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How To Care For Your Mental Health Whilst Self Isolating At Christmas

Joanna Clare

This time last year, many of us couldn't imagine that a similar scenario would be playing out yet again, a year later.

However you may have celebrated Christmas, last year was definitely different for everyone because of the pandemic but here we are again with restrictions being introduced once more.

At the time of writing, the latest variant that appears to be particularly rampant is already sweeping through the country. We are wearing face masks in public places and those of us who can work from home are being asked to do so.

Christmas is almost upon us and of course with Christmas, comes much preparation, planning and anticipation. We are inundated by all forms of media to have the most perfect day ~ we are made to feel failures if everything does not go to our exacting plan ~ but real life for real people is not like this. People will squabble, arguments will be had, annoying relatives will invariably say the wrong thing, presents will not be appreciated and roast potatoes will be burnt to a crisp. Add to this explosive mixture, succumbing to the coronavirus and no one could blame you for feeling totally overwhelmed and mentally fatigued.

If you do become ill and have to self isolate there are one of two different scenarios that you will find yourself in which are either you are self isolating alone or you are self isolating with others in your household and both have their difficulties so here are some suggestions to make life easier for yourself.

Put yourself first. Your own wellbeing is paramount.Remember it is you that is feeling ill and self isolating is a legal requirement so if it means having to reschedule Christmas or change plans then so be it.

The Covid 19 app, which you can use to register your positive result on, has a lot of practical information such as how to self isolate and what to do if you need help with shopping, dog walking, collection of medication etc. Your local council website should also have similar accessible information.

There are a huge number of  NHS Volunteer Responders who are more than happy to help, even over Christmas with all aspects of day to day living, should you need assistance.

The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a week and are just a phone call or an email away and are there for everyone who needs someone.

If you need to sleep, then do sleep and rest when you can. Poor sleep can negatively impact your mental health and your body will tell you what it needs in order to recover and it's more important than ever to listen to what your body tells you.

Eat well and stay hydrated. What we eat can also affect our mental health and some food has been proven to make us feel better. A mediterranean style diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, olive oils, fish, garlic and cereals and grains can help us feel well.

A simple hygiene routine will work wonders for how you feel even when you are feeling rough, so take a few minutes to ensure you clean your teeth, wash, brush your hair and change into some fresh clothes ( even if it's simply pyjamas or loungewear). Fresh scents have been proven to raise your mood.

Try not to worry about work whilst you are ill. Your employer will be aware of your illness and there should be no expectations placed upon you at this time.

Use this time wisely and declutter your mind by keeping phones and computers at a minimum. Read books, watch films, try meditations and mindfulness techniques designed to relax.

Make use of  the many delivery services whether it be food shopping or last minute gifts- all can be left on your doorstep or in a safe place.

Even if you can not get outside, open your curtains, listen to the birds, watch the cloud formations and notice the last of the leaves fall from the trees. Nature is a wonderful healer and can help to put things into perspective.

Christmas will be soon forgotten and so will your self isolation. If you feel guilty that you should have or could have done anything differently this Christmas, release the guilt because no one can help feeling unwell and...there's always next year!

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