Lincoln City Foundation is aware of the impact that the Covid-19 outbreak is having on individuals and communities. However, throughout Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to assure you that if you are experiencing feelings such as stress and anxiety, you are not alone. Many others will also be going through these feelings and there is help and support out there when you need it.
The charity Mind has identified that many of us may currently be worried about our finances, strained living environments during lockdown, future employment opportunities, home learning responsibilities and education for our children, and the feeling of isolation and uncertainty for the future. Through all these worries it is important to show kindness to others, but also to yourself.
Today we want to share some tips to help you be kind to yourself and improve your mental health:
· Get some sunshine – try and get between 15-20 minutes of day light or fresh air each day, even if this is just a short walk or a seat in the garden. A small amount of outside time can really make all the difference.
· Avoid alcohol – although alcohol can bring some short relief and satisfaction, it can make you more anxious and depressed in the long-term. It can also have an impact on your overall health, which could result in additional stress or worry.
· Find some quiet – not always easy, but don’t be afraid to find a quiet space for a few moments in your household or garden to take a breath or count to 10. This simple exercise can help you find some calm and help you gather your thoughts.
· Sleep – again not always easy if you are worried, but making sure you get a good night’s sleep can help with tension, stress and is good for your overall health and wellbeing. Find a pattern that suits you as we all different.
· Eat well – it’s true what they say, you are what you eat. Foods with high sugars can affect your mood or energy levels so try to eat a balanced diet. If you are particularly stressed or anxious, you should limit the amount of caffeine you consume.
· Get active – you don’t have to run a marathon or play football for 90 minutes to be active or feel the benefits from being active. Mild exercise on a regular basis is just as important and can help you set and achieve personal goals.
· Exercise your mind – wellbeing can often start with your mind, so a wordsearch or SUDKO puzzle can flex your brain and help you manage your frustrations and stress levels.
· Do something you love – much like a good puzzle, taking part in a hobby can help your body and mind. For example, if you like drawing you pick up a pencil and start to sketch or perhaps baking is more your thing.
· Speak to a friend – lean on a friend, talk to someone you can trust, about how you are feeling or maybe ask them how they are coping.
· Do things for others – volunteer or help a friend or family member. There are hundreds of ways you can help other people you know, or people you don’t. If you would like to volunteer (perhaps you have been placed on furlough leave yourself) we can help. Contact our Community Response team.
And most importantly…
· Ask for help if you need it – speak to your GP if you are worried that stress is taking its toll on you and your family. There are so many groups and alternative therapies that they could suggest that will help you specifically.
Mind urge you to #SpeakYourMind and not to be worried about reaching out to others. National support and advice from Mind is available here: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/
Previous articles in this series for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020:
Monday 18 May 2020 – On Your Side