looking after yourself and others during the continued restrictions
It is hard to believe that nearly a year on and we are still in the midst of the pandemic and restrictions.
Our Mental Health and well-being has certainly been under pressure and it does always seem worse during the colder months – however spring is around the corner, as is the hope of getting back to some form of normality.
Children and parents have been finding it particularly hard, as have those people shielding and living alone, when so many of our social face to face interactions are not possible.
The message is –
- to stay as connected with other people in what ways you can, whether meeting for a socially distanced walk, phone call or video call, and talk about how you feel – or check in on someone else, especially if you know they live alone. If they do not want to talk, just let then know you are there and will check in again with them. Sometimes people do want another person to just listen –
- There are so many wonderful organisations you can talk to or text – reach out, it is so worth sharing your feelings – you are not alone. SHOUT, MIND & YOUNG MINDS, CALM, ANXIETY UK to name a few.
Age UK has a good video to help older people who are not familiar with video calling.
Nature continues regardless…
If you can, do outside into nature, it does have a calming effect and helps you feel a little more grounded, getting natural light is important.Even 10 minutes a day will help – look out for the signs of spring, like snowdrops and daffodil buds or just pause and listen to the birds. You can put some food and water out for the birds and get nature to come to you.
If you are feeling low or have feelings of anxiety that you find hard to talk about,
then why not look at expressing how you feel by reading or writing poetry, how about a story or blog, if you are musical – you could write a song or rap? There have been some particularly funny Lockdown songs and during these times – humour is a saviour.
If you do feel particularly anxious
try writing down all your thoughts on a piece of paper and then rip it up and throw it away.
Maybe draw or paint your feelings and use the colours as expression – you don’t need to be ‘good’ at art, just use the colours in a way that helps you feel good or release pent up feelings.
Put some music on and really feel the music, express yourself through movement – dance like no-one is watching – or dance together whether in person or over a video call and have fun. Movement, like dancing or other forms of exercise are so good for you, and help you feel energised.
Focus on the positives from each day
take each day one day at a time. Take timeout for self-care, like reading a book, going for a walk or having a bath – this helps you cope with what is going on around you
Remember to Breathe… and let go of those things you cannot control and focus on what you CAN do
Valentines in Lockdown?
‘Lockdown Love’ has certainly been a challenge, especially if you do not live with your partner, or are single and looking for love.
So, what can you do for Valentine’s day?
- You could have fun making each other a valentine’s card and a poem to go in it! Or send one to cheer up a friend or someone you admire!
- Write a valentine’s song.
- Send a valentine’s video – with a lovely message or song!
- Dress up for a night out & cook a meal together – or if you live apart both cook the same meal over zoom!
- Maybe support a local restaurant by ordering a valentine’s meal or food hamper.
- Watch a film together and cosy up – again you can watch the same film together while on a video call – just press play at the same time!
- Wrap up warm and go for a country or coastal walk
- Send flowers, an indoor plant or seeds for the garden.
If you are single and looking for love
Are you currently single?
It certainly is a challenge to be able to meet anyone in person, however dating site reports suggest it is a good time to have more meaningful chats with a potential partner, with a little less initial pressure about meeting up.
If you are using dating apps, do take care and make sure you try not to go on them when you feel particularly vulnerable, and do not give out your phone number – use the withhold number option, until you feel safe to.
Only ever arrange to meet someone if you feel safe. That it follows current restriction guidelines, and you tell someone where you are. Do not meet anywhere remote.
For Valentine’s why not buddy up online with another single friend. Watch a romantic film or RomCom – with a warming hot chocolate or a cocktail!
If you can – treat yourself to some lovely food to cook or order in and why not?
- Loneliness can be hard, so remember to connect with friends, or the wonderful organisations out there. Check up on someone you know is alone.
Valentine’s day is just one day!
Stay connected and stay safe
Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/
Anxiety UK https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/
How often do you put yourself first?
I have had the pleasure of being on BBC Radio Kent, Pat Marsh’s show, over several weeks now. We have been talking about many things to help your Mental Health and Well-Being.
Today we talked about being kind & and looking after yourself.
Putting yourself first at times matters – it is essential for your well-being to top up your own cup, so you have something to give.
It reduces your stress levels and helps you feel happier, which is better for you and the people around you.
Some people find it hard to put themselves first, worrying that it is a selfish thing to do; which can result on taking on too much, feeling overwhelmed, tired and stressed.
So, how can you look after yourself?
There are several things you can do as listed below, to look after your Mind Body and Soul
- Start by taking the pressure off yourself to be ‘perfect’ or things to be done ‘perfectly’ and to be 100% all of the time. A great question to ask yourself; “Is it fair to expect 100% – 100% of the time?”
- A rule I like to live by is 80 / 20. 80% of the time do what you know you should – 20% of the time do what you like doing. This creates a great balance and avoids you trying to cut things out altogether which can be a hard thing to do – just adding to pressure or stress.
- Eat a wide variety of wholesome foods that nourish and sustain your body and mind. Good nutrition helps to keep your body healthy and more able to fight off disease. When you feel healthly you can do more things well, which helps you feel happier.
- Keep Hydrated Keeping yourself hydrated helps you think more clearly, and your body functions so much better when well hydrated.
- Exercise is good for your Mind Body and Soul – it keeps you flexible and fit, reduces stress, gives you headspace and much needed ‘time out’ and reduces the risk of disease. When are body and mind are healthy we feel so good from the inside out and life flows better.
Other important things are;
- Get plenty of sleep. The benefits of a good sleep can not be underestimated – our mind filters and files our day, our body repairs and children grow. I’m an advocate of the power nap – a great way to top up on sleep.
- Play and have FUN do what you love doing, have fun and laughs – it is so good for your mental well-being. Doing things you enjoy is so important. When was the last time you factored some FUN into your life as a priority?
- Looking after your spiritual health is an important part of over health and well-being – whether it is meditation, religion and prayer, the outcome can be an inner sense of peace.
- Developing Confidence in yourself learning to say YES to what you want to do, and NO to what you don’t want to do, or maybe don’t have the time to do.
- Many people find that little word NO a difficult word to say – so, try buying your self some time to decide what you want to do by saying something like, “Let me see if I have the time to do what you ask, to make sure I can do the best job for you”
- Learn something new learning a new skill not only expands your mind and feeds your interest, giving you a wonderful sense of achievement. As a result of doing something new – it can open up opportunities for new experiences, or friendships.
- BE YOURSELF – You are the only you there is. Embrace who you are. Get to know yourself and appreciate your achievements and skills. This will help you feel so much happier and confident.
There is so much more I could add!
TAKE CARE OF YOU – YOU MATTER
Self-Confidence is trusting in yourself, your abilities and knowing your potential. Self-Esteem is about liking and loving who you are so you can be the best version of YOU ✨
Sometimes I used to worry all the time what people thought about me, and getting things wrong, making mistakes and being a failure.
I strived constantly to do my best to fit in and be someone I wasn’t, to try and be liked and accepted. Often I was a ‘people pleaser’ trying hard to always do my best for others, being flexible, adaptable, not saying NO and taking on too much, and was constantly feeling like I was letting people down, as I was struggling to cope with all I’d given myself to do. I felt quite unhappy a lot of the time.
I always felt I should be ‘strong’ and rarely asked for help.
Things got worse after I suffered a head injury and my Confidence was on the floor, and I liked myself less.
After a long slow recovery, and working on my own Self-Confience and Self-Esteem and finding myself again, I know the amazing benefits, which is why I do what I do, and why I know that if you’re ready to make some changes, I can help you.
Taking a first small step on working on feeling happier about being YOU, leads to another step and another ✨
You deserve to be happy and feeling confident to be your best – when you do, You and everybody around you benefits 😊✨
Mental Health has been a subject well promoted in recent years to create awareness, and for good reason.
After all we all have Mental Health, which impacts every aspect of who we are, the decisions we make and how we cope day to day with the people in our life and circumstances around us and includes our Self- Esteem levels; how we feel and think about ourselves and how Confident we are in our abilities and skills.
Maintaining a healthy Mental Health is essential and priceless, it is different for each one of us. It could be things like; being in nature, doing regular exercise, appreciating music, getting immersed in the arts, and spending time with treasured family, friends and pets – I call it ‘Soul Food’
There are times, for many reasons, when Mental Health could be compromised. No one person is beyond a Mental Health concern, issue, disorder or illness. 1 in 4 people at any one time – from all walks of life. It will always be unique to the sufferer, how it affects them and the people around them. Examples are; Stress, Anxiety, Depression, or Phobias, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Neurosis, Addiction, and various other psychological / psychiatric disorders. So, understanding Mental Health is only a good thing, of course, to understand ourselves better, to help people help themselves and to support each other if we can – should our Mental Health falter.
Talking about how we feel if experiencing a Mental Health concern or having someone around who is, like a loved one or work colleague, is important, to start the process of getting valuable help and support, and getting on the road to recovery or learning how to manage the issue and realising we are not on our own.
Making that first step towards seeking help when you are struggling with your own Mental Health or that of someone around you, can take a lot of confidence and courage, but you will be glad you did – there is real strength in it, in no way is it a weakness.
There are many incredible people out there doing their best to cope with and help others, and there is also much support from great organisations, health professionals and therapists, helping us to understand ourselves and others, and what we, or they could be going through. It can sometimes be difficult finding the right support and help initially to suit you – don’t give up though, it is out there, and you can build a good support network for yourself, your family and in the workplace.
Sadly, I’ve seen a few posts recently dissing people around not supporting or understanding Mental Health concerns in others. To my mind we need to all be a bit more supportive of each other and I feel there are a few factors to consider before judging others, which prompted this article.
For most people it isn’t that they don’t care about people who may be having a tough time with their Mental Health, it’s more than likely that they don’t understand, as understanding Mental Health issues is not always easy, and people don’t always know what the right thing is to do and can fear saying or doing the wrong thing.
Some Mental Health issues are actually very complex, don’t make sense and don’t seem ‘logical’ and are difficult to understand. They are also completely unique to the person with the issue / concern or disorder, though there can be certain commonalities.
Sometimes the person affected can cease to ‘see’ the people around them and the impact their current state has on others, which can be hard to deal with and difficult for the people around them to make sense of. It can be upsetting to be around distressing behaviour that you don’t understand and not knowing what to do to help. Many people will try in the best way they know how – without always getting positive results from the person they want to help (for many reasons) and can be left feeling frustrated, hurt, upset, bewildered, and stressed themselves.
There can also be occasions when a person experiencing an issue will hide it, or deny there is a problem, especially from those closest to them, which of course means it is difficult to support them. This could be to protect others, or maybe through fear of losing their job, the possible risk of stigma, being misunderstood or bullied (thankfully things are starting to change for the better on that score).
Some people do fear and are wary Mental Health issues; maybe they have ‘been there’ themselves or had experience of a family member or close friend in their past and it’s too painful to revisit, and they just can’t cope with someone else’s challenging upsetting behaviour at that time.
We can have the most wonderful events, things to strive for and work towards which needs our energy and attention, or our own genuine concerns and stresses to deal with, like having a physical illness, our own Mental Health issues or times when we’re facing something challenging, getting used to a change and dealing with something new, or are feeling hurt, dealing with a tragedy or loss, that is the focus at that time, or just being incredible busy with work and family life.
Life happens and can take over for all of us!
Sometimes people want or need to get on with their own lives, for their own reasons, we can all identify with that. It’s not selfish to and it’s not because they don’t care, but everyone needs times when they put themselves first, to be at their best, to be ok for their own well-being and also to be ok enough to cope with issues and challenges facing them or a person close to them, or to just get on with their jobs and family life. Maybe they are deciding to take the time to enjoy life, the people around them, celebrate achievements and how far they have come -challenges they may have overcome themselves – which is important.
Most people are kind and supportive and doing their very best, however no one is ‘perfect’ and everyone is capable of getting things wrong, making judgments, and hurting people – without the intention to, or maybe just don’t know what to do, so do nothing.
We all have times where we have felt we can’t cope ourselves, let alone with another person too and don’t want to – it isn’t wrong, just human.
A good thing to remember is; regardless of what is going on for you or others ‘You are doing the best you can in every moment, with what you know at the time, and so is everybody else – until you find a better way’
Most Mental Health issues can be overcome or learnt to be managed in a better way. There is definitely hope.
Life’s wonderful experiences and challenges teach us every step of the way – if we choose to and are ready to learn from them and being or feeling ready to face some challenges is key.
Every one of us walks our own path, at our own pace, with its highs and the lows.
Try your best to be kind to yourself and everyone around you
If you’ve read this far – thank You and I’d love to have your thoughts