Six tips for staying sane whilst staying in

April 17, 2020

Whether it’s finding a sunny patch of floor to bathe in, or using up the dregs at the back of the food cupboard, small moments of joy are going to become increasingly more important in the coming months, and it’s never been more valuable to take care of your mental health. What better time to make your space the place to be? Below are six tips for staying sane whilst staying in.

1. Taking breaks in nature where possible

I don’t know if it’s something to do with fewer people and less traffic outside, but I’ve been noticing a lot more birdsong on the few occasions I’ve ventured outside. Connecting to nature and taking breaks outside are essential for keeping some semblance of normality, so make the most of those permitted exercise moments!

2. Staying connected

Now is a great time to make the most of technology and its ability to keep us connected. I’ve found daily face-to-face check-ins to be invaluable during working hours and virtual pub trips to be almost as good as the real thing outside of it. If you hate the sound of silence, Coffitivity is an amazing way to stay productive and transports you with the sounds of a coffee shop.

3. Structuring your day

One thing I find helpful when staring my to do list in the face is to break both my upcoming tasks and my time into small bits. Forest is a great way to stay present and focused, and is a nice way to break up time. You can set a time (I usually set 50 minutes and take 10 minute breaks), in which your tree will begin to grow. If you unlock your phone screen you will kill the tree, so it will make you think twice about checking social media again!

4. Bringing the outside in

One sure-fire way to cheer myself up is to surround myself with colourful things. Plants and flowers bring the colours and brightness of the outside in, and are so important when going outside isn’t always possible. Daffodils are a cheap way to boost your mood and are lovely to stare at whilst working from home!

5. Protecting your mental health

AnxietyUK suggests practising the APPLE technique to deal with anxiety and worries.

Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.
Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.

6. Communicating your needs during stressful times

A lot of us have found ourselves sharing our space with others more than ever before, and communication has never been more important. Non-violent communication is a great resource for when frustration arises:

1. Observation: describe the situation without evaluation
2. Feelings: say what you feel
3. Needs: state your needs
4. Requests: ask for a specific, do-able action

If working from home is getting you down, why not get involved in volunteering in your local area? Check out our guide for how and where to volunteer during the Covid-19 crisis.

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