Did you know this week is Mental Health Awareness Week? Mental Health can mean so many different things across a really large spectrum from severe depression and suicide to feeling a little bit sad; from loneliness to hoarding; panic attacks to phobias. It can be diagnosed or undiagnosed. Professional help may be needed or just a chat with a friend.
The coronavirus pandemic is having a HUGE impact on our mental health, so we are going to share some top tips for looking after ourselves. The theme for this year is kindness – don’t forget that means being kind to yourself as well as others.
Some ideas for looking after yourself may feel unrealistic right now. And some treatment and support options will be harder to access, or may be unavailable for a while.
We all feel lonely from time to time and even more so at the moment when we can’t do our usual activities with our friends and families. Loneliness is not always the same as being alone as, for some people, they can feel lonely when amongst other people. Some people may choose to be alone and live happily without much contact with other people, while others may find this a lonely experience.
Most of us are so used to seeing people in the office, at the shops, at sports clubs or at family gatherings that loneliness is to be expected and not just from the vulnerable. Talk to the people that you are closest to. Maybe you would normally have a really honest chat with one of the school mums at the gate or someone you meet at the pub. Keep talking to them and tell them how you’re feeling – they are probably feeling the same.
Try video chatting or just pick up the phone. You can now even meet up with someone from another household. Share pictures and videos of what you have been up to. Stay connected!
We might be feeling sad and missing people or tired from the change in circumstances and how our lives have changed since. Your family might be driving you crazy or you might be really struggling with work.
Keep reminding yourself of the “up” times – when you are happy, content and enjoying yourself. Do a little bit of journaling – it might mainly just be noting down some good things that have happened. It’s great to then be able to flick back when you’re feeling a little down. Alternatively, each evening you could share as a household a couple of things you enjoyed or are thankful for that day. They might be little things like bed but it is a way of re-grounding yourself to those important things.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for fun videos and things you can do at home!
Particularly when we are feeling down, we might want to become lazy and not do a lot but staying active is really important. That doesn’t mean a really long run or Joe Wick’s PE lesson! A gentle 15-minute walk is good. We are so privileged to have lots of lovely parks and green spaces in Sandwell. Make the most of your surrounding area. Listen to the birds in the trees and the flowers starting to grow.
Other places to go for help
If you are feeling like you need more support with your mental health, there are lots of places that can support you. This NHS website gives a little bit of detail which might help you choose the appropriate support.