How To Keep Your Mind Active At Home With Less Social Contact

The current covid-19 situation has forced us all to limit our social contact, minimising face-to-face meetings, seeing our friends, family and loved ones and staying at home as much as is possible.

Inevitably, this can have a negative impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

It is important to remember that looking after your mental health and wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. As osteopaths, we have first-hand experience and a deep understanding of the connection between the two. For that reason, we feel well-placed to offer some advice to help to keep your mind active and health during the current period of lockdown.

We have put together this article to help anyone who is struggling with keeping their mind active during lockdown. If you feel anyone you know would benefit from this advice, please share it with them.

Identify your worries and talk about them

You may have a number of worries at this time. The first thing to say is that this is completely understandable, and you are not alone. Many people will be worried about things like their work situation, their loved ones, financial strains or future plans.

Sometimes, when we have a few worries it can be difficult to understand or define exactly what they are. Often our worries can overrule all else and skew our thinking. It is important that you try to take a step back, pause and reflect on exactly what is worrying you.

Knowing exactly what is worrying you can help you to regain a sense of control and reduce anxiety.

Try writing a list of all your worries. This will help you to move them out of your head and into reality. This simple act can be hugely beneficial in taking back control of your issues and will also give you better tools to plan how exactly to overcome your personal challenges.

Example-of-how-to-keep-your-mind-active-woman-making-list

Plan practical activities to keep your mind active

During this period of lockdown, we are all going to be limited in the amount of physical exercise we are able to do. However, that is not to say that we can’t continue to plan practical activities that keep us engaged mentally.

Often in “normal” life, you would be excused for taking a walk or going for a run to get away from your thoughts. Perhaps to switch off after a busy day at the desk or meeting with family and friends. Now, we need to focus on keeping our minds occupied.

Wherever and whenever possible, try to plan as many practical activities as you can. Maybe now would be a good time to sort out that spare room and clearing all the “stuff” you have had piled around for a while? Perhaps you could offer to help a neighbour or family member while staying at home? If you are struggling to find practical things to plan, there may be someone else you could help.

Practical activities are a great way of marrying physical and mental exercise. “Sorting things out” uses brain power as well as physical exertion.

Look after your physical health

Generally speaking, people are developing a much better understanding and becoming more aware of the positive benefits to our mental health when we are fit and health physically (and vice versa).

Although we have been asked to limit our daily exercise to one activity per day, we should be making the most of this.

Keeping fit, healthy and active physically will have a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing. If you are worried about going outside to exercise then there are a number of things you can do indoors.

Remember to eat healthy foods – our Eat a Rainbow Toolkit has been designed to help you do just that. Well-balanced meals, plenty of water and exercise are all vital during this time. Avoid smoking and try not to drink too much alcohol.

As part of our Stay Active this Spring campaign, we have put together some exercises to help you stay physically active at home.

There are also some great external resources available:

Stay connected with friends and family

Maintaining existing relationships with the people that are closest to you is important for your mental health and wellbeing.

If you are separated from close family and friends during this time, think about ways of staying in touch with them. Use things like phone, messaging, video calls and social media to chat and keep connected.

Do not forget, if you are feeling good in yourself, that ten-minute chat with a friend or family member could be just what they need when they are feeling low. Even if you are not suffering, remember to use any spare time you have to be there to listen.

Elderly-man-having-a-happy-phone-call

Take a break from news and media

There is a lot of information out there. And it is fair to say it certainly is not all good.

It’s important to know what’s happening, but be sure to break away from the news channel and social media to bring your focus onto something else.

Setting times to allow yourself to check the news is a healthier way to absorb the information whilst retaining structure and avoiding unnecessary worry.

Remember not everything you read on the internet is true, so be sure to use fact-checked sources to avoid unnecessary stress.

Keep your mind active with games and puzzles

Reading, writing, playing games, puzzles, painting, drawing or jigsaws are all examples or great ways to keep your mind active and healthy during lockdown.

Just because you’re not putting up shelves or changing a lightbulb doesn’t mean you’re not doing something useful. Our brains need stimulation and activities that engage the mind are important in ensuring good mental health.

Develop a routine but don’t be afraid to relax

We are meaning seeking beings. Creating routine gives us a sense of order from the chaos of our lives.

If you are someone that is usually fairly sporadic with their daily activities, then you may be finding it difficult to stay motivated and a good sense of wellbeing throughout this time. If you are not currently working, then this can be made even more challenging as you could feel like you are short on options of things to keep you occupied.

Creating and planning a sense of routine is a great way to keep your mind healthy. No matter how mundane, try creating a list to plan your days out. Why not begin to plan your meals, or how to tackle your chores for the day?

This sense of order keeps our minds at ease and allows us to stay focused for longer.

Remember though, routine and relaxation are not separate things. Ensure you are planning enough rest time throughout the day or you could become burnt-out. Routines don’t necessarily mean being busy, but they provide some sense of structure.

Young-man-reading-a-book

Ensure you get plenty of rest

Sleep is one of the most essential and most overlooked elements of good mental and physical health.

During this time, you may be finding it difficult to sleep. It could be that you are not able to get as much exercise as you are used to, or you are kept up with worries and anxiety.

However, it is very important that you prioritise sleep during times when you are feeling low.

We have put together a series of tips to help with sleep as part of our Wellbeing Toolkit.

We hope you have found this article useful. If you feel anyone you know would benefit from this advice, please share it with them.

Remember: If you are seeking urgent mental health support, there are urgent support channels available to help you.

[Click here if you are seeking urgent support – https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/urgent-support/]

At Osteopathy For All we are currently able to offer telephone and online video consultations to continue to support our clients and the wider community with osteopathic services.

Visit our appointments page or call us on 01825 840582 or email hello@osteopathyforall.co.uk to speak to one of our team. We’re here to help.