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Look after your health and wellbeing at home

The coronavirus pandemic has meant more time at home for pretty much everyone across the country. But how do you look after your health and wellbeing at home?

Not seeing friends and family, being out of your routine or out of work can all put you out of sync. We’ve researched the current advice on looking after your health and wellbeing at home, during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond, to give you easy to follow steps to wellness.

Daily activities to look after your wellbeing at home

  1. Stick to a routine – have you ever felt like staying in your PJs all day? And if you did, did you feel better at the end of it? As tempting as it may seem, sticking to a routine helps our self-confidence and purpose. So much so, that it’s the Mental Health Foundation’s first step on looking after your wellbeing.
  2. Make a hot, healthy, meal – no matter the time of year, you can’t beat a warming meal. Choose to make your breakfast, lunch or dinner a nutritious meal that you’ll look forward to.
  3. Fresh air and light walk – get into a routine of getting out of the house and going for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a mammoth route (unless you’re feeling that) – a short, fifteen to half an hour walk everyday can-do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing – as well as top up some vitamin D!

Weekly activities to look after your wellbeing at home

  1. Make time for yourself to relax – relaxing and focusing on the present can help improve your mental health and lighten negative feelings. Why? Well, because if you stop thinking about worries in your past or focusing on things that may (or probably won’t) happen in the future – then your list of worries is likely to massively reduce. Try some different meditation or breathing exercises. You can do this by sitting in a quiet room and focusing solely on your breath. Start small – five minutes – and see if you can increase that time. Notice how you feel afterwards. Progressive muscle relaxing techniques are also helpful and can be done as a family. Either look up a muscle relaxation script or find one online to listen to.
  2. Connect with others – being at home all day, every day, can make you feel like you’re living the same day on repeat. You can start to feel out of touch with people you’d usually socialise with. But you don’t have to lose touch. Give them a call, have a look at some old photos and share them with your friends or go for a walk with them if that’s possible. If you were one of the people who enjoyed a lockdown quiz, then you can even set one of those up.
  3. Check your news and social media usage – the media and news we take in every day can impact how we feel, think and our behaviour. If you’ve fallen into a pattern of regularly watching or listening to the news, then it could be taking a toll on your emotional and mental health. While it’s important to stay up to date, give your self some free time. Free time away from the screen, away from the news – from your social media feed. Plan what you’ll do instead. Go for a walk, read a book, bake a cake or you can try one of the above relaxation activities!

Monthly tips to look after your wellbeing at home

  1. Find a new perspective – whether you enjoy reading, starting a new series or listening to an interesting podcast, sharing stories have been part of human history for, well – forever. It’s how we learn, connect with others and look at things in a different way. At the beginning of the month, do a bit of research into a topic that interests you. This is great for giving yourself a plan of spending time watching, reading or listening to something that interests you. You could also let your friends or family know what you’re getting into and see if they want to do the same.
  2. Reflect and focus on the positives – for this, you could consider keeping a gratitude journal each day where you write down two or three things every night before bed. That could be an actual book or notes on your phone. Take time to reflect on these – maybe once a month, maybe as and when you need to.
  3. Get rid of what you no longer need – clutter. it can get in the way of our physical space, mental space, virtual space – you name it. Decluttering is much more than just tidying up. It’s looking at what you no longer need and what no longer brings you joy. It’s a chance to get rid of those jeans that make you feel rubbish, give that unused Christmas gift to someone who would use it and make space for the things that you use in life. Have a go. It’s also an opportunity to make a bit of extra cash if you sell any on of the items on eBay, Gumtree or Vinted.

Wellbeing signs to look out for

Good mental health and wellbeing is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems. It’s a person’s ability to do key functions and activities.

Good mental health is having the ability to:

  • Learn
  • Feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions
  • Form and maintain good relationships with others
  • To cope with and manage change and uncertainty

The following could be signs of mental health problems:

  • Feeling sad, down or like nothing matters
  • Not able to perform daily tasks
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Frequently tired, low or no energy
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs
  • Extreme mood swings, yelling, fighting
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful on edge angry, upset, worried or scared
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Hearing voice or believing things that are not true

If you’re feeling any of the above or low, depressed, anxious or trapped then it may help to reach out. Have a look at our sections on looking after your mental health and physical wellbeing for organisations that can help.

Frequently asked health and wellbeing questions

1. I’m watching the news a lot and it’s getting me quite down. What can I do to help?

2020 saw the news become a necessity to keep up with government information. But it wouldn’t be described as fun or light watching. While it’s important to keep up to date, try to limit the amount of news you take in. That means what you’re watching, what you’re reading on your device or social media and what you’re listening to.

Have a look at some positive news sources. Happiful is a newspaper that only covers the happy and positive news around the world. You can subscribe to it’s weekly news bulletin for free or buy the full magazine.

2. I can’t stop eating rubbish and I think it’s getting me down

Sugar, junk food and constant snacking can all make us feel quite sluggish. Firstly, you’ve identified how these foods are making you feel so that’s a great step in addressing it. Have a look at our physical health on a budget page for some tips on eating healthily.

3. My mental health isn’t good now and I’m in debt, what can I do?

You are not alone. Every adviser at PayPlan receives dedicated training to spot the signs of and support mental health and wellbeing. We also have a specialist vulnerable client team who supports people who are particularly vulnerable. While we can help to reduce your money worries, a specialist mental health organisation can help with your wellbeing. Get in touch with a specialist mental health organisation or charity.

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