Mental Health Awareness Week – Lottie’s 5 Tips for Maintaining our Mental Wellbeing
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and it comes at an important time, as many people may be struggling with their mental health in the face of the Covid-19 situation. We’ve asked Lottie, one of our NHS Health Check Practitioners with a background in mental health for some top tips…
Hey, my name is Lottie and I have been working in Somerset as a Health Check Practitioner for nearly a year. I really enjoy my regular role as it involves meeting new people daily; so, as you can imagine, with social distancing in place, my everyday work has changed dramatically.
Having a background in mental health nursing and counselling, I have a real interest and passion for mental wellbeing. For this reason, I want to share my 5 top tips to maintain mental wellbeing during the coronavirus lockdown.
Have an escape
Currently, government guidance means we are all encouraged to stay alert, control the virus and save lives. To do so we must abide by social distancing rules and the varying restrictions on our movement and social interaction. These restrictions are physical though and do not apply to our minds or imagination. Finding ways to escape from reality on a daily basis can be anything; watching films that have been on our list of ‘films to see’ or a boxset that someone once recommended, reading a book that has been sat on a shelf gathering dust or pulling out a dusty jigsaw puzzle from the back of a cupboard. Use your time in a way that you enjoy and suits you!
Look after your body
Being active and eating well are important for both our physical and mental wellbeing. Keeping our bodies moving and making the most of our daily outdoor exercise allows us to enjoy the environment around us, boost energy levels and reduce stress. The government guidance on exercise has recently changed, now we are permitted to venture outside for exercise as much as we would like as well as to drive short distances to exercise. Somerset has plentiful ‘areas of natural beauty’, now is the perfect time to get back out on your favourite walking route or hike to that natural landmark – Just be sure to maintain social distancing.
What’s more, eating a well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of water can help improve our mood and to think more clearly.
Now more than ever, it’s so important to reach out and make contact with others. Sharing our thoughts and worries with people we trust can be helpful, also remembering to enjoy moments of laughter can be very therapeutic too. To help look after yours and others mental wellbeing, pick up the telephone, start a video call or put a message in the post to family and friends to help brighten up their day and yours. Lots of friends and families are doing virtual pub quizzes or family video calls at specific times each week, but don’t forget that a spontaneous call to a friend or family member might be all that’s needed to bring a smile to their face.
Also, it’s important to remember that should we need it professional help is available. Our GP surgeries should still be able to help us with appointments over the phone and locally the fantastic resource Mindline is now operating 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. Mindline is a confidential listening service which provides non-judgemental emotional support for our local Somerset residents.
Mindline: 01823 276 892 / https://www.mindinsomerset.org.uk/our-services/adult-one-to-one-support/mindline/
Have a project / learn something new
Although this time can seem worrying and uncertain, we can use it to do something for ourselves. This maybe picking up a new and exciting hobby, like knitting or learning an instrument. It could be used doing a project you have been meaning to do but never had the time, or it could be spent learning something new like a language or about the solar system.
We all have things we would like to do one day, but we feel we just lack the time. Use the current environment as a positive and grab this opportunity to achieve something that fulfils you.
Don’t get overwhelmed
It’s important to stay up to date with the current situation and Government updates but it’s equally important to consider about the amount of time we spend, watching, reading or listening to coverage on Covid-19 and the impact it has upon our mental well-being.
If we feel we’re being overwhelmed by the information out there we can try turning off news update notifications on our phones or limiting our screen time each day. Equally we should be mindful about what we read on social media and check facts before sharing information with others, all information we consume should be from a reliable source. While it’s important to have an awareness of what is going on around us, keeping our mental wellbeing safe should take priority.
Always remember, simple and small is best; minor changes can be of great benefit for our overall well-being. Thanks for reading these are my 5 top tips to maintain our mental well-being during these difficult times – stay safe and take care!
For more info. on Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week