Mental health is such a big factor in so many people’s lives. Over 16 million people in the UK experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK - that’s one in four adults. This ranges from anxiety and depression to alcohol dependence, substance misuse and psychosis.
Mental illnesses are hard enough to battle with day to day with a normal routine, let alone when your life has been thrown upside down and you can’t leave the house because we are in lockdown. Whether you are still working or you have been furloughed this is a whole new experience for everyone but we all need to adapt to it for now.
It has been a massive struggle for me, trying to adapt to this new environment under such weird circumstances. However, with the support from my amazing family at home and my auntie, who has been an absolute saviour, I am finally coping well and starting to feel more positive again. I have been using these tips to look after myself and my mental health.
It’s easy to slip into the habit of sleeping late, spending all day in your pyjamas and eating lots of junk food, but looking after yourself is essential for your mental health. Even simple tasks such as getting out of bed, washing your face and getting dressed can feel difficult sometimes, but they can make a big difference to the way you feel. Try to stick to a routine that is similar to what you would usually do when going to work.
Exercise is a great way to keep yourself active and to take your mind off the current situation. At the moment, the government is saying that you can go out of your house for one form of exercise a day. Take this opportunity to go out for a walk to clear your head so you can focus when you get home. You can also do workouts at home or in your garden! Staying active will release endorphins which help improve people’s moods and therefore can reduce stress and symptoms of mental health.
Checking in with friends and family is important. They are there to help you and support you, so talking with them regularly can maintain your support networks and prevent you from socially excluding yourself.
Find things to distract yourself daily. I like to keep a journal and write down my feelings to help me understand what is going on. There are many different activities that people can do whilst at home like baking, painting, drawing, reading etc. Although we want to know what’s going on, it can help to turn off the news from time to time too. I know that what is going on in the world is scary and this can impact people’s mental health, so it is good to sometimes take a step back- turn the news off and turn on some cheesy TV that makes you laugh.
If you don’t feel up to doing anything, though, that’s fine too. It’s important to be kind to yourself and recognise when you need a break. It is okay not to be okay!
Mental health can be just as important as your physical health. There is always someone to talk to and if you don’t want to speak to anyone at work or your family, Starting Off is always there to listen and offer any support to their learners and apprentices.
Starting Off have an office in Northampton and Kettering. To find out more about Starting Off visit; www.startingoff.co.uk, call 01604 622855 or 01536 417373.