This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which is more important than ever right now.
The ONS has reported that COVID-19 has increased anxiety and reduced happiness levels, bringing them to the lowest they’ve been since they began collecting results in 2011. During a crisis this can be expected, but it means we need to prioritise our mental and physical health more than ever. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do that will help.
All year round, the likes of Mind, YoungMinds and the NHS offer ongoing support, tips and resources. While Public Health England (PHE) has launched Every Mind Matters, endorsed by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, where you can answer five questions to create a personalised “mind plan”.
We all perform better when we’re healthy, motivated, focused and have support. Here are some tips and ideas that might help:
Stay connected with others
Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important and staying in touch with them will help them too.
Set a daily routine
Get up and get ready in the same way as normal and keep to the same hours you would normally work and go to bed if you can. As well as set new times to work out, get outdoors, clean and cook etc., to give your days structure.
Keep on top of difficult feelings
If you’re experiencing intense anxiety, try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from. And acknowledge that some things are outside of your control.
Look after your body
Our physical health dramatically affects how we feel, so regular exercise, healthy eating and getting good-quality sleep are important.
Vitamin D and fresh air cannot be underestimated, and exposure to nature re-energises us. Consider putting a plant close to where you’re working at home too!
Try new things
Check out free online tutorials and courses, music concerts, theatre productions and pub quizzes. Or learn a new skill or do something you’ve been putting off.
Take time to relax
Binge on Netflix, play video games, read, write, paint, do crosswords or jigsaw puzzles. Or meditation has been proven to help deal with stress, depression and anxiety. Do whatever works for you!