New Directions has a few helpful hints and tips to share that you and anyone in our community will benefit from to help you manage this challenging time. As we have entered a second national lockdown, taking care of the wellbeing of the people we support, and our staff is vital for their mental and physical health over the coming weeks. Here are the Five Ways To Wellbeing which we have adapted to this current lockdown.

STAY CONNECTED

When there is much discussion about the potential threat to our physical health from Coronavirus it is important to maintain positive relationships with others who you trust with your mental wellbeing. It is natural to feel worried and a little helpless when things are out of our control so ask friends and family how they are feeling, connect with old friends and think how you could help your local community. We may not be meeting face to face; however, we can still take an active interest in the welfare of others by phone, messages, video calls or social media. If you need to call someone professionally there are also helplines which can help you to get clarity. Remember that the feelings of anxiety you are feeling will pass and that there are things that you can do to help yourself and others.

BE ACTIVE

Eating well balanced meals and exercising throughout lockdown will help you to create a new healthy schedule and avoid negative patterns of behaviour that make you feel worse. There may be some new habits that you choose to continue even when the restrictions lift too. It is a good idea to have a variety of activities such as online classes as well as outdoor exercise to avoid complacency. Identify what your strengths are and rely on them to get you through this lockdown. Getting enough sleep makes a big difference to how you feel during the day. When you are refreshed you will feel more motivated, able to manage your feelings and feel more in control.

TAKE NOTICE

It is a good idea to limit the amount of time spent watching the latest breaking news about Coronavirus as it can increase anxiety. That means limiting social media and radio too and using only trustworthy sources. Taking time out to relax like this will help manage difficult emotions. Try to do things that you enjoy such as your favourite hobby. You could also find time to dedicate to thinking about what is important to you and gives your life meaning. Knowing what Coronavirus means to you personally can reduce anxiety by helping you to feel more in control of your own environment.

KEEP LEARNING

There are many practical things to work out during lockdown, so learning new skills is a bonus. Working out how to get your essential supplies such as groceries, regular prescriptions and how to access health services will create new systems that work for you now and in the future. During lockdown you will find that you have more time on your hands so reading, crosswords, jigsaws, drawing, painting or discovering adult colouring books will give you focus. There are also more online courses and tutorials that will help you to master new talents that you may not know you had. You may enjoy meeting others online through book clubs, exercise classes, pub quizzes and music concerts as we all look for new ways to spend time together. Lockdown can be a time of personal growth and learning, however set realistic and achievable goals to help you get the most out of learning.

GIVE

Helping others is emotionally rewarding so why not use your strengths to make a difference in your community. Many people will be struggling to cope, and your help might be just what they need to make their lives a little easier. Charities and local community groups are consistently looking for new ways to raise funds and resources so you might be able to help their cause. Listening is a great way to give your support to people who are sharing this experience together. Remember how we all clapped for the NHS in the first national lockdown? Let’s keep that community spirit going and help each other whenever we can through this challenging time.