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Want to stay sharp mentally during a lockdown? Here are some ideas on how you do this!

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

All too often, we fear that putting ourselves first might be seen as being self-indulgent. Self-care enables us not only to feel happier but to be a better person. Give yourself mindful acts of kindness towards yourself, especially when folks ask too much of you.

PRIORITISE SLEEP

There has never been a better time to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day to allow your body clock to sync up. Sleep is so critical for so many parts of our body and our mind. Therefore try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even when you don’t have to. While sleep requirements vary slightly from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.

DEVELOP A POSITIVE MINDSET

Attitude is a choice, so don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.

KEEP TO A SCHEDULE

There has never been a better reason to structure your day; otherwise, the days will morph into one, so keep to a regular schedule as much as possible. Schedule with 30-minute chunks and tick off tasks each day. Keeping to a plan will help you to feel like you are being proactive about the situation. Only do this from Monday to Friday to keep weekdays and weekends separate, having free rein at the weekends.

HOME EXERCISE

It’s more important to exercise while you’re socially isolated, as physical fitness is closely linked to mental health. What with all the free exercise apps, the opportunities to use from your own home are almost unlimited. Studies have found that 10 mins of activity boost connectivity between parts of the brain responsible for memory creation and recall. However old you are, you can still reap the benefits of becoming fitter. And fitness is more important as you age, not less.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

Learning is essential to our existence. Just like food nourishes our bodies, information, and continued learning nourishes our minds. Courses or leaning a new craft like woodwork or sewing will keep your mind active, inspire you to stay busy, and broaden your mind and skill set while isolating at home. There are lots of free online courses during the lockdown, so take advantage of them while you have the time.

https://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full-catalogue

GET IN TOUCH WITH NATURE

Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of wildlife, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exploring nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. Download a free nature screensaver, go for a walk, prune the garden, or paint a nature scene.

LOSE YOURSELF IN A BOOK OR MAGAZINE

When we read, not only are we improving memory and empathy, but research has shown that it makes us feel better and more positive too. Science has shown that reading has some amazing health benefits, including helping with depression, cutting stress, and reducing the chances of developing Alzheimer’s later in life. It will also leave you feeling relaxed and happy.

COMBAT LONELINESS AND SOCIAL ISOLATION

Try to find ways to connect with others to build your sense of belonging. There are lots of ways to stay connected while in isolation: WhatsApp Video, Facetime, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Zoom, or House Party. Call Mum, Dad, or your Nan, as they will be feeling lonely too, and it will make you feel good that you have brightened their day.

STRENGTHEN YOUR BRAIN

Focusing on your brain health is one of the best things you can do to improve your concentration, focus, memory, and mental agility, no matter what age you are. You could solve a jigsaw puzzle, play memory games, play cards, do a crossword puzzle, or play board games.

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE

Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Watch a funny movie, goof around with the children, play with a pet, or do something silly.

MEDITATE FROM 3 – 30 MINUTES

Meditation improves a wide range of willpower skills, including attention, focus, stress management, impulse control, and self-awareness. It changes both the function and structure of the brain to support self-control. Download Free Meditation Apps, Insight Timer, or Ten Percent Happier are excellent Apps.

HOME COOKING AND BAKING

Cook up a feast from your lockdown larder. With a strict meal planner and inventive recipes, you and your family can eat healthily and happily for two weeks without a single trip to the shops. Preparing healthy meals at home can support your immune system and reduce the risk of illnesses. It can give you more energy, improve how you sleep at night, and help you better manage health problems.

TACKLE YOUR WARDROBE

Devote your new-found time and attention to sorting out your clothes; declutter your home, ditching items you haven’t worn for twelve months and co-ordinating clothes into sections. Put your items into categories such as tops with tops and trousers with trousers, and so on. You will find yourself getting inspired by new outfits and reviving old favourites, by treating your favourite pieces to an upcycle to give them a fresh new look. And if an item of clothing doesn’t ‘spark joy,’ ditch it.

BEAUTY AND GROOMING AT HOME

How often do you have time to practice the things that you struggle with when it comes to your beauty or grooming routine? Whether it’s trying a different blow-dry, sorting out those eyebrows, doing the perfect eyeliner flick, or applying false lashes, now’s the time to become an expert. Sometimes it’s the small things in life that make us feel better, with giving yourself a manicure or pedicure being right up there.

LISTEN TO MUSIC

Listening to music can smooth your mood or blast out some of your favourite tunes. William James once said, “I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.

TRY YOUR HAND AT DIY

DIY at home can relieve stress and reduces anxiety. A manual DIY task that is completed gives enormous satisfaction. Think of how good you will feel, finally getting round to putting up that shelf, figuring out how to build that wardrobe, or paint that wall that had been staring at you for months.

https://www.housebeautiful.com/home-remodeling/diy-projects/how-to/g1624/diy-solutions-easier-life/

GET YOUR PHOTOS IN ORDER

Do you have bins and drawers full of photos from years ago? Do you regularly get a “full storage” message on your phone because you’ve never downloaded hundreds of pictures? Does it take you longer than it should find that one particular picture? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then now is the time to gather them and put them all in order in one place. Looking at old photographs brings back memories and makes us feel nostalgic; it is like a time machine bringing us to the time and places where we can see and feel everything in detail.

WHATEVER YOU DO, TRY TO DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY EVERY DAY!

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