Being stuck inside can have a detrimental effect on our mental health and well being.

We’ve gathered together our top tips for keeping yourself healthy and well when you’re self-isolating or avoiding social contact.

Arm yourself with the facts

There will be lots of rumours and misinformation circulating. Make sure you are getting your information from the NHS.

Make a plan for the day

Sometimes it’s nice to chill out for the day in your pyjamas. But when you’re spending significant periods of time at home, this isn’t going to help your mental health.

So, when you wake up, get showered and dressed, and know exactly what your plan is for the day. Putting some structure in your day will help you feel more in control.

Stay in touch

Don’t wait for people to contact you. Reach out and contact your friends and loved ones. Set up a WhatsApp group, or arrange to meet on Google hangouts or Zoom. You could pick your favourite TV show and plan to watch it together on Google hangouts.

Make sure you speak to another human every day.

Exercise

Everyone must now stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You are allowed outside to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with. This guidance might change. So for now, make the most of being allowed out once a day, and do some exercise.

You will find loads of home workouts on YouTube. Find one at your level and make sure you do some form of physical activity every day. If you’re feeling in a low mood, this is especially important.

Get creative

Now’s the time to read that book you’ve been meaning to read, or write that blog you’ve had in the back of your mind for ages. Use this time as an opportunity to get a new hobby or geek out on your interests.

What’s your podcast that’s going to change the world be called? Why don’t you make a vlog review of your favourite TV show?

In the coming weeks we’ll be posting ideas of things you can create for IMO, so watch this space!

Digital detox

It’s so easy to spend the day switching from Snapchat to Twitter to Insta and then back to Snapchat again…

All the stuff you see online might be making you feel more anxious. So take a break from social media. Tell yourself you’re not going to look at your apps for an hour, and in that time, read a book, go for a walk, do some creative writing, use your phone for the other thing it was designed for – calling someone!

Prepare and plan

It’s worth having a plan in place in case you get ill. Talk to who supports you about ensuring you have enough food in. Make sure you have up-to-date contact details of your social worker or personal advisor.

Remember to breathe

This is going to be a stressful time for everyone But it will pass.

If you’d like to try meditation, to pass the time and take your mind off things for a bit, we’ve partnered with meditation app Breethe to offer every child in care and care leaver a free annual subscription to their meditation app.

Simply drop us an email at hello@imohub.org.uk to get your hands on one.

Or you could listen in to the IMO podcast, a series of open and honest conversations with care leavers, available on Spotify, Google or Apple podcasts.

       

Remember, you’re not alone. But we need to be proactive and look after ourselves and each other.

Support

If you need some extra support or advice, there are lots of organisations who can help:

Help at Hand: an advice line for children in care and care leavers run by the Children’s Commissioner for England.

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger: provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK if you are experiencing a mental health crisis

Childline: advice and protection for children 24 hours a day, and free, confidential counselling

The Mix: information, support and listening for people under 25.

Samaritans: 24-hour confidential listening and support for anyone who needs it (including adults)