How to look after your mental wellbeing while at home

Spending less time with others to stop the spread of Coronavirus is going to mean a big change in our lifestyles, but a temporary one.

To help anyone who feels alone with their thoughts and concerns at this time, BBC Bitesize has spoken to Joshua Fletcher, who specialises in tackling anxiety.

He has advice on how to take care of our mental health while staying at home over the coming weeks and maybe even months. Check out the video to hear him in full.

Advice from anxiety expert Joshua Fletcher

Remember to reassure yourself

If you are feeling trapped because of self-isolation, it could be triggered by your amygdala, the part of the brain that responds to fear. If this happens, try to reassure yourself that you’re in a safe space.

Joshua said: “Maybe your world is temporarily going to be a bit smaller, so make sure whatever you put in that world is good and conducive for your wellbeing.”

He continued: “You will probably have to share that world with your family, so the first thing you should do is make an extra effort to get on with people around you because if you’re sharing a space, that can really help your wellbeing.”

Joshua suggested doing activities together such as cooking (he’s chosen to try crocheting), as this can help with bonding and take the pressure out of the enclosed environment.

Living in a confined space

If a lot of people are in the same space for a prolonged length of time, there is a possibility that tensions will arise. If this is something you have concerns about, Joshua has further advice.

“Make sure you have some personal boundaries and space,” he said.

“Do some things that are good, maybe catch up on some reading. I know I’ll be doing that.”

It’s also worth letting others know where your space is and asking them to respect it.

Joshua added: “Try not to get so absorbed in the worries, because it’s temporary. But because your world has been smaller, try and make sure that that world is full of things that are nurturing for you.”

It’s OK to feel worried

Anyone with access to a garden is encouraged to take some time out there, as it can alleviate any feelings of being trapped. Avoiding any news reports about coronavirus can also reduce anxiety.

Joshua said: “Just be aware that when your world becomes a bit smaller, you might be a bit more hypersensitive to triggers.

“That’s OK, that’s supposed to happen, but just be aware of it. It’s OK to just say no and switch off to something sometimes.”

To sum up Joshua’s advice:

  • Reassure yourself that you’re in a safe space
  • Bond with the people you’re isolating alongside, try doing activities together
  • Create a personal space for yourself, ask others to respect it
  • Catch up on reading or other hobbies
  • Go into the garden if you can
  • It’s OK to say no and switch off if you want to

If you have any concerns about living in isolation during the coronavirus outbreak, BBC Bitesize has more articles on health and wellbeing which can help.

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