Mental health awareness has never been so vital given the stress and uncertainty the nation is facing right now. Psychiatrists have warned of a “tsunami” of mental health problems built up during this period of time, with rises in emergency cases and a drop in routine appointments.
Whilst this may set the fear of God in you, that is NOT my intention. The last few months have been a wave of emotions and experiences for many of us. It’s easy enough to preach positivity amongst an array of tips and advice. But, the reality is, it’s not always possible. Sometimes what we need is a couple minutes of fresh air, not a half an hour walk. Or what we need is to watch a film that makes us laugh, not a TED talk that requires concentration and attention.
And, so, in this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week post, I’d like to draw attention to minimalistic and attainable methods of caring for your mental health. Whether you have ongoing mental health issues, or your mental wellbeing has taken a tumble during the chaos, your mind requires attention.
- Make comfort your number one priority
My, and I assume majority of the UK’s attire has consisted mostly of joggers, baggy jumpers, and all things cosy. If you’re working from home, or like myself have uni deadlines to chase, finding that balance of cosy but not “easily dose off” cosy is a fine line. Separate day from night, set aside day pyjamas or stock up on some loose clothing to wear around the house. It may sound simple, but these psychological alternatives will make the difference and give you that boost you need when lounging around in some PJ’s is what you crave.
2. Breathe in some fresh air first thing in the morning
The outdoors is somewhat restricted to many of us and not everyone has the luxury of a garden or outside area to lounge in. But, breathing in a gulp of fresh air from your window or other means helps me with anxiety, particularly if I’ve woken up feeling low or ‘panicky’.
In an ideal world, I’d let myself wake up before reaching for the phone attached to the chain at the end of my hand… For now, that’s not quite working for me but one thing I do make sure of is that I am careful with WHAT I choose to consume my thoughts first thing in the morning. No matter what the weather, I try my best to get at least a couple breathes of fresh air.
3. Exercise when you can
I fully understand that when you feel s**t, exercising is the last thing on your mind – me too. Exercise is often misconceived as something you “should” do because society says, rather than a habit to form for your mental wellbeing. And it’s certainly not restricted to a high-intensity, push yourself until you feel as though you might die workout. It can be a leisurely stroll through your local fields or trying out a 10-minute yoga class on YouTube.
The focus is to spend a little bit of time to perk yourself up, get some air into your lungs and give, what may feel like a crammed mind, space to breathe.
4. Break up your day with minuscule tasks
I’m resisting the urge to tell you to take some time to play with a dog here, because, clearly accessing a dog to pet isn’t as simple as ordering a book off Amazon. Since coming home, spending time with my dog throughout the day has broken it up and allowed me much-needed breaks from uni work.
No matter how you’re spending your day, whether it’s jam packed with WFH meetings or catching up on Killing Eve, find time throughout the day to get away from whatever you’re doing. Curl up with a cup of tea. Take a walk around your neighbourly area. Or, favourably, distract yourself with a playful dog.
5. Avoid comparison
Under normal circumstances we are certainly all guilty of comparing where we’re at to what we’ve seen on the Instagram posts or stories of somebody else. Being in lockdown and having more time on our hands to fill has unfortunately made many feel as though what they are or aren’t doing whilst adapting to the ever-changing conditions is wrong.
Only you know what will or won’t work for you, and each day will vary – regardless of lockdown or no lockdown. Tune into your needs and tend to them as individually as they come. Adapt with the flow as best as you can and remember you are never alone, no matter what you’re experiencing.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, if you’d like to report any feedback or simply get in touch, please contact me!
Ciao for now x