It’s national Mental Health Awareness Week (18-22 May) and we’re aware that at this time, more than ever, maintaining a balanced mental health may be more of a challenge for many of us. With the national pandemic still impacting everyone’s daily lives to some extent, it’s fair to say most of us will have had to dig deep to find our ‘happy place’ at times over the last few weeks!
Many of the activities which people use to relax or distract themselves are being cancelled, and an increasing number of people are in isolation. However, there are things you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Take regular breaks from the news and social media. You may find yourself addicted to finding out the latest news, but an overload of this won’t help with anxious feelings. Find one or two reliable sources of information and be strict with yourself about how many times you check it each day.
- Use this time to plan how to live a healthier and more positive life. Sometimes the smallest steps, applied consistently, lead to the biggest changes. Make a commitment to walk every day, rain or shine or give Yoga a go. Explore your passions. Write a “bucket list” with all the amazing things that you want to do when all this is over.
- Within this daily routine include some time to relax. A hot bath, a sit in the sun, or some meditation will all help you unplug from the troubled world. Try the apps Calm or Headspace to help you manage your mental health in a positive way. Become more mindful of the micro-pleasures in life and the simple things that make you happy.
- Spending time in green spaces or with nature is known to help improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed. Please remember to follow government guidelines.
- Getting outdoors might not be possible if you are self-isolating, indoors, but there are ways you can bring the outdoors, in. For example, keep your windows open to bring in fresh air, introduce potted plants to your living areas and move your favourite chair so you’re able to look out of your window and listen to the birds tweeting.
- If you find yourself sitting at home, wishing you were in Hawaii listening to the waves or curled up next to a log fire in Switzerland, the mindfulness app Portal transports users around the world, helping them chill out with the assistance of some of nature’s most relaxing sounds.
- It’s good to talk; You may not be able to see your friends or relatives face to face, but hearing a friend or loved one’s voice can make all the difference. Pick up the phone instead of texting, use Facetime or apps like Zoom to see people. That human connection can make you feel less isolated and can take your mind off what’s going on, even if it’s for a short time.
If friends or relatives are talking constantly about the situation, try asking them if you can talk about other things for a while. They might appreciate it too.
More help and support:
The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day – in full confidence. Call 116 123 – it’s FREE, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably). Or email email@example.com.
For support in a crisis, Text Shout to 85258.
If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support.
Shout can help with urgent issues such as:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Abuse or assault
- Relationship challenges