Supporting your mental health and wellbeing over the next few months.

The coronavirus pandemic is still having a major impact on our lives and we are seeing the mental health and wellbeing of our family, friends and people being affected. We know that it is here for some time and we have to ensure that we acknowledge and accept that this is something that is not in our  control. We can only ensure that we control what is in our immediate reach and work on ensuring that we maintain a regular routine to ensure that we are supporting our mental health, in a Covid_19 secure way.  We are working with many clients to support their mental health and emotional needs. Mental health still has quite a stigma attached to it in the BAME community but we have noticed that some people are recognising the adverse effects to their moods and behaviours and are reaching out to ask for support from our wellbeing services. 

You may be feeling anxious, frustrated, lonely, worried and low, these are all common feelings and reactions when we are faced with a challenging situation or set of circumstances. Everyone reacts differently to events and changes in the way we think, feel and behave vary between different people and over time. 

Here's a list of things you many want to incorporate into your day to ensure that you are taking care of your mind as well as your body.

Your daily routine from the moment you wake up

The way you start the day massively impacts the quality of your day. Life is changing for us all and we have to adapt to new rules and restrictions at short notice. Think about how you can adapt, create or maintain a positive routine on a daily basis. Then see how you can realistically apply it so don't just think about it, put some actions into place to make things happen. One of the best way to ensure you are consistent is to write down your routine in your planner or diary because you are setting the intention and it's in the diary which means that it is important to you and your wellbeing!

Keep your mind active 

This can help you feel in control and less low or worried. Make a list of things you enjoy and then turn them into small goals. We all have a book or books gathering dust on a shelf that haven't been read or a jigsaw puzzle with a 1000 pieces. There is no time like the present! If you're not a fan of reading try an audio book, or listen to wellbeing podcast and keep your mind stimulated, inquisitive and active. Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, jigsaws, drawing or painting whatever works for you. If you do nothing to keep the mind active, there will be no change.  Nothing changes if nothing changes! 

Stay connected with others 

Maintaining relationships with your circle of family and friends is important for your mental wellbeing. During lockdown we have not been able to meet with our loved ones, so how have you been able to maintain connection? There are many options with the use of modern technology to keep in touch and even see people on the other end of a screen. The elders in the community may not have this facility and will still have a traditional telephone and making a regular call will cheer them up and give them a sense of comfort during this pandemic. When was the last time you called someone ? Call them today and say hello!

Help and support others 

Think about how you could help those around you, only if you are physically able to without putting yourself at risk. it could make a big difference to someone and can make you feel better too. Does someone need their bins putting out for collection today? Does someone need a prescription collecting from the pharmacy? Are you able to get some groceries for someone who can't get out? Remember it's important to do this in line with the current government guidelines keeping yourself and everyone else safe.

Talk about your worries

It's quite normal to feel worried, scared or helpless in the current situation. We are having to cope with the pandemic and our daily pressures of life that already exist such as financial worries, relationship problems, domestic violence, and/or carer responsibilities. It's important to listen and accept other people's concerns and worries. Each person is individual and each person reacts differently and every feeling is valid. Listening to someone can support their emotional and mental wellbeing and really help with offloading thoughts and concerns.

Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing with someone who is positive and lifts your spirits is good for your soul. If you don't have anyone to speak to there are many helplines nationally, see list of services at the end of this blog.

Try to manage difficult feelings

Many people find the news about Covid_19 concerning. However, some people may experience such intense anxiety that it becomes a problem. Try to focus on the things you can control in the current climate, such as managing how often you listen to or watch the news and how often you absorb yourself in social media updates, these can heighten your anxiety. If it is affecting you try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to media coverage about the outbreak.

Look after your physical wellbeing 

Your physical health has a big impact on how you feel emotionally and mentally. At times like these it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well balanced meals and drink enough water. Take the time to plan your meals in advance, move your body daily, it's recommended by the NHS that thirty minutes of exercise daily five days a week is enough to kick start a new habit.

So the gyms are closed that doesn't mean that you have to stop, there are many options like free workouts on You Tube or free Apps that you can download onto your phone. 

Our women's wellbeing hub has three live zoom sessions weekly all free of charge supporting women to ensure they look after themselves so no excuses. We offer weights and conditioning classes, yoga classes and Bhangracise classes on a weekly basis. Did you know a one hour workout is just 4% of your day? 

Spend sometime outdoors

If you can, get some outdoor air and if you can't bring nature in. Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can't get outside you can still try and get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging a space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural daylight or get into the garden. 

You could buy plants that enhance your wellbeing such as bamboo, lavender or you can fill each room of your house with fresh flowers and bring some colour into your day. There are lots of ways in which you can make your indoor space feel like you are out in nature, just start getting creative and think outside of the box! 

Do things you enjoy 

When you are anxious, lonely or low, you may do things that you usually enjoy less often or not at all. Focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors or outdoors should give you some relief from the anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood. If you can't do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, try to think about ways in which you could adapt them or try something new.

Look after your sleep

Feeling anxious or worried can make it difficult to get a good nights sleep. Good quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough, are you?  Are you able to get between 7 to 9 hours per night? What are you doing to support your sleep routine? You can keep a sleep diary and record how many hours sleep you are getting each night. If you have a smart watch you can download apps such as SleepWatch that track sleep , heart rate, sleeping patterns and gives you a break down of your sleep patterns. Most likely when you have not slept well, the fatigue in everyday activities the next day is noticeable and maybe your mood matches this and your emotions are heightened. Next time notice that! Try to maintain a regular bedtime routine and sleep at the same time each night, avoiding screens before bed, cutting out caffeine and creating a restful environment.

I hope this blog offers you some inspiration to try something different or to re-assess your current habits and even start something new.If you need any support with regards to your wellbeing or would like to join our free zoom sessions, you can contact us at the following email:

[email protected] 

Website links for support and resources

www.nhs.co.uk

www.samaritans.org.uk

www.mind.org.uk

www.youngminds.org

www.safehanddsthinkingminds.co.uk

Stay at home

Protect the NHS

Save Lives 

Written by : Kam Bola Wellbeing Coach Women's Wellbeing Hub