We have all heard the words Covid-19 or Corona Virus and hear the term self-isolation repeated over and over again, through conversations with friends and family, and through the media. But what does this mean?

The outbreak of the Corona virus 2019 (Covid-19) is affecting everyone in different ways. Resulting in an increase in stress and anxiety levels, as we all try and make sense about what this means to us individually, and also to our friends and family who we are concerned about.

Self-isolation is about protecting ourselves, and helping to slow down the spread of the disease.

The recommendations currently are that if you are considering self-isolation that this means for a period of 14 days. This means remaining indoors in your own home and avoiding contact with other people.

Self-isolation is a necessary measure for public health, but can have a detrimental impact on your own mental health. Spending long periods of time alone, feeling trapped can heighten feelings of loneliness, and therefore sadness and depression.

So what can help during your period of self-isolation?

1. Implement a new regular routine, ensuring you get up at the same time each morning, go to bed at the same time each night and schedule regular meal times throughout the day

2. Minimise watching, reading or researching the news, limiting yourself to updates twice daily (The constant stream of news reports can increase anxiety)

3. Stay connected to friends and family as much as possible using phone, text, and Skype or other social media apps

4. Ensure you spend some time during the day outside, in a private outside space to get some fresh air, to also help reduce the feelings of claustrophobia

5. Ensure you to continue to access support if you have existing mental health issues, or feel you are experiencing increased stress or levels of anxiety whilst self-isolating

(Therapy Centre Services are offering telephone counselling sessions as an alternative to face to face appointments)

Many will see self-isolation as a separation from family, friends, society and from their normal day to day routine. This can also provide lots of opportunities to spend time doing things your normal day to day life on the ‘treadmill’ doesn’t allow. Turning this time into isolation into a time to do something you wouldn’t normally have time for, to take up a new hobby, or learn a new skill.

50 things you can do during self-isolation

1. Keep a ‘quarantine’ diary / blog

2. Write a ‘bucket list’ of 50 things you want to do when you are out of self-isolation

3. Join an online book club

4. Use private outdoor space to have access to fresh air

5. Use online videos to enjoy home workouts / keep fit / yoga or other exercise classes

6. Learn a new dance, using YouTube or just get moving to music

7. Get your cookbooks out and bake a cake or some cookies

8. Register for an online training course

9. Watch some films or TV box sets, or get recommendations from friends on what they are watching on Netflix

10. Spring clean your cupboards

11. Write a letter to a loved one or someone you care about

12. Choose 5 people you haven’t heard from for a while and send them a text message or Whatsapp message

13. Arrange group video chat sessions with your friends, get them booked in the diary

14. Read a book or download an audio book

15. Go through your wardrobe and list 3 items you don’t want anymore on Facebook Marketplace / Ebay or other online sites

16. Download some online games, and encourage your friends to download them too, and take part in online challenges together

17. Learn how to knit or crochet

18. Make or review your finances, budgets and savings plans

19. Use Comparethemarket or other similar websites to review bills and household goings

20. Go through your food cupboards and check expiry dates and reorganise using the oldest food first

21. Listen to Podcasts

22. Do a crossword or Soduku to challenge the mind

23. Learn a new language

24. Play board games

25. Play a musical instrument, or learn a new piece of music

26. Complete a puzzle

27. Have a Spa afternoon, have a bath, use a face mask, give yourself a manicure

28. Learn calligraphy

29. Use YouTube to learn a new skill or technique

30. Play board games

31. Colouring

32. Take time to reflect – what have you achieved over the last year, what are your future goals

33. Write a short story or start writing a novel

34. Spend some time on household maintenance, all those jobs we put off as we don’t have time!

35. Organise all of your photos on your phone or make a Photobook

36. Rearrange all your furniture, make your home feel like a different space

37. Write a list of all your friends and family and the gifts you want to buy them for Christmas this year

38. Play on a games console (e.g. Nintendo, Playstation or Xbox)

39. Create a ‘Mind Map’ (to capture the thinking going on in your head)

40. Clean up your emails

41. Make and install a bird feeder

42. Play with your pets

43. Do some work in your garden / private outside space

44. Upcycle something in your house

45. Learn how to draw / paint

46. Learn how to make soap or scented candles

47. Make greeting cards

48. Trace your ancestry, spend time talking to family and go through photo albums

49. Do the housework

50. Sleep…get lots of it, time to rest and recharge

We hope this blog has been useful and if you want any support please self-refer yourself for Telephone Counselling sessions by contacting us on 07895 796857 or completing our self referral form

We are here for anyone who wants to access Mental Health support during a period of self-isolation

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Do you ever find yourself sometimes thinking or feeling differently, perhaps in different situations or with different people? Or perhaps when you are with family, parents or with people in a position of authority.

So what happened there? You’ve suddenly found yourself behaving, acting or thinking in a different way, so different from a few moments ago.

Now feeling sure if in that moment you are an adult, back feeling like you did as a teenager or perhaps in a child state?

As an adult you have grown up with your own likes and dislikes, wants and wishes and thoughts and feelings that feel real to you. As an adult you are very clear about who you are, you can be open with others, loving and non-defensive. You are clear about your values and morals, and if something happens that questions these, you are able to stay grounded, in the present.

However in this moment, something has changed. Could your child self, or teenage self have resurfaced?

The child, who is very dependant on others, and behaves in a way which gains responses and love from others around us. For example, a child who claps and gets a massive round of applause and smiles from their parents, will repeat the clap again to gain the approval and response from those around them again. The child can give love to others, and gains love from those around them, and is able to express tears, tantrums, and emotions naturally. All the time however, seeking approval and positive responses from caregivers around them.

The teenager however finds it harder to express these thoughts and feelings freely, and often feels unheard. Transitioning from a dependant child to an independent adult, we find ourselves in a more complicated state. Sometimes our feelings do not feel heard or understood, and instead of seeing positive responses from others, we are more likely to withdraw, to emotionally withdraw feeling panicked, frightened and alone, confused about how to connect with others without fear. The psyche protects itself by withdrawing.

This is a dangerous place for the teenager who might struggle to have healthy relationships with others, taking out frustrations and anger on those around us, or withdrawing, spending time alone, overeating, developing dependencies on food, drink or in gaming, school work or other activities.

It is useful to reflect on the different situations you find yourself in, and what the triggers are that change the way you feel. Some examples of these are below;

- In a business meeting you are normally confident, able to speak openly and communicate clearly with others. However a position of authority attends the meeting and you suddenly feel anxious, frightened and withdrawn

- When visiting parents or family, you are sat around the dinner table and you either find yourself trying to please others, to gain approval (child-self) or you feel withdrawn, unheard and unable to express your thoughts and feelings (teenage-self)

If this resonates with you and you find yourself quite often getting stuck in either trying to gain approval by others, trying to behave so others will like you or approve of you, or alternatively you find yourself in situations where you don’t feel able to express yourself, where you feel that you withdraw and struggle with strong feelings and emotions this might be the time to seek out therapy.

Counselling can help you to explore when you are getting stuck in your child-self or teenage-self so that you can work towards developing strategies to help keep you in your adult-self as much as possible, and in these situations, as quickly as possible.

Contact us today to book an appointment.

#counselling #mentalhealth #selfcare

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