As new advice rolls in from the Government each evening, more and more of us are attempting social isolation, or going into self-isolation for periods stretching from seven days to several months.
It is an unprecedented and highly unusual time, and people have been sharing their best tips on how to keep mental health up and positive whilst we move through this.
Robert Jackson, director of the Manchester branch of the Samaritans told us:
“Staying connected to people you care about is essential. Trying to find new ways to communicate that allow you to really listen to each other on a human level helps enormously.”
“I recommend things like FaceTime, Skype and talking on the phone over social media. These allow language to flourish so we can express our feelings. Being heard by another person is one of the most healing and empowering experiences and of course, helping and hearing other people improves our own well-being, too.”
The Samaritans are running a reduced number of staff but are intent to stay open for the duration of the crisis to help those who need it.
Learning and Development specialist Sally Pearman gave Student Problems her top three tips on staying social during isolation. She said:
“I have three key pieces of advise for people who are social distancing. Firstly, create a WhatsApp group for workplace gossip: for most of us socialising with our colleagues and having a gossip and a laugh is a big part of our working identity.”
“It’s what makes going into work a joy and now being on our own can feel isolating and a bit clinical. Create the group with your friends from work, share the conversations you would usually have, share memes talk about how you’re feeling. This isn’t about ‘getting stuff done’ it’s about being happy and maintaining that community and friendship.”
“Also, create some positive daily habits: craving routine is normal and when things feel so up in the air creating some structure to your days at home can be really helpful. That might be having a regular time that you get up and a set space where you do work. A playlist that helps you switch to work mode (I love Coffee Shop on Spotify). A regular check-in time with colleagues on the phone or via FaceTime – you can do a virtual tea break so you’ve all got your coffees and biscuits at the ready.”
She also warned to be mindful of taking care of others emotions.
“Finally, be mindful of demonising feelings or reactions: we are all individuals and the way we feel and react during this time will be very personal and there’s no ‘right way’ to do it. If being busy is important for your wellbeing then crack on, take on those projects, do that filing, update your LinkedIn. For others, the need for community and support will be important – if you need a daily check-in with your manager it is important you give voice to that. If you are frightened, overwhelmed, anxious – know that it is absolutely normal to feel that way. Prioritise your self-care, set alarm reminders to take breaks, limit your exposure to the news.”
Podcaster and writer Tolly T has shared the following advice on Twitter:
One of my closest friends is a psychologist and she knows that self isolation would literally ruin my mental health, so she sent me some tips, might be useful for you lot. x pic.twitter.com/deO1PXJtYYó Tolly (@tolly_t) March 13, 2020
If you have been affected by any of the issues touched upon in this article, the Samaritans hotline number is 0330 094 5717 and is free to call. If you know or suspect somebody to be in immediate danger, contact 999.
You can reach the Samaritans on Twitter at @samaritans
Featured image credit: UnSplash