Sleep, a healthy diet and regular exercise among the simple self-care steps to good mental health during lockdown
With more than two weeks of national lockdown still to go, people in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are being encouraged to take simple steps that could have a big impact on maintaining good mental health.
Having a healthy diet, getting regular sleep, communicating with friends and family and making the most of the permitted outdoor exercise have all been identified as effective ways of getting through this current period of isolation.
Local NHS professionals are now reminding people they do not need to invest in over-the-top lifestyle changes, such as taking on a whole new diet or training for a marathon, to stay afloat, and that it is often the little switches in daily life that have the potential to do the most good.
Other practical steps that can help boost mood and help people to feel better include taking up a new hobby, rediscovering one that may have been put on the backburner in recent weeks and looking out for friends and family who may also be struggling.
Claire Williamson, Head of Psychological Therapies, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, said: “Although we have all had to get used to living in lockdown, the isolation we have had to endure this year is still very unnatural, and this can clearly have a negative impact on how we are feeling.
“Quite often, issues relating to mental health only become apparent once they have started to affect our day-to-day life, which is why doing introducing small feel-good actions early on is so important.
“Whether it’s riding a bike, reading a book, cooking a meal from scratch or having a night in with friends on Zoom, these small activities can do wonders for our mood and self-esteem, which are so important at this difficult time.
“Having a positive outlook not only makes these periods of lockdown easier to manage, but also ensures our physical health is maintained to a high standard, something we rely on even more during the colder winter months.”
This advice coincides with the annual Self Care Week, which advises people on how to stay well using a combination of their own initiative and easily accessible resources.
The theme for this year focuses on staying well amid the restrictions and regulations brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
As well as doing what is necessary to maintain good mental health, people can look after their physical health by getting the flu vaccine, seeking help for worrying symptoms early on and following the necessary steps for testing and isolating at the first sign of showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Look out for further updates regarding Self Care Week from the ICB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
More information on locally available healthcare services can be found online at www.bswicb.nhs.uk.