Isolation and feelings of loneliness can be a prominent issue for people living with sight loss due to the many barriers it can create. Self-isolating following the Coronavirus therefore can potentially increase feelings of loneliness due to being unable to enter into public places, use public transport and visit family and friends. It is important that you not only look after your physical health by washing your hands, sanitising, eating well and staying hydrated, but you must also take care of your mental health during this worrying time. There are lots of things you can do to boost your mental health and here at Galloway’s we have come up with some ideas. This list is not exhaustive but we hope you find it useful.
1. Technology – Galloway’s has many online forums on Facebook. These online communities are great for keeping in touch with people you may already know through Galloway’s but also making new friends and supporting each other.
They are: Galloway’s Get Active: https://www.facebook.com/groups/667503903583473/ Galloway’s Coronavirus Advice and Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/210400873362186/ Galloway’s Chorley: https://www.facebook.com/groups/218456599355334/?source_id=97527215030 Galloway’s Penwortham: https://www.facebook.com/groups/600384833846340/ Galloway’s Sefton Social Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2355417151157012/ Galloway’s Morecambe: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2269713093330437/ Galloway’s Technology Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2300648560261020/
There is also a Facebook group for our volunteers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/241605153231935/ Plus groups for our participants of any large sponsored challenges. Keeping in touch with family and friends is essential – for your wellbeing and theirs. There are options to video call on Facebook messenger and WhatsApp. Plus there is Skype and FaceTime. We will be creating another article with more comprehensive technology tips later on. 2. Try to keep busy Try to stick your usual daily routine as much as possible and where you would usually go out, try to replace this activity with something else like cleaning or doing indoor exercise. Also, when stuck inside, we can easily be seated for long periods of time, monitor this and ensure you stretch your legs regularly. James, our outdoor activities coordinator, has started delivering video exercises on his Get Active Facebook group. 3. Lighting We all know that lighting can help significantly when living with sight loss, but letting in natural light can also uplift our mood. Try to ensure you are opening the curtains/blinds to let in some sunlight. 4. Hobbies and activities Take time to do things that you enjoy and keep your mind active such as reading, puzzles, drawing, listening to music, baking, sewing, gardening, etc. The RNIB library is a great resource if you would like to access large print/audio books in many formats such as memory stick, large print, braille or on your smart phone. There are also plenty of online resource to help you occupy your time, such as learning a new language or a new martial art, virtual museum tours and podcasts. Check out this website for some inspiration: https://chatterpack.net/blogs/blog/list-of-online-resources-for-anyone-who-is-isolated-at-home 5. Support It is important to remember that you are not alone although you may feel trapped within your home there is a community out there on the telephone/online that are here to help. Please remember that Galloway’s is also here to help and that although our sites are closed currently, our team is on hand to answer questions and provide support. We will be posting numbers and contact hours for each centre on our Facebook groups. Alternatively you can email email@example.com or leave a message on our main landline 01772 744148. Our website has lots of useful information in relation to the Coronavirus and services that are available in your area https://www.galloways.org.uk/coronavirus Other useful contacts Our friends at Sightline are available to help if you would like some befriending support. It is a free telephone-based befriending service for people affected by sight loss and many of our volunteers have already signed up to help. Regular phone-based befriending can be arranged at a convenient time for you. Call 0800 587 2252 www.sightline.org.uk Samaritans – Call 116 123. Open 24 hours every day
RNIB: 0303 123 9999 www.rnib.org.uk Opening hours – Monday-Friday: 8am-8pm Saturdays: 9am-1pm
Lancashire and South Cumbria Wellbeing, Mental Health and Texting service Call the Helpline – 0800 915 4640 Text – HELLO to 07860 022 846 Opening hours – every day Monday – Friday 7pm-11pm. Weekend – 12pm to midnight Useful weblinks: The Age UK website has a page for older people worried about Coronavirus and being isolated. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/…/conditions-illnesses/coronavirus/ Some more information on combating social isolation: https://mashable.com/article/coronavirus-social-distancing-loneliness/?europe=true There is a whole breadth of ideas and information relating to Coronavirus and mental health on the Mind website here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapse94832