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Looking after your mental health

artice1 nov20

Having weathered a national lockdown and now hunkering down for a second wave this winter, it is little wonder that many people feel their mental health to be in a vulnerable position right now.

In these difficult, trying, and anxious times, what are some of the ways to help look after your mental health?

General lifestyle changes

The Mental Health Foundation suggests several areas in which some general lifestyle changes and your approach to the world around you might improve the foundations of your ongoing mental health:

Nutritious eating

  • mental health, stability and functioning is just as reliant on the nutrients you eat as your physical health – so, aim for a good, balanced, and nutritious diet;

Drink moderately

  • alcohol might help to give you an immediate “lift”, but the effect is going to be temporary, and you may then feel worse than when you started – treat alcohol with caution and respect;

Exercise

  • regular exercise is good for body and soul – it will help you feel, sleep, and concentrate better;

Talk

  • there might seem like a social reticence – or even aversion – to it, but talking to others about your feelings and emotions can help you maintain mental wellbeing as you face life’s crises;

Keep in touch

  • that means making every effort to keep in touch with family and friends – and even when it’s not possible to meet them face to face, learn to use the many and varied technical aids to communication, such as video calls.

Mental health and Covid-19

The mental health charity Mind recognises that the coronavirus has brought particular problems and issues when it comes to maintaining good mental wellbeing.

To make matters worse, the current situation can also appear to be full of contradictions. During the total national lockdown, for instance, there was hardly any choice but to follow the clear and rigid rules and guidelines.

With rules varying across different parts of the country, you might find it more confusing and worrying to be making your own choices about when you go out and where you go to. All of this might add up to a whole new bag of emotions – ranging from panic, fear and anxiety to stress and confusion or even anger and frustration.

To help you manage any such feelings of disorientation, Mind suggests that you concentrate on those areas of your life where you do retain control. There are likely to be activities that you can still pursue – indoors or outdoors, whatever the local rules in your area. There might even be small changes you could make to your usual routine that gives you still more choice and control.

Although you might be feeling alone, you are surrounded by others in your immediate community who are probably in the same boat. Throughout it all, there is no “normal” reaction to the restrictions and uncertainties of full or partial lockdown.

Knowing that there is no “normal” might give you the confidence to share your feelings and emotions with others whom you trust. Because face to face contact is more difficult than usual, you might prefer to have those conversations online – where Mind’s Side by Side community is there to help.

Further reading: Boost your mental health with these apps.

This data is correct as at the time of writing. 

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