HÖRFA Marketing Director, Tim Rickson, attempts to offer ideas to help ward off mental health issues during isolation:
Frustrated, lonely, besieged, overwhelmed, concerned… we are all feeling a blur of emotions at the moment, but some of us it affects far more than others.
Whilst we are all in this together – ‘in’ being the operative word – not all of us are coping the same.
I’m very lucky to be surrounded by family – my wife and two children. I can’t begin to imagine how lonely it must be for people that live alone or have been forced to isolate.
So, here’s a few ideas I’ve come up with to try to help anyone that isn’t managing to get by easily each day. I hope that any of these suggestions, even if it’s just one, will work for you.
Keep to a Routine
I know it sounds a bit strict but laying around is not going to do anyone’s health – physical or mental – any good at all. Set your alarm in the morning, get washed, dressed and fed all before 9am, and then you’ve got the whole day ahead of you to be productive.
If you wake up mid-morning, then you might feel like you haven’t got enough time left to do that thing you had planned for today. Why not put your work alarm back an hour, so rather than jumping up at your normal time of 7am, ease yourself out of bed at 8am instead.
You have to think of this self-isolation/social distancing as a temporary prison term. That sounds terrible but stay with me here… some offenders come out of a prison term with qualifications or other new skills.
There’s time now to learn that new language (we recommend the app, Duolingo), do an online learning course with the Open University, learn to play an instrument (try Skoove)… you get the idea. How cool would it be, after all this is over, to all of a sudden be speaking Spanish! That’ll surprise a few people!
It’s Good to Talk
Remember the old BT adverts with Bob Hoskins? Then, you’re as old as I am!
Now is the perfect time to phone a friend. I’m sure you’re keeping in touch with family and close friends already, but this is the perfect moment to reconnect with an old school friend, ex-work colleague, college buddy, or just someone you haven’t spoken to in 10 years or more.
Use the Houseparty app to ring up a whole group – old flatmates; reunite the group from your memorable lad’s holiday; gather up your best man and ushers from your wedding; or what about your fellow football fans to discuss the beautiful game.
There’ll be no awkwardness, regardless of how long it’s been or how unusual it is for you to be getting back in touch after an extended time. Any other time may have felt strange, but right now, everyone will be very appreciative of the thought.
There’s lots of challenges circulating across social media at the moment. Get involved in a few of them, they’re fun and engaging and you can learn new things about people you know.
For example, there’s this 30 Day Song Challenge:
Learn photography. If you have a decent camera, then great! Dust it off and get it warmed up. If not, then use your phone and discover all the different features you can work with, there’ll be lots of things you didn’t even know you could do. Work on your close ups, figure out aperture and your lightroom skills, take pics of nature in the garden, the evening sky, even a nicely set up shot of your morning coffee. Have a go, get creative and learn a new artistic skill.
There’s lots of websites you can join to show off your work and could even end up selling some of your snaps if you’re good enough. Maybe get a few prints done for yourself and proudly display around your home.
Worship the Sun
If you are lucky enough to have a garden then spend plenty of time in it, especially when that Spring sun is out. Sunbathe, do the gardening, dine al fresco, or just sit for a while to enjoy your coffee more.
If you’re not so fortunate to have an outdoor retreat, then maybe you might have a nice view that you can enjoy instead. Place a chair by that picturesque place and appreciate it. You could even bring the outdoors in by purchasing a few pot plants online.
Read more about the many benefits of the sun: https://horfawear.com/blogs/highendmensfashion/sun-worshipping
Exercise releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It’s hard to get motivated to do a workout, even with all this extra time on our hands, so when you wake up put on your workout gear so you’re ready to go at any time.
HIIT workouts are great because you can cram your exercise into a short space of time with maximum results. Plus, you don’t need any equipment or weights.
Personally, I do 18 exercises for a minute each with a 15 seconds rest in in between, which is the minimal amount of time to take out of your day. Create your own workout routine tailored to you, or just download an app or find a workout on YouTube. Those 20 minutes per day will guarantee you get fit, feel good, and enjoy a better night’s sleep.
Become a Regular Reader
Brain stimulating activities, like reading, have been proven to ward of mental health decline and conditions. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression.
Turn into a Money Saving Expert
Go through your finances and cut a few of your many outgoings. There’s bound to be an old subscription to something you no longer require that you can save money on. You’re going to need the extra cash during these unfamiliar times when life, work and earnings are all temporarily on hold.
Once you’ve cut a few costs, then start shaving money off your existing bills. Call up Sky or BT and ask for a reduction or a better deal.
Any sort of financial gain could lessen anxiety or money worries.
Go get your boots, shoes, trainers and anything else lying around and give it shine. Trainers always need whitening, shoes are given a new lease of life with a polish, plus it makes you fell good seeing your footwear sparkle.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
With all the panic-buying leaving supermarket shelves empty, there’s no better time to turn celebrity chef and get inventive in the kitchen.
I found a recipe for using up stale bread where you simply tear it up into the bottom of a baking dish, scatter over some ham, tomatoes, onions, then whisk eggs and cream and pour over the lot, before sprinkling cheese over the top. Bake for 20 minutes or so and you’ve got a nice meal that uses up a load of leftover stuff just lying around that would have otherwise been binned!
Have a go, it’ll be like being on Ready, Steady, Cook with Rylan!
Go into your wardrobe and get rid of all those clothes you haven’t worn for over a year. You clearly don’t need it anymore. Either bag it up and give away to charity, or take pics and sell on eBay where you could even make yourself a few quid.
Then go around the rest of the house with the same intention. Declutter, tidy up, and get organised. It’ll kill time, give an amazing result when finished, allows you to feel productive, active and in control.
There’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus… sign up to one and spend the evening after a productive day just kicking back and getting lost in a film or a series.
Allow yourself to relax and unwind and let your thoughts and anxieties drift away from you. It’s a great way to clear your mind to guarantee a nice night’s sleep.
If you’ve got any good film or box sets recommendations, then leave a comment below.
Music can really affect our moods, so put some feel-good tunes on the iPod or Echo - whatever you have at home. If you do subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music type libraries then this is a great time to expand your music collection and knowledge. Try to listen to a different artist each day and you may discover a new favourite.
Listening to the radio is also great background noise to have playing, with it's mix of music and talk. Tuning in to hear the same DJ's every day can you make you feel included and unlonely. Podcasts can have the same effect too, and there's no shortage of them at the moment! You could even start your own!
Be of Service
There’s no better way to feel good about yourself by doing a good deed for someone else.
Give yourself a sense of purpose by offering to help others who need a bit of care and assistance during this difficult time. You can find organisations online that require volunteers right now and you can be sure they will have everything in place for you to remain safe whilst doing your bit.
Or of you know of an elderly neighbour or anyone vulnerable then get in touch and see if there’s anything you can do for them.
Although every penny counts at the moment, buying yourself a little something will also boost your morale and self-esteem. If you’re used to buying, say, four new items of clothing per month, then maybe cut it down by half during these indigent times. Perhaps you could give yourself a reward for getting through another week in lockdown, or for ticking off that job that’s needed doing for months.
Receiving that parcel through the post in a few days time could really brighten your day.
On behalf of myself and HÖRFA, please stay home, stay safe and try keep yourself in a positive state of mind. If you feel down, reach out to someone. Don’t ever suffer in silence.