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Protecting Your Mental Health in These Difficult Times

As all of you are probably aware, these are strange and unprecedented times for everyone. As a result of the nation-wide self-isolation which came into effect on the 23rd of March, we’re all either working from home, self-isolating, or working to keep the country running. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that we all look after ourselves, not just physically, but mentally too. With that in mind, here at London Holistic Dental Centre we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways you can protect your mental health over this period of uncertainty:

  1. Give yourself space from the news cycle- In this age of social media and the 24-hour news cycle, it’s nigh-impossible to avoid news about COVID-19. Obviously, it’s important to stay informed, but not to the detriment of your mental health- checking the news apps on your phone every five minutes will only increase feelings of anxiety and stress. To combat this, try turning off notifications or even deleting unneeded apps-in addition, you can also download apps such as Offtime, which allow you to block certain apps for periods of time. Checking the news once in the morning and once in the evening will ensure you are kept up to date with developments without feeling overwhelmed. With this in mind, try not to take the word of Karen on Facebook as gospel- any news or advice you read should come from trusted and reliable sources like the NHS or UK Government websites.
  1. Keep up your routines- If you’re not used to working from home for long periods of time, it can be quite difficult to adjust to a new way of getting your job done. For those of us who see home and work lives as very different spheres, a change to this extent can be detrimental to our mental health. Try to treat your working day like any other- get up in good time before you start work, shower, get dressed, take regular breaks throughout the day and eat properly. Keep your workspace clear and clutter-free (as much as possible). If you live with a partner, devise a workable way of setting effective boundaries so that you both know when it’s time to work vs play. Obviously, this is more difficult if you have children! Another routine you should be keeping up is your oral health routine- now is not the time to neglect your teeth, so make sure you’re still brushing twice a day.
  1. Stay Active- Our physical and mental health and undeniably linked, so it’s important to stay active, even if we don’t feel like it! Make sure you’re making the most of your daily exercise excursions into the outside world- a short walk, run or cycle will do wonders for your mental health. However, if running outdoors isn’t your thing, there are lots of ways you can stay active from the comfort of your own home. YouTube has plenty of yoga sessions and workout videos you can follow along to, just be sure to leave enough space for yourself to avoid injury!
  1. Eat well, stay hydrated- Diet is also an important factor in protecting your mental health. When you’re stuck at home all day it can be easy to sit on the sofa where it’s comfortable, eat unbalanced meals and snack- so it’s imperative that you continue to eat a balanced, healthy diet. Staying hydrated can also work wonders for your mental health, so drink plenty of water throughout the day. Planning meals for the week will ensure that your diet stays healthy and being organised in this way will also limit the amount of time you (or others) will have to spend in a supermarket.
  1. Manage your space- Most of us will likely be spending a lot of time at home in the weeks to come, so this can be a great opportunity to take care of your immediate environment. Tidy up, do a spring clean, move furniture around- anything as long as it makes you feel in control of your space. Although we shouldn’t be wandering aimlessly outside, you can still bring nature into your life- throw those windows open, or make the most of your garden (if you have one).

For the safety of everybody, we should all be staying indoors at the moment, but that doesn’t mean our mental health should suffer. We hope this list has been helpful, and that all of our patients are healthy and safe during these difficult times.