education. Fantastic training bodies such as the Open University offer a range of distance learning opportunities which include an abundance of free online training modules.

If you are concerned about your mental health or that of one of your colleagues, speak with family or friends or any Mental Health First Aider you may know. Seeking out the expert advice of your GP is always the most highly recommended thing to do.

At The Third Team I work individually and in collaboration with different professionals where I have developed workshops associated with Resilience and Mental Toughness Development. The workshops are interactive, where delegates are encouraged to open up and share their experiences to help each other.

Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know more about my workshops and how I could helpyou. Best Wishes, Nathan Sherratt Managing Director | The Third Team

The Third Team supports referees by providing them with awareness on all things related to Resilience to enhance Performance and improve Mental Health. Additionally, we help educational institutions through the vehicle of refereeing alongside the Mental Health workshops we deliver in industry." To receive The Third Team weekly email, where proven Resilience and Mental Toughness strategies will be shared with you, straight to your inbox, click HERE!

This article has been reproduced and modified with the kind permission of: Nathan Sherratt Managing Director | The Third Team

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