News Coronavirus (Covid-19) - Keeping active and protecting your mental wellbeing These tips and ideas are designed to help both you and those you care for look after yourselves, staying active and protect your mental wellbeing. Allocate a time slot in your day for an activity you enjoy – whether it’s to read, write, paint, cook or even do some gardening. Encourage those you care for to make time for activities they enjoy doing, too. Get some fresh air by opening your windows, walking round the garden or going for a walk or a jog (as long as you observe government guidance about going out and social distancing). Try to find moments for yourself – exercising mindfulness, even just by listening to music, is a great way to find calmness and peace of mind. With help from online guidance, many people find seated exercises, yoga or dance helpful to charge up those endorphins too. Is there an exercise related video or app on your phone you can follow for tips? There are some good ideas for exercises you can do at home on the NHS website. Finding a programme, routine or structure to follow can be a good way to keep your emotions in check and it may be helpful to devise a routine for the person you look after, if they need support to do so. Free online training courses are springing up – we have several bespoke ones for carers who want to review and reinvigorate their skills such as Learning for Living. You could try new cooking recipes or lessons from online. Food Nation are doing weekly new cooking ideas to try. We know getting enough sleep can be challenging for many carers. Some people find meditation exercises before bed really help. Other tips include having a bath with lavender oil, drinking chamomile tea or reading another chapter of that novel you’ve been meaning to pick up again before going to bed (try to find ways to switch off - especially from online devices). Keep in touch with friends, family and others by phone and online. It’s reassuring to know at this time that it can be easy to communicate even from far away. Using our Jointly app is one example of how carers can do this. Talking and sharing your feelings with someone who understands can be a massive relief and release. If you’re feeling really alone and very stressed, the Samaritans provide a 24-hour listening service: 116 123 and there are many other sources of support available. Never hesitate to pick up the phone or worry there is no one to support you – we are all in this together There are lots of supportive online groups and sources of help, including our Forum, where you can connect with other carers facing the same challenges. There are also local voluntary groups that may be able to help in practical ways, for example with home deliveries. See https://covidmutualaid.org/local-groups/. There are also variety of resources for Children and Adults to stay active and entertained online. This could be; Fitness and dance videos, science or maths lessons, or even free stories. Keep in mind that there are sometimes those looking to exploit those in vulnerable circumstances. Most people offering support will be genuine, but beware of scammers masquerading as sources of support and trust your instincts. Combat any rising anxiety levels by setting a strict time limit on how much you read about coronavirus on social media and in the news. Only follow the advice of trusted sources such as the gov.uk and NHS websites, and look out for their daily updates. You can also find guidance for carers on our webpage Coronavirus guidance.