By modefor, Apr 4 2020 09:56AM
As we prepare to enter week three of the COVID-19 lockdown here in the UK, some people have settled into a new routine nicely, whilst others are struggling to mentally deal with the constraints of isolation and the lack of freedom.
That mood swing, that moment of judgement of the words or actions of someone else when they are actually just supporting others, that feeling of calmness, that moment of frustration? Familiar? Let me introduce you to your mental health.
We all have mental health; that is something that connects us all and now, more than ever our feelings and emotions will be constantly fluctuating and that will have a direct correlation to the positioning on our personal mental health continuum, which will be ever changing, but there are things we can do to support our own mental health.
This week, one of the best things we can do is get involved with some of the amazing free events both on and off-line which can support our mental health by giving our mood a boost, getting us moving and making us part of a fun and appreciative group of likeminded people.
Here’s a suggestion of five things you can plan and do for free next week to support your mental health during week three of lockdown.
1. The Virtual Piano Bar
Monday to Saturday evenings from 6-8pm you can join the incredible professional pianist Nigel Wears in his Virtual Piano Bar, direct from his home!
Music has huge positive benefits on wellbeing and this is two hours of incredible piano playing and sing-a-longs of popular melodies, complete with lyrics if you need them and you can make requests.
The regular clientele are warm and welcoming and the ambience is laid back, easy going and a great break from the reality of the outside world with lots of easy going chat and ‘happy banter’.
You can drop Nigel a few pounds in his virtual tip jar to show your appreciation as you would if you were in a real piano bar, and if you join on Tuesday nights you can be part of some amazing charity fundraising too, which, in the last two weeks has raised nearly £700 for two charities, the Salvation Army Foodbank and the NHS frontline staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals via the charity Leeds Cares.
The next charity nights are Tuesday 7th and 14th
Nigel is not only a first-class musician but an incredibly generous and kind-hearted soul and his music will entertain you and send your mind some much needed calming vibes.
Check out (and like) his page, schedule the date in your diary and join the musical fun at: www.facebook.com/nigelwearspianist
2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Assuming you’re not showing signs of any COVID-19 symptoms or physically struggling in any other way (in which case please take stringent self-isolation measures and stay safe and protect others too), you are possibly taking your regular daily constitutional around your local area (and please stay local).
Whilst out and about, take the opportunity to look up and around and spot some of the thousands of pictures of rainbows which have been placed in windows for people to enjoy.
A sign of hope and solidarity, they bring a smile to your face.
Why don’t you get your colouring pencils out too and find your inner artist to add to the joy for other people. The process of drawing is a good therapy and bringing a smile to someone else’s face is definitely gratifying and good for the soul.
3. Word Power
Books and reading are a huge boost for mental wellbeing. Whether it’s a good novel, autobiography or self-help manual, books can give us the words and boost our mind needs.
The audiobook platform Audible has said that, for as long as schools are shut, anyone can listen to a vast range of audiobooks for free so you can get yourself some good titles there without having to turn a page!
Also, if you tap into Amazon ‘free Kindle books’ you’ll find some free titles for Kindle.
Why not get together with friends online via Zoom, WhattsApp or Houseparty and set-up a book club where you all read or listen to the same book and then chat about it.
Even better, get creative, get writing and find your inner storyteller. As a breed, humans have always historically been storytellers. Put your stories on the page and bring them to life for yourself and others to enjoy.
4. Games Night!
A good thing that has come out of the COVID-19 lockdown is the increase in positive online social communication, whereby family and friends who live near and far apart are hooking-up online to hang out, chat and make sure they feel socially connected.
You don’t just need to limit your online sessions to chat though; you can turn it into a games night!
Quizzes and karaoke work well, as do board games such as Trivial Pursuit or other trivia games to give your mind a little work out.
If you’re a fan of the mildly inappropriate and often play Cards Against Humanity then you can check out this version called ‘Remote Insensitivity’ which you can play online with friends at http://playingcards.io/game/remote-insensitivity
Anything that brings a feeling of social connection and an opportunity for laughter is good for the soul and seeing faces into that bargain gives us a sense of connection and ‘normality.’
5. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!
Trying to keep your own mind in check and entertain the kids? Then why not combine the two on your daily walk?
As well as looking for rainbows, why not keep your eyes open for some bears too?
There’s a nationwide bear hunt on; they’re getting up to all sorts of fun stuff in people’s windows and gardens, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.
Why not pop a bear in your window too to help keep the children (and adults!) entertained?
So, there you have it; five of my suggestions to schedule and try out next week during lockdown that will help support your mental health and wellbeing. There are plenty more ideas though and I could go on for ages with recommendations (such as a day at Chester Zoo, online concerts and music rehearsals, free musicals and more), but just have a little search online yourself or ask a neighbour whilst out on your daily walk (from a safe and acceptable 2m distance of course!).
Whatever you do, make sure you do something every day that supports your mental health and wellbeing and together we will get through this and be stronger for it.
Most importantly, keep communicating, keep talking and keep sharing the highs and the lows. We are all in this together.
Much Love, stay home, stay safe and keep smiling
Ps. If you want something to read then you can download the digital PDF version of my book 'The Three
Ps: Possibility, Productivity & Performance' for just £2.99 at https://sowl.co/g1Fc2 or for something amazing to listen to, download the digital version of the album ‘Lago’ at http://modeforpublishing.com/audio/4594750000. Both are great for the mind and spirit!