In another of our Mental Health Week blogs, Mental Health First Aider Naomi Staunton-Downey explores some of the ways we can all be kinder to ourselves during lockdown.
Around one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year, according to Mind, the mental health charity. In these uncertain times, it is important we protect our mental health and boost our wellbeing. Our lives have changed considerably, and this will be impacting our mental health. Acknowledging this change is vital: it’s ok to feel anxious and scared and quite normal under the current circumstances.
Talking about how you feel with people you know, and trust can help you reflect and find new ways to cope. Many of us are feeling isolated from our friends and family; seeing a friendly face on a video call can do wonders for the soul and sometimes it’s a massive relief to just share your feelings with someone who cares.
Sleeping, eating and exercise
How we look after our physical health can affect our mental wellbeing. Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for our health. Try to stick to a routine and give yourself time to wind down in the evening. Eating a well-balanced diet fuels our bodies to perform at their best (The Eatwell guide, which is available on the NHS website, provides detailed information on how to achieve a healthy, balanced diet). Getting active helps beat stress and promotes a positive mood. You don’t have to run a marathon – a short walk or dancing in your bedroom can help you feel better.
It’s important to take time to relax, even when you don’t feel under stress. Meditation, painting, yoga, having a bath – we all relax in different ways so take some time out for yourself to do something you enjoy.
Understanding what affects your mood can help you avoid or change stressful and negative situations. For example, watching too much of the news can be upsetting, ensure you limit your exposure and stick to reliable sources. Mute WhatsApp groups and hide Facebook posts and feeds if you find them too overwhelming.
Above all let’s be kind to ourselves. We are experiencing an extremely difficult situation, whilst we will all be struggling in these testing times it imperative to seek help if we feel we are struggling to cope.
Mental Health UK – https://mentalhealth-uk.org/
MIND – https://www.mind.org.uk/
Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/