5 Things to do for good mental well-being in Isolation Now more than ever, it's essential to not only look after our physical health but our mental health and wellbeing too. Isolation can have a negative impact on mental health, and it can manifest as feelings of irritability, anger, restlessness, boredom, and loneliness. The good news is that there are things you can do to develop strength and resilience through the uncertainty. Implementing a few simple activities that you can do at home, can instantly help you to feel happier and nurture positive and sustainable practices around mental health and wellbeing. Check out our top 5 tips below. Stay Active Exercise is not only good for our physical health; it has positive impacts on our mental health as well. Start out small with just 10 mins of activity each day. A little lounge room fitness is easy and free and breaks no isolation rules. It could be anything from a simple at home workout consisting of push-ups, sit-ups, and lunges, to an easy walk around the block. If you think you need some guidance, there are lots of free online workouts you can follow, that are easily found through a quick google search. Remember, if you’re looking for exercises suitable for your age bracket, make sure you include this in your search query, for example, ‘work out routines for people over 50’. Try to choose exercises suitable for your personal health and fitness status, as well as your taste. Gentle stretching may be suitable for some, while a high energy dance-off might be the only way to burn anxiety for others. Look for stretching, yoga, pilates, barre, hip hop dancing, Zumba and more. Regardless of your age and fitness level; everyone should be moving their bodies and keeping the blood flowing to stay well. Self-improvement There has been some controversy in recent weeks about people ‘wasting’ all the newly found time they had, by not choosing to learn or progress themselves. We all have things we wanted to do, try, learn ‘one day’ and in some strange way, ‘one day’ is now here. However, it’s also a time of stress and trauma for many, so you shouldn’t feel any pressure to be making what others see as ‘good use’ of your time - especially if you’re struggling mentally and emotionally. Self-improvement can be a loaded term, but in the current climate, you could look at it as a daily care strategy. Today you can choose to do something that will improve your mood, your attitude or your perspective, rather than putting pressure on yourself to be better or do better as a human being. One person’s self-improvement might be daily breathing or meditation exercises, while another’s might be learning a language or building a shed. Improve yourself by doing more of the things you like to do, that give you a sense of purpose and wellbeing in the moment. You can take on an ambitious thing to learn if you like, or just enjoy a hobby. Start a giant puzzle, learn to make sourdough, or simply pick up a book and read in a comfy chair in the sunshine. Anything that keeps you mentally alert and engaged (and let’s face it distracted) is improvement enough for now. Limit news and device time It is important to keep up to date on the daily status of isolation requirements, but it seems that every time you switch on the TV, or browse through the news sites, there’s more of the same - doom and gloom and even more uncertainty. Prolonged exposure to information that causes worry or concern can have an adverse effect on your mental health and trigger negative responses such as stress and anxiety. To manage what you have to process each day, choose your key sources of information and check in with them just one or twice through the day. Putting limits in place can help with this - set a time each day to either watch, listen to or read the news and don’t spend more than 10 – 20 minutes doing so. This will help keep stress and anxiety at bay and lead to a better night's sleep. Stay Connected Humans are social creatures, so it's vital to stay connected with your family, friends, and community. If you live alone, ask a few trusted people to check in with you each day so you know others are keeping you in mind. If your mental health deteriorates you may not be inclined to reach out as much, so setting up a support network early will ensure you’re checked on in good times as well as bad. With everyone basically at home, it’s a great time to reach out to an old friend you may have lost contact with through the years. Technology is the one thing that is getting us through right now so upskill yourself if you haven’t already and get on board with video calling platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom, Facetime (iPhones), Facebook Messenger or House Party. If technology isn’t your thing, write some letters to people and put them in a drawer to post when this is all over. And don’t forget about your neighbours! Say hello over your fence or balcony, put a sign up in your common area saying you’re self-isolating and might need supplies and give strangers a friendly wave and a hello if you’re out walking. It’s a strange time, but it’s important to connect to others in any way you can. Nourish your body The old saying, “you are what you eat” rings true in times like these. How we think and feel is directly correlated with what we put in our mouth. This is why reaching for nourishing foods such as fruit, vegetables, and fish is going to be much better for your mental and physical health, then reaching for chocolate or chips. You may have more time for food preparation now so look for some good recipes that use ingredients you can easily source or already have on hand and boost your cooking skills! More importantly though, we are trying to stay well and not get sick right now. Eating healthy foods boosts your immune system, which can help keep colds and flus away, so maintain a balanced diet with good proteins, fruit and veg, nuts and healthy oils. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water!