As the UK has entered another lockdown we will all be spending more time at home over the next few weeks. We have been gathering some advice from several mental health organisations across the UK, including our Charity of the Year Mind, about how you can look after your mental health during this time. Below we have 10 self-care activities that you can do at home: Do a home workout or some relaxation exercises Even though we must maintain social distancing, this doesn’t mean we have to stop exercising. Instead of going to the gym, why not bring the gym to you by doing a free home workout or by doing an online personal training session? There are hundreds of free fitness classes and home workouts online on YouTube, and you don’t always need equipment. Exercise is extremely important for our mental health as it releases endorphins, which can have a positive effect on how we feel. Exercise has also been said to increase productivity which is great if you’re struggling whilst working from home. There are also lots of videos and resources which show a variety of relaxation exercises which can help with your breathing. Relaxation exercises are great for mindfulness and decreasing stress levels. Learn a new skill Now that we are all spending more time at home why not use this extra time to learn something new? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn to bake, play a musical instrument or even learn a new language, it’s the perfect time to start! In our previous blog, we put together the top 5 best language learning apps on the market at the moment for you to try for yourself. Learning a new skill gives us something to work towards and can be an extremely rewarding process, it’s a great way to pass the time too. Have a social media detox The amount of mental energy we give our phones and social media could be put to much better use. On the 5th of September lots of people took part in the ‘Digital Detox Day‘ which raises awareness about the negative impact social media can have on our mental health, and helps people to form healthier relationships with their devices. The campaign is a collaboration between LUSH, Zoe Sugg, and mental health organisation #IAMWHOLE founded by Jordan Stephens. Whilst you’re taking some time away from social media you could try some other fun activities such as baking, arts & crafts, gardening or playing a board game! Read a book According to research by Dr David Lewis, reading a good book has been shown to reduce your levels of stress. The study found that reading as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 60% by reducing your heart rate, easing muscle tension and altering your state of mind. That same study showed that reading was better at reducing stress than music, drinking a cup of tea, going for a walk and playing video games. Have a bubble bath or a pamper night During the lockdown period why not have some more ‘me time’? Face masks and painting your nails might be appealing to some but there are also other self-care practices which are universal. In their blog, Mind suggests: scented candles or an oil burner with essential oils (such as lavender), a hot bath or slightly-longer-than-usual showers and listening to a relaxing playlist. Go for a walk or spend more time in the garden Spending time in green spaces or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. Things like growing food or flowers, exercising outdoors or being around animals can have lots of positive effects such as improving your mood, reducing feelings of stress or anger and helping you feel more relaxed. Facetime a friend or a loved one Lockdown can be very lonely especially if you live alone or are living abroad away from friends and family. That’s why it’s important to keep in contact with people on a regular basis. It is also important to regularly check in on colleagues, friends and family members to make sure they’re okay. Keeping in contact with people regularly will help combat the feeling of being isolated. Virtual coffee breaks or virtual pub quizzes are a great way to socialise during lockdown and there are several platforms to do this through such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime. Switch off the news Of course, it’s important to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world, but if you find that listening to the news increases your anxiety or stress levels then it might be best to avoid listening to it personally, and instead ask a friend or family member to only inform you of things that are necessary. Listen to some music According to Mind, researchers found that music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain. It also found that dopamine was up to 9% higher when volunteers listened to music that they enjoyed. Music can also make you feel more motivated so next time you find your surroundings a bit too quiet, play some tunes and see if it lifts your mood! Do you have any other self-care activities that people can try at home? We’d love to hear your ides so share them below in the comments! Please note that we are not medical professionals, this is just some friendly advice that you may find useful whilst you are spending more time at home.