Lockdown has brought many challenges to households around the country, and it’s not unusual to see parents (or even the kids!) pulling their hair out on social media, asking friends for help or questioning how to home school their children whilst trying to hold down a full time job. Creating a positive mental health environment can be hard. It’s no surprise therefore that during lockdown a lot of people are noticing their mental wellbeing declining.
So how can you build a positive mental health environment at home during lockdown? Here are our top 10 tips:
#1 Problem Solve Together
If someone is worried, work together to find a solution to the problem. Working as a team has many benefits from added support, a sense of belonging and as the whole family has contributed, it’s likely everyone will be happy with the outcome!
#2 Limit The Time You Check The News
Not all news is bad news… but the likelihood is if you have watched it recently it’s probably left you feeling more down than up. Support each other in limiting the time you spend each day checking the news, especially if you find yourself scrolling on your phone all day!
#3 Role Model Positive Behaviours
Try and set a good example for your family (and especially children) by modeling positive behaviours. You don’t need to be super-mum or super-dad all day, but setting some positive behaviours will help everyone else follow them too. This might sound simple, but it can have a big effect on creating a positive mental health environment.
#4 Engage in Fun Activities Together
Engaging in activities that provide a sense of achievement, pleasure and connectedness will not only give you time together as a family, but have a positive effect on everyone’s relationship and wellbeing.
#5 Physical Health
Highlight the importance of physical health which includes healthy eating, exercise and sleep. Why not get the children to cook a healthy meal or all join in a morning online fitness class. If being active sounds like hard work, read the 5 Benefits Of Being Active For Your Mental Health to understand why exercise is so good for your brain!
#6 Coping Skills
Identify some coping skills you can learn on a weekly basis and spend that week practising them. We always suggest reflecting back on how they made you feel as what works for some may not work for you. A great one to start with is simple breathing exercises for when you feel stressed.
#7 Talk About Mental Health
Bringing mental health into regular conversations is likely to make people more comfortable talking about it. Make sure you check in with each other about how you are feeling. There are some great apps that can help with this.
#8 Self Care Activities
It might feel like you often have no time for yourself, but make sure you build some space into your day for you and all the family to partake in some self care activities. Self-care refers to the small, everyday things you can do for yourself to keep healthy and happy.
#9 Be Patient and Give Space
Having everyone at home is likely to cause more arguments than usual. Try and be patient and respect each other’s space. Work as a team to make decisions with the understanding that sometimes things might not always go to plan!
#10 Be Flexible
No matter how well you plan your day, it’s unlikely to go as planned. Allow some flexibility to help keep the whole family on board and realise you may have to switch activities around or change them entirely depending on everyone’s mood!
At OxfordCBT we offer in person and online therapy to provide tailored advice and strategy to manage and help your mental health. Please get in touch if we can help.