Our mental and physical health is just as important as each other. That’s why we need to look after our mental wellbeing and look out for each other.
As someone who has been affected by poor mental health, I know how important this is.
There are many ways in which we can all take better care of ourselves - by choosing healthy food options, staying active, and looking after our mental health.
I hope that this short guide will give you some useful advice and information on how we can look after our mental health at a time that can be difficult for lots of people.
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 10 to 16 May 2021. For this, I am asking constituents to remember the five ways to well-being modelled by the New Economics Foundation:
You can find the latest mental health guidance relating to COVD-19 at www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing, and more general advice surrounding mental health at www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/
You can find the latest guidance and information from the Government by visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any other questions.
Stuart Anderson MP
Looking After Mental Health at Home
It’s really important to make sure that you have a structure to your day when you’re at home, so here’s a 6-point plan for your day:
- Plan: Keep a regular routine that will keep your confidence up. Try to start your day at the same time that you usually would, because your body will stay in its natural rhythm.
- Move: Keeping active and exercising where you are able to is key to reducing stress, increasing energy levels and helps your sleep pattern. If you’re stuck for motivation, there are plenty of exercise routines on YouTube that you could look at!
- Relax: The NHS website has plenty of relaxation techniques that you could look at. They’ll help relieve stress and will help give you a sense of well-being.
- Connect: Find creative ways to keep in touch with your friends, colleagues and family. Just because you can’t visit other households, it doesn’t mean that you can’t speak to those closest to you over the phone, social media, or video calling. Have an online coffee break with your colleague or an after work call with your friends or family.
- Reflect: At the end of the day, think about what went well and what you could improve on. What were you grateful for during the day? How can you make tomorrow better? Think about writing down your thoughts so you can go back to them at a later date.
- Sleep: In these difficult times, you might have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. To improve your sleep, try and stick to your usual bedtime and get up in the morning when you usually would. And try to avoid using your phone, tablet, computer or TV before bedtime.
Sticking to the Facts
It’s really easy to become overwhelmed by all of the news surrounding Coronavirus. So make sure that you can find a credible source that you can trust – such as gov.uk or the NHS website. And fact-check information that you get from social media and other people. You should also think about how inaccurate information could affect your friends and family too. It’s really important to think about limiting the amount of time that you spend watching, reading or listening to the news surrounding coronavirus. Some people have found it easier to limit themselves to checking the news twice a day. It can be very distressing having large numbers of breaking-news alerts on your phone during the day.
Looking After Others
Each year, around 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems. Most of us know a family member, colleague or friend who has struggled with their mental health.
According to the Every Mind Matters campaign, there are a number of things you can do to help
- Express concern by letting someone know you’re worried. It’s a good way to start a conversation about how they are feeling, and it also shows the person that you care about and that you have time for them.
- Reassure them, because the first time someone mentions their worries is a huge step. Let them know that you’re there for them if and when they need to talk.
- Be patient, as you won’t always know the full story. Just being there for someone can be a huge help if they want to open up to you at a later date.
- Look after yourself when looking after others. It can be upsetting to hear someone you care about in distress. Make sure that you take time to yourself so that you can relax and do things that you enjoy, whilst taking into account the Government guidelines on social distancing.
- Offer some practical help, like an act of kindness. Offer to do some shopping for them or try and find some practical information if they are not in a position to do it themselves.