Looking after your mental health while self-isolating


Kashan Malik
Looking after your mental health while...

The current situation has taken the entire nation by surprise and it is safe to say that we weren’t expecting to not attend school for an unknown period of time.  School for most students is more than a place where they learn, it is somewhere they can socialise and meet friends, interact with teachers and other staff they have positive relationships with, provides a sense of structure and purpose, a weekly dose of exercise and so much more.

It is therefore understandable that an almost immediate shift to staying at home and self-isolating can be difficult to manage and deal with.  As a school we deeply care about the wellbeing of each and everyone of our students and during this period of uncertainty and isolation where the level of contact that you are used to is not there, it is very important that you take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

However it can be tough to know where to begin and so based on a very useful article from Young Minds UK, here is some advice to help you look after yourselves whilst at home.

Staying connected

Video calls
Phone calls are amazing, and are a great way to stay connected. But seeing someone’s face really can make a huge difference on a phone call. It can lift your mood and make you feel less lonely.

Find a positive online community
There are lots of positive online communities, where you can make new friends, get inspired and chat about things you care about. You could try searching for groups involved in causes, music or TV shows you are passionate about.

But remember to avoid anything that encourages you to do things which are harmful for your physical or mental health. If you’re worried by things you’re experiencing online, talk to someone you trust.

Take a look at our page on social media and mental health for more tips on how to have a positive time online.

Reach out
You’re probably not the only person feeling worried, bored or frustrated. It’s a good time for a catch up, so don’t be afraid to make the first move and reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while. They’ll probably be very grateful to hear from you. Send them a message and let them know you care.

Staying calm

Mindfulness
There are lots of great free apps you can use to guide you through breathing techniques and meditation that can help ease your anxiety and clear your mind of anxious thoughts. We like to use Headspace.

Clean up your social media
You might be spending more time than usual scrolling on social media. But have you ever thought about how this could be affecting your mental health? Try unfollowing or muting accounts that make you feel anxious, upset or angry. Find positive accounts like @youngmindsuk that boost your mood and share your interests. For more tips on having a positive time online, visit our page on social media and mental health.

What type of social media feed do you have? Take our quiz to find out.

With all that free time, why not try learning a new language? Our blogger Wil, 15, explains how learning a language helped her mental health.

Read Wil’s blog:

How learning languages helped my mental health

Take a break from the news
It can be tempting to constantly check the news during times like this, but if you notice this is having a negative impact on your mental health. Try limiting how often you check the news.

Read a book
Getting away from screens and reading a book can help you escape for a bit. Why not re-read one of your favourites, or get your friend to recommend one? It might be difficult to get a new book, but you can access lots of books online.

Plan your days
Your normal routine might be disrupted and that can be stressful. Take some time to write down how you want to spend your day. Creating and sticking to a new routine will give you a sense of order and normality. Decide on your new routine and make sure you build in time to do things you enjoy. If you live with other people, you could ask them to help you.

Online games you can play with friends
Board games can be a great way to spend time with friends or family while giving you something to focus on. You can play a lot of these games online, like Monopoly or Chess, or via apps like Words With Friends 2.

Dealing with stressful situations at home

Walk away from tense situations if you can
Being cooped up with other people will naturally be frustrating and might create tension between you and those you live with. You can defuse difficult situations by walking away from arguments until everyone starts to feel calmer. If you and those you live with do not have any coronavirus symptoms, you could go outside for a walk.

Reach out for help
If your living situation is difficult, please don’t struggle in silence. Speak to someone you trust. Call a friend or a helpline. If you’re worried about being overheard, you could try texting or emailing instead. There are lots of helplines which also offer text and online messenger support.

See below for a list of helplines and other resources.

Get urgent help

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger service
Save our Crisis Messenger number on your phone. Text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 mental health support if you are having a mental health crisis.

Emergency services (999)
If you or someone you live with is seriously injured, call 999.

Other helplines and services

childline

Samaritans

  • www.samaritans.org
  • if you’re in distress and need support, you can ring Samaritans for free at any time of the day or night.
  • freephone (UK and Republic of Ireland): 116 123 (24 hours)
  • email: [email protected]

The Mix

  • www.themix.org.uk
  • if you’re under 25 you can talk to The Mix for free on the phone, by email or on their webchat. You can also use their phone counselling service, or get more information on support services you might need.
  • freephone: 0808 808 4994 (1pm – 11pm daily)

More information and support

Have a look on the following pages if you need more information or support:

I hope you have found this information helpful.  If you have any worries and would like make someone at school aware please contact your pastoral manager.

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