Mental Health Matters: Staying Positive During Lockdown

by | Feb 12, 2021

The past year has brought a lot of unexpected changes to our routines. Your mental health matters and it’s become more important than ever to take care of yourself. This includes being aware of low moods and finding ways to combat this and look after your mental health. Especially for older people who may be unable to see family members, feeling worried or low can be quite common. We’ve taken a look at some advice from Age UK on ways to stay positive and we think this is particularly important whilst we are in lockdown.

1.      Getting Enough Sleep

Being in lockdown has caused a lot of disruption to routines. We are committed to the health of our residents and have strived to maintain a routine that is as close to normal as possible. However, some people who are living on their own and who been put on furlough may have noticed negative effects on their sleeping routine. The amount of sleep that we get can directly affect how we feel. If you find that you’re not getting enough sleep, try to cut down on any daytime naps you may be having. Also, try to relax in the evening before bedtime perhaps by reading a book or listening to music.

2.      Eat Well and Drink Responsibly

What we consume can also have a big influence on our mental health. You should try to make sure that have a balanced diet and are including healthier foods such as fruits and vegetables in your meals. For example, at Sydenham House we use fresh produce from our very own farm in the meals that we prepare for our residents.

If you like to enjoy the occasional drink whilst at home, you should also monitor how much you are consuming. If you overdo it this can make your body feel bad. It’s acknowledged that a happy body can help promote a happy. This is why drinking sensibly is crucial to your mental health.

For more information on healthy eating and drinking wisely, Age UK have a useful guide on Healthy Living.

3.      Be Kind to Yourself

When left alone with our thoughts it’s vital to take care of yourself. This is especially true for many during our third lockdown. It’s easier to get caught up in the negative things that are going on and this dip in mood can lead to us being hard on ourselves. You should take time to focus on self-care, allow yourself a treat once in a while. Maybe that’s a nice meal, a relaxing bath or taking time to enjoy a good book. Talking to friends or family on the phone is a fantastic way of lifting your mood. It’s an opportunity to reminisce on happy memories and focus on the positive things in your life.

An example of this is how we have been focused on keeping the line of communication open between our residents and their families throughout this pandemic. It has helped to keep spirits up and gives everyone something to look forward to.

4.    Keep Active

Keeping active has been proven to help with your mental health. During lockdown, we know that this can be difficult. If you have a garden or quiet piece of land, like a nearby field you should try to take advantage of this. Even a short 10-minute walk can help. Not only will this benefit your mental health, but it is good for your physical health too. If you don’t have a garden, perhaps go for a quick walk around the block.

When we talk about keeping active, we don’t just want to focus on going for a walk. We also want to mention keeping your mind active. This could be done with various activities that can stimulate the mind. Examples would include painting, drawing, card making, crochet, gardening or even photography. Getting creative not only stimulates the mind, but it can give participants a sense of accomplishment at the end of it. We try to keep our residents active with various crafty activities. It’s great for their mental health but it’s also a brilliant way to socialise.

If getting creative isn’t really your thing, the Alzheimer’s Society offers a subscription to monthly ‘Brain Workout’ puzzles. Your subscription fee is a donation to the charity, and you can choose how much you wish to donate each month.

We hope that you have found these suggestions useful and that they help you to look after your mental health during these strange times.