FACING weeks and potentially months of being housebound is a daunting prospect for many of us.

But, since the Government announced lockdown measures last week, a number of health, fitness and community support groups across south Cumbria have collaborated to help ensure residents’ mental health is ticking over, ahead of a prolonged period of isolation.

Dr Andy Knox, the director of population health at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, recommends what he calls the ‘ABC approach’ - Active, Breathing and Connect.

“At times like this many of us can struggle with anxiety and being isolated can make that feel worse so one of the things we’re trying to encourage is for people to stay active," said Dr Knox.

"There are loads of online exercise classes at the moment and it’s a great way to get some of that nervous energy out which helps calm us down.”

Rachel Lightbird, owner of Barrow’s Lightbird Yoga, has been offering free morning meditation classes through Zoom on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Mindful Yoga and Shiatsu, based in Carnforth, is offering similar free mindfulness and stretching streams every morning - led by Zoe Pirie.

Before beginning a 24-hour shift at an assisted living centre in Ulverston, Geoff Beattie said: “I came across the [Lightbird meditation] sessions via the Ulverston self-isolation group.

“With the almost-constant news updates right now and worrying about the health of people you know, your mind’s in turmoil. Just being able to focus on something positive - something as simple as your breathing - helps a huge deal. It really gives your mind a chance to breathe.”

For Danielle Howson, 29, the back garden has been a key source of wellbeing - not just for herself, but for her neighbours too. She has been leaving envelopes of seeds outside her house in Grange for interested parties to pick up.

“With gardening, there’s an impetus to get outside and move about - and you can also grow things inside as well if you don’t have a green patch nearby," she said.

“You can see the tangible results of your work and it gives you something to look forward to as well. The seeds I have left over are going to be taken over to the Cartmel-Grange Care Home for some of the patients.”