Hi everyone and welcome back to the blog. This post will be up a day before the Podcast and Vlog, work commitments have meant I haven’t been able to do more than one this week and as an apology here’s the Blog post a day early. I can’t imagine it’s much of a treat but hopefully you enjoy 🙂
My last blog post seemed to get a lot of attention and I think it may have been because of the subject matter. So with that, I’ve decided to help anyone who stumbles across this blog who are struggling with the current situation and their mental health.
Because of the uncertainty of the next few weeks or months, knowing how to deal with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues is going to be difficult; isolation at the best of times had it’s difficulties but if you are one of one in four people who suffer with mental health problems, the difficulties can be tenfold.
Thankfully we live in a time where almost everyone has Social Media and uses it every day to stay in contact with friends & family near and far; I have a very good friend whom I speak to most days, despite him living in a different time zone. Many people complain about the over-reliance of Social Media but it is in times like these that it can, quite literally, be a life line for those in isolation and who are lonely.
The internet has opened the world to most people and with that comes a never ending supply of information, programmes, games and activities. It’s going to be a very important tool we can use, as well as other offline things. I’ll share with you a few things to consider to help with isolation, loneliness and mental health.
Bring The Outside In
By this I mean see if there are any outdoor/out of your house activities that can be done at home or in your garden. Obviously, if you don’t have a garden certain things can’t be done there but if you do, use it! Especially here in the UK at the moment, the weather is lovely and set to stay that way for a little bit. Even if the weather isn’t the greatest, if you can get out and do something then take the opportunity.
My Husband and I go to one of the local pubs every Saturday for a sort of “Date Night”. We have a couple of drinks around 5/6 pm then head home for supper. A couple of years ago we bought a beautiful house with his parents and younger sister, for various reasons, and though we have our own space and “wing” of the house to ourselves, we do enjoy time away from everyone to enjoy each other as a married couple. This is why we started the Saturday Evening Drink tradition. We’ve lost this little pleasure but we’ve been imaginative:
We have a summer house in the garden, it wasn’t particularly warm (hence the blankets) but we wrapped up, took a couple of beers out and had a good hour and a half alone to enjoy each others company and have a drink. As the weather improves and we move firmly into Spring, I feel this will become a firm replacement for our usual pub trips.
If you enjoy a drink or two with a spouse, partner, family or with friends, you could try this (within reason) or even host/be a part of an online gathering via Skype, FaceTime or other platforms. Equally, if you enjoy going out for a coffee with the above mentioned, try going online or Al Fresco too:
The loss of being able to go to the gym is something I’ve felt deeply; I typically go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week including classes and Personal Trainer sessions. Training and the gym is something I utilise to help me with my mental health; I’ll get into that in way more detail another time (or you can check out my Podcast!). But not all is lost! Thankfully there are a myriad of online fitness and workout programs, YouTube channels and a good percentage of Personal Trainers that offer online coaching. Some of these are free, but paying for a trainer who might be struggling at the moment (if you’re able to) could be a great way to help them and keep on top of your training.
If that isn’t possible for financial or logistical reasons, classes can be recreated at home. If you’re comfortable enough huffing, puffing and sweating at a gym, doing it on your own home or garden isn’t going to be an issue! My Mum, my Husband and I usually attend a Bootcamp on Tuesday nights, it’s hard as hell but incredibly rewarding, I swear each week our trainers eyes glitter with excitement at the thought of torturing us in new and inventive ways! As mentioned above, the weather here in Britain is pleasant so we’ve decided to torture ourselves with our very own Home Bootcamp:
If the weather turns or isn’t as nice where you are, there are plenty of exercises and activities you can carry out inside, fitness DVD’s and YouTube videos are perfect for this set up.
If you’re considered ‘High-Risk’ (over 70, health conditions etc.) you have to a little more careful but having to isolate doesn’t mean you have to stay inside 24/7. It’s been deemed okay for you to go out for walks and even bike rides; these activities can be done on your own or with others as long as you stay 2 metres away from one another. I have 3 grandparents who are all quite active; my Granny and Grandad are planning on taking picnics to beauty spots instead of their usual bi-weekly Pilates classes.
Working From Home
Working from home, for those who can, has almost become compulsory. If you have a job that can be done from home then this is going to be another facet of self isolation and social distancing. This also goes for children at school; most schools are now closed to the majority of their students and they’re now distance learning from home.
This development has me counting my blessings and feeling very lucky; I work from home anyway, in a house that is rarely completely empty. My job is entirely consumed online so my pay and work won’t change one bit. For that I am very grateful.
Equally, my Husband is a teacher, and he’s not in school but still on full pay. Having him home and my working not being affected is a blessing and I am very aware of the privileges I have that means social distancing and isolation doesn’t mean complete isolation, unlike for many people. Obviously this has the potential to be a short lived positive, the chance I’ll become frustrated at having everyone home 24/7 is a real possibility. It might end up being a bit Hunger Gameseque…who will survive this lock-down?!
The main thing to remember when it comes to working or studying from home is how important a schedule is going to be. Directionless days can be the death of productivity so keeping a very similar day that’d you’d have normally is the best course to take with working or studying away from your usual environment.
Procrastination has the potential to be a real problem in this situation, so if you find working in one environment (e.g. Lounge) an issue, try setting up a work-space where there are minimal distractions. A dining room, study if you have one, or a spare room might be a better place than somewhere with access to televisions, non-work computers or gaming consoles.
Saying all that, breaks are important too! I’ll no doubt be interspersing my workload with trips to Skyrim, shooting bad guys with Lara Croft or flaming Gnorcs with a very specific purple dragon.
The bottom line to working or studying from home is to be kind to yourself. Deadlines will always be a part of it, but they’re no different to the deadlines or projects you’d be dealing with in the workplace or school. Breaks are as crucial as a schedule and don’t forget to have days off. Stress will never be a good bedfellow for working from home.
So that’s it from me this week. Hopefully this post is of some use or comfort to many of you. I intended to write more but honestly, this post took me nearly 2 days! I’ll probably carry it on next time with a few more suggestions and reflections on our current situation.
Thanks for tuning in, I hope this post and the accompanying podcast and vlogs find you well, please feel free to check them out below!
And available on many more podcast platforms just search Exercising Depression Podcast,