How I maintain my mental-well being in lockdown I Nikki’s Story

How I maintain my mental-well being in lockdown I Nikki’s Story

The coronavirus pandemic is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone. We can no longer take for granted some of the things we used to do to look after our physical and mental wellbeing, like playing sports or meeting up with friends to shake off the blues.

Along with other elements of our routines, we might have had to shake up, adjust or rethink some of our self-care techniques and rituals as we adjust to self-isolation and social distancing.

One of the things Young Minds suggest as a helpful tool for difficult times is a ‘self-soothe box,’ which can help if you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety or panic. We spoke to Nikki, 23, who has been using her self-soothe box to manage her mental health for several years. She believes it’s an empowering tool that anyone can use to manage their self-care and show themselves some kindness during difficult times.

 

What is a self-soothe box?

It can be anything you like. You make it yourself. Mine is a shoebox-sized box, where I keep things that make me feel better when I’m feeling down.

I think of it as a little box of escape in a world of reality. It’s a little piece of heaven that I can immerse myself in for half an hour and usually afterwards I feel a bit better.

A box with the lid open.

What do you put in the box?

I’ve got a lot of things in my box! The main thing is a book I made myself after I did a particular type of therapy. It’s an instruction manual on how to deal with different emotions like loneliness, boredom, anger etc. That’s something that helps me and I’ve used it to support other people in helping them create their own boxes.

You can write down things that have helped you with different emotions in the past and then use it to remind you how to deal with emotions as they arise.

 

I’ve also got a book of poetry by Maya Angelou. My favourite poem is ‘Still I rise.’ It means a lot to me – I’ve got it tattooed on my arm!

I’ve got some squishy things I can squeeze – like stress toys – and colouring pencils and colouring books, perfume, hand cream, chocolate. It’s important to think about the senses when you make a self-soothe box: something you can taste, touch, smell. They ground you and keep you in the present.

I’ve got some positive affirmation cards, which I look at to remind myself that I’m enough, that I’m strong, even when I’m not feeling that way.

Nikki keeps a box of Maya Angelou poems in her self-soothe box
 

I’ve also got a little pot in here that I made myself and inside it, I’ve got lots of folded up bits of paper with self-care ideas. If I’m feeling stressed, I pick out any piece of paper and it will give me ideas of what I can do, like watch some comedy, eat some chocolate, listen to some music.

I’ve also got stuff in here that people have made for me and I’ve got a load of letters that I’ve asked people to write for me. A few years ago I was in hospital for a couple of months and was really unwell. I asked people who visited me to write me letters and I’ve got all these beautiful letters that I can look at when I feel down.

A colour pad, crayons and a coffee.
Colouring can be soothing

When is a good time to make a self-soothe box?

It’s good to work on it when you’re feeling really good. You put things in there that can help you on the days that aren’t so good.

It’s like a gift to yourself – a gift you’re giving to yourself on a good day to help you when you’re on a bad day. It brings the things that make you happy a bit closer to your fingertips.

How does the self-soothe box help you?

It distracts you. It gives you a place to escape for a while. It soothes your senses. It gives you a break. It empowers you because you’ve been proactive in your self-care. It’s like a little friend in a box.

How are you using your self-soothe box at the moment?

I’ve been bored an awful lot during lockdown. I like to go out and keep busy. It’s one of the main ways I keep myself healthy and I find that with coronavirus stuff going on, I find that hard to do. The main thing to remember in difficult times is to cover the basics first: sleep, movement, water, medication if you’re on any. It’s easy to forget about the basics in times of crisis. Once you’ve done that, you can think about the extra self-care things.

So then I look at lists of things that have helped me before and things that can help me again. I’ve got over 100 ideas of ways to distract myself when I’m bored!

I also go back and reread the letters that confirm who I am and what I believe in so I can be stronger in myself.

“It’s important to think about the senses when you make a self-soothe box”

Who can use a self-soothe box?

In particular, people who experience anxiety and low mood, stress or distress, can be helped by a self-soothe box, but I think the box can help anyone. I think everyone should have a little box they can spend time with when they’re having a bad day – and we all have those.

NEARLY 29,000 FINES AND 300 ARRESTS FOR BREACHING CONFINEMENT IN CANARIES

NEARLY 29,000 FINES AND 300 ARRESTS FOR BREACHING CONFINEMENT IN CANARIES

So far  28,900 fines have been issues and 312 people have been arrested in the Canary Islands for failing to comply with the confinement measures decreed since the state of alarm was declared in Spain.

In Spain as a whole, there have been 4,981 arrests and fines exceed 571,800.

In a statement, the Government delegate, Anselmo Pestana, encourages the residents in the Canary Islands “to continue to set an example and keep staying at home. The situation is improving but we are not to let our guard down yet, if we carry on to exercise caution, the end of confinement will be closer. ”

 
The delegate of the Government highlights that the Canary Islands have “some of the best indicators on the evolution of the pandemic in the entire national territory”, something that he considers “a shared merit of all citizens”, in addition to health personnel and the different security forces and emergencies.

ARRESTED IN SANTA CRUZ FOR BREACHING CONFINEMENT FOUR TIMES

ARRESTED IN SANTA CRUZ FOR BREACHING CONFINEMENT FOUR TIMES

A 19 year old youth has been detained in Santa María del Mar, for failing to comply with the state of alarm for the fourth time.

The man was intercepted at a police control while driving a vehicle carrying three more people inside, as reported by the Local Police on their official Twitter account.

It is the fourth time that an act has been processed for this person for breach of confinement, and in addition to his arrest, three more fines were issued to his passengers for violation of the conditions of confinement.

Coronavirus: UK lockdown extended for at least three more weeks

Coronavirus: UK lockdown extended for at least three more weeks

The UK’s coronavirus lockdown will remain in place for at least another three weeks to ensure the country gets over the peak of the epidemic, the government has announced.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from COVID-19, confirmed the extension following advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

 

Speaking at Downing Street’s daily coronavirus news briefing, Mr Raab said: “The government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks.”

He said SAGE had advised that “relaxing any of the measures in place” would “undo the progress we have made” and would “risk damage to both public health and the economy”.

The extension takes the lockdown to at least 7 May, and Mr Raab hinted it would likely go further in light of a previous suggestion by the prime minister that the UK could “turn the tide” of the virus within 12 weeks.

Mr Johnson made the comment on 19 March, and Mr Raab admitted that was “broadly the outline” for when the UK might expect to return to some normalcy.

Mr Raab laid out five factors the government “must be satisfied of” before considering changes to the lockdown:

  • Confidence that the NHS can still provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment across the UK.
  • Need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate to be confident we are beyond the peak.
  • Reliable data from SAGE that the infection rate has decreased to manageable levels.
  • Testing capacity and PPE is in hand to meet supply for future demand.
  • Not risk a second peak of infection that overwhelms the NHS.

“We’ve come too far, lost too many loved ones and sacrificed too much to let up now – especially when we are now beginning to see that our efforts are paying off,” said Mr Raab.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we are at a delicate and dangerous stage of this pandemic.”

Ahead of Thursday’s news conference, the unprecedented lockdown had already surpassed the original three-week timescale laid out by the prime minister last month.

The extension keeps people indoors, only leaving the house for one hour of exercise per day, to shop for essential supplies like food, for medical assistance, or to go to work if doing so from home is not possible.

There are no measures being lifted for now as the UK remains a few weeks behind other European countries badly hit by the pandemic, with Italy and Spain having slightly eased some restrictionsfollowing consistent daily falls in their infection and death rates.

Mr Raab said that while the lockdown had seen the rate of infection drop significantly, there were still “issues with the virus spreading in some hospitals and care homes”.

The extension came after Mr Raab led a cabinet meeting where ministers were briefed on SAGE’s advice by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance.

After then dialling in to a meeting of G7 leaders led by US President Donald Trump, First Secretary of State Mr Raab chaired another meeting of the government’s emergency COBRA committee.

The leaders of the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland joined in by video link as the lockdown was formally extended.

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford had stolen Mr Raab’s thunder minutes before the government’s briefing began, confirming that the leaders of each administration had agreed to keep the measures in place.

The extension announcement was widely expected, with ministers and some of the government’s top medical and scientific personnel having spent recent days warning that it was too early to consider lifting any restrictions.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty told Wednesday’s news briefing that while the UK was “probably reaching the peak” of the epidemic, thousands more would die before attention turns to easing the lockdown.

Earlier on Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky News that it would take time for the measures to be phased out and for life to get back to something resembling normality.

He told Kay Burley@Breakfast: “It is too early to say now that we should remove the measures.

“People can see that while we may be reaching a peak the numbers aren’t coming down yet.”

The number of deaths of coronavirus patients in UK hospitals jumped by 861 to 13,729 on Thursday, after four consecutive days in which the increases had been below 800.

It has also been well established that the UK’s true COVID-19 death toll is higher than the hospital figures suggest.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics suggested there were around 75% more coronavirus-related fatalities in England and Wales last month than previously reported by the government.

More than half of those happened in care homes, while others took place in people’s homes and in hospices.

On Wednesday, the National Records of Scotland revealed that – as of 12 April – almost 25% of 962 registered deaths where COVID-19 was mentioned in the death certificate in Scotland had occurred in care homes.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the government must ensure “more is done to protect our care homes” before considering any lockdown changes.

He said: “I fully support the government’s decision to extend the lockdown.

“The priority now must be to ensure we see a ramp up in testing, that staff get the PPE they desperately need and more is done to protect our care homes from the virus.

“We also need clarity about what plans are being put in place to lift the lockdown when the time is right.”