Top Tips from Top Banana’s very own Mental Health First Aider, Helen as we speak about looking after yourself this #worldmentalhealthday
2020 has been a very challenging year for all of us and when we think about it, there isn’t really a single person in the country who hasn’t gone through a substantial lifestyle change, that this time last year they could never have anticipated.
Whether you’ve been working from home, social distancing or isolating, have found yourself on furlough or out of work – all of these factors can contribute to not feeling great. If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that compassion is key and we need to take care of ourselves and others – we cannot be too kind to one another or our own mind and body, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. As a nation, we’re not particularly known for prioritising self-care, but there are simple steps we can all take to help look after ourselves through difficult times – small, manageable things that can benefit all aspects of our wellbeing.
I’m one of the people who have had to create space for this in my day to day routine. This is what’s been working for me…
- Staying active – now summer is well and truly over, it’s really important to remain active, even if the weather outside is gloomy! If you can, exercise 2 to 3 times a week, it helps your body, mind and gives you a sense of routine. Even just walking has huge health benefits and it’s important to spend time on your feet after a working day.
- Eating well – we need a mixture of nutrients to keep our physical and mental health strong – so if this is an area you struggle with try making weekly meal plans. As well as helping you avoid food waste, it also takes some of the stress of cooking away and means you’re more likely to stick to balanced meals instead of fast, unhealthy solutions
- Take regular breaks – we are all getting used to working from home and at times it’s not the easiest. If you’re finding you’re at your desk from dusk til dawn, try planning breaks into your dairy and taking lunchtime walks. You can even do simple things like make a call from your garden or move locations when you’ve got a meeting (as if you were going to a meeting room in the office). The change of scenery will help break your day up and it’s important to get away from your screen regularly
- Take a moment to talk – most of us are great at talking, but not necessarily about our feelings. However it doesn’t mean it’s not important. Whether they’re good or not so good ones, try and get into the habit of telling someone how things really are (changing that ‘fine thanks’ to ‘actually, I’ve not had a great day’). A problem shared is a problem halved is no myth – it really helps, so try grabbing a colleague, friend or relative and take some time to catch up over a coffee or a glass of wine (my favourite)
- Finally, and I’ll repeat it because it’s the easiest one to do! Be kind and care for others – it’s a win win 😊
Something to end on, is if things are getting too much don’t be afraid to ask for help – some of us are still struggling with the “new norm” and there are a number of organisations that can help who are professionals and totally separate from your day to day life. A list of these are below.
- Samaritans: 116 123 (24/7 freephone)
- Stress Maters: www.stressmatters.org.uk
- Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri 9am – 6pm)
- Anxiety UK: Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition. 03444 775 774 (Mon-Fri 9.30am – 5.30pm)
- Men’s Health Forum: 24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email www.menshealthforum.org.uk
- Rethink Mental Illness: Support and advice for people living with mental illness. 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri 9.30am – 4pm)