We are all going to need to be mindful of our physical and emotional health and well-being each day during the pandemic, more so if you are also caring for others. 

It’s very important that we keep in touch with friends and family during this pandemic.  Simple things like setting up a telephone rota to make sure we make regular contact can make a difference for those living on their own or are feeling isolated.  There are lots of technology aids such as WhatsApp or Messenger which allows multiple people to communicate together, so consider setting up a family or friend group chat.  Regular video calls using FaceTime or Zoom (others are available) can be a fun and cheap way to keep in touch with loved ones. 

Connect

There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting well-being and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.

  • Talk to someone by phone instead of texting
  • Speak to someone you haven't spoken to for a long time
  • Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
  • Email or text a colleague from work and ask how they are coping with working from home

Try to link this action with other actions in the Five Ways to Wellbeing, e.g. Connect with others while doing an exercise class (Be Active).

Read about connecting online.  If you need any help to get connected virtually online please get in touch by call the team on 028 90 650 650 or email: [email protected]

Be active

Being active for one hour is just 4% of your day!

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.

But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:

  • Take the stairs 
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime
  • Walk with someone of your household – so you can ‘connect’ as well
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
  • Walk the dog
  • Have a kick-about in your garden
  • Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching
  • Housework and gardening are both exerting

Try to link this action with other actions in the Five Ways to Well-being eg Be Active while Learning something new in a new fitness class you have not tried before.

Learn

Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.

The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of well-being.

Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:

  • Find out something about your work colleagues
  • Sign up for a class
  • Read a book from your bucket list
  • Even set up a book club
  • Do a crossword or Sudoku
  • Research something you’ve always wondered about
  • Learn a new word
  • Revisit an old activity

Try to link this action in the Five Ways to Well-being. For example, keep learning while connecting with others, ask a friend to join a course with you, try a new fitness class to be active, take notice of how you are progressing at your new skill.

Take notice

Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.  

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.

Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Get a plant for your home
  • Take pictures of your lock-down experience
  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Take notice of how your family and colleagues are feeling or acting
  • After lock-down take a different route on your journey to or from work
  • Have a session of 'Meditation for Strength' with our Carer Advocate, Moira Harper YFNI Tutor  YTI Tutor & Assessor

     

Try to link this action with other actions in the Five Ways to Well-being. For example, take notice when you are walking, or take notice of how the people you connect with are doing.

Give

Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of well-being research.  So get online during lock-down and give your time to others - giving is receiving!

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in well-being.

Tips for Giving

  • Thank someone for something they have done for you
  • Ask a colleague to join you for an online virtual lunch or a coffee
  • Offer to help a family member or  household friend with a DIY project
  • Help someone who might be in need
  • Contact us for more information about volunteering opportunities 
  • Get fundraising for CAUSE we need your support 
  • Donate to CAUSE

If you would like to support CAUSE,  call Anne for a chat on 028 90 650 650 or email: [email protected]

These links have some useful tips and advice on looking after your well-being:

Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing

www.nidirect.gov.uk - taking care of your mental health and wellbeing 

www.gov.uk - looking after your mental wellbeing

www.carersuk.org - looking after your mental wellbeing

www.rcot.co.uk/staying-well-when-social-distancing

www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

WHO - mental health considerations (pdf)

How to protect your mental health