Coronavirus: How to look after your mental health during furlough

If you’re a charity worker who has been furloughed following the coronavirus outbreak, you may find yourself experiencing feelings and emotions that you may not have necessarily felt before.

The pandemic has led to increased levels of stress and anxiety in individuals and it’s important now, more than ever, to look after your emotional health and wellbeing. Take care of yourself with these top tips:

Consider how to connect with others

We are physically distancing – not socially distancing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person – connecting with old friends in this way is great too.

Talk about your worries

It is quite common to feel worried or anxious about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too. Sometimes you just need to talk about your feelings with no real plan for a solution.

Look after your physical wellbeing

Your physical health has a big impact on how you are feeling emotionally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour, which in turn can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day.

Think about your new daily routine

Life has changed for us all. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – include time to engage in activities such as reading and exercise and do things you enjoy to boost your mood. It’s a great time to learn something new. Try out a new hobby or simply take time to relax. If you can, get outside once a day or bring nature in. Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside much, you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open letting in fresh air and natural sunlight, or by going out into the garden if you can.

You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week and give yourself things to look forward to.

Limit your use of social media

It's important to use social media to connect with others but limit its use if you feel that it increases your anxiety. Only read or watch news reports from reliable sources. There's a lot of misinformation being shared at the moment.

If you need support with your mental health, you can use our new and free service, Talk2Us, by phoning 0800 059 0123 Monday-Friday between 9am & 5pm and Saturday-Sunday between 5pm & 8pm, or you can message us through Facebook or via our website: www.kaleidoscopeplus.org.uk.

Take care and stay safe.

Monica Shafaq is the CEO of The Kaleidoscope Plus Group.

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