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Keep Positive - Have fun (Battling the unseen enemy)

So, talking to mum the other day about the current situation with the Covid-19 virus was interesting, her response was - it's difficult to know what to do because you just can’t see it. She was liking the current situation with her childhood in the war when you knew the enemy and got a warning of danger with air raid sirens - something that is not always available.

It got us thinking of other unseen things that we battle with, like keeping a positive attitude and good mental health when facing challenges. Having recently had an unforeseen change to employment, being at home unexpectedly, stressed about the past and worried about the future, we know the importance of taking care of your mental health as well as your physical health.

So if you are at home for an unknown time, whether that is home working, finding another job, starting work on your ideas, or recently retired, there will be some challenges. A good starting point to a positive attitude is separating what you can control from things that you can’t to the point of avoiding listening to news of others' bad experiences or difficulties.

One of the most important things for us was to start and keep a routine. For example, try to get up around the time you used to when working Monday to Friday - this helps to give your week structure and your weekends different. One of the things that recently retired people have said to us is there is no difference in the days and so you don’t have anything to look forward to or to help you keep track of time. We also found that dressing in work clothes helps you focus on home working.

Next, plan your week and structure your days. So think about chunks of time - work, eating, caring for pets and others, physical exercise, rest or mediation, and - probably most importantly - some fun time. If you are having fun you are more creative, your mind stops the endless loops of worry and stress, you can stay “in the now” rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Things feel better and you are more energised to move forward.

Take regular exercise, particularly outside in nature if you can. Go out for a walk, run, cycle. Look at nature, potter in the garden. Physical exercise indoors can be simple and fun too - what about downloading a fun game or exercise that you haven't done before instead of spending time playing games, especially if those games need you to spend money to move ahead.

Challenge yourself to learn something new, especially if it is fun and you never know when a new skill may come in handy.

Socialise - we know it is really easy to become isolated and lonely. If you can - get out to meet people. a smile costs nothing and can really brighten someone's day. Connect through social media but be aware of the effects of other people's problems.

Don’t forget - it's ok not to be ok, there is no shame. Ask for help if you need it. This document has some helpful tips:

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