How life changes? It seems only a short while we were reading about the latest post-Christmas diet to get ‘beach ready’ to the devastating news of this tsunami-like tide of Coronavirus sweeping our world and destroying lives in its path.
We have clocked off, locked down and are feeling fed up.
After weeks of following the guidance and staying at home, many are starting to feel the effects of seeing the same four walls day after day and the loss of physical contact with their loved ones.
The effect of being in lockdown or self-isolation for a prolonged period of time can be detrimental to not only our physical health but our mental health. Many people are suffering from loneliness, increased anxiety and sleeplessness. Some are able to get outside and walk or run to combat stress, but some are not so lucky. They may be older with mobility issues or confined to a room in self-isolation.
It has never been so important to find ways to relax the mind and reduce stress levels to keep ourselves in good mental health. There are a number of ways that can help:
- Turn off the TV or radio and sit or lie still. Breath in slowly and count to four, hold for four, breath out for four and hold for four. Continue until your breath slows and your mind begins to wander. Allow your mind to imagine taking each worry and let it float away gently. Anyone working with older people might find Yoga for Dementia helpful too.
- Listen to the birds or better still, hang a feeder near to the window and watch the birds feeding. Use a pair of binoculars to try and identify individuals and keep a daily record. Concentrating on an ever-changing scene of nature can work wonders to stop your mind worrying about other things. Try our Bird Watching Binoculars to view in more detail and learn more about bird species with our Meaningful Memories Garden Birds Project book.
- Complete a jigsaw puzzle or colour in a beautiful scene. This will allow the mind to concentrate fully on a repetitive ‘safe’ activity and pushes away any other pervasive anxious thoughts. There are jigsaw puzzles for adults in a wide range of sizes, from a few chunky pieces for anyone with dementia to more intricate puzzles. Many have inspiring scenes that are a joy to complete. There are even special mats that hold the pieces in place and roll up for easy storage in between using. Equally, colouring books for adults come in an array of subjects and levels. Maybe play some gentle music alongside to help with the ambience.
- If you are handy with a needle or can knit or crochet, take a look at the many inspiring ideas online and start a new craft project. Wool and fabric can easily be bought online and there are also some great craft sites to join where you can link up with others who have similar interests such as thecraftblog.com
- For some older people, stroking a pet can be very calming but for many, owning the real thing is not an option due to being in a care home or possibly fur allergies. Why not enjoy the companionship without the hassle with a Precious Pet? These furry ‘pets’ will curl up on a lap and ‘breathe’ rhythmically just like the real thing. Or go one step further and try a Joy for All cat or pup? These respond to touch and will move and make real-life sounds with a real personality to enjoy.
It may help to remember that millions are sharing the same fears and worries around the world. Maybe make a plan about what you will do/where you will go once things ease up. Limit the amount of news to once or twice a day and dig out that unfinished novel you kept meaning to finish – there will never be a better time…