3 April 2020
Looking after your mental health during times of increased stress
After last night’s news we will all, on a personal level, plenty to get our heads around. For many of us, our first priorities must be dealing with our own family contexts and challenges; some of which will be complex and, even if they are relatively straight forward, they may still give us cause for concern. It is important therefore, that each and every one of us gives ourselves permission to concentrate on that first before we expect great things from ourselves on the work front… that will come later! We can only take good care of others when we are ok ourselves. Some of you may have heard Stephen Fry speak on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday in his role as President of the charity Mind (mind.org.uk); if not, his reflections on self-isolation and, interestingly, ‘allowing time to take on a different dimension’ are worth a listen.
We are grateful to Dorset Council and the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education for sharing their thinking and support and trust that the following suggestions may be of practical help and value:
- Communication – talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Pick up the phone rather than emailing or messaging.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy – this might include reading, cooking, other hobbies or listening to the radio or watching TV programmes
- Stay hydrated – drink enough water, try to avoid alcohol and energy drinks
- Diet - try to eat healthy, freshly made, well-balanced meals
- Exercise – keep active in mind and body. If you are home-bound, look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website. Otherwise, go for a walk in open space. Please note that not all the exercises mentioned (ie swimming) are currently possible.
- Take regular breaks from what you are doing - If you’re sitting in one position, ensure you stand, stretch and move around. Take a look at this NHS 10 minute workout.
- Stay connected – schedule in regular catch-ups with people, even if you feel there is nothing new to talk about.
- Ask for help - if you’re feeling the impact of the situation or being on your own, take a look at these NHS recommended helplines.
- Be proud of your very being – you are worth taking care of. Ensure your environment reflects this. Have periods when you keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can, or go outside into the garden or an open space.
- Actively care for others – who else around you has been affected by current circumstances? Might they need to connect with you?
Posted by David Hilton