7 Areas For Improving Your Mental Wellbeing

As World Mental Health Day on October 10th approaches, I’ve been reflecting on what a difficult year 2020 has been for us all and our mental wellbeing. The world changed very quickly.. In the blink of an eye we were swept with Coronavirus, a nation in lockdown and our lives turned upside down. Adapting to and rationalising current events can be challenging and looking after our health has never been so important.

Here are some tops tips for improving your mental wellbeing that may help you during this uncertain time:

1 Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, Whatsapp, social media, video conferencing or telephone. At first I found this strange but the more I did, the better I felt, even a short chat.

2 Engage in or try new healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Be creative! Arc launched #KeepingUsTogether to help people during this difficult time. Creative writing can be a good distraction. Use mindfulness and relaxation to relax. 

3 Try to keep regular routines including sleep and eat healthy foods. Routines are so important at the moment, even if you’re self isolating it important to keep a routine for your mental wellbeing. Establish routines as best possible and try to view this period as a new experience that can bring health benefits.But dont be hard on yourself if your routine slips!

4 Try to maintain physical activity, indoors or outdoors. During lockdown I found some old exercise DVDs which was a fun way to exercise indoors! I even took part in the Joe Wicks daily exercise with my children. I regularly explore the outdoors by walking. It was lovely to reconnect with nature. Outdoor time can be very therapeutic during this time. Did you read Stacey’s latest blog post Top 5 Beginner’s Tips For Home Exercise?

5 If you’re working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, taking regular breaks and, if possible, establish a dedicated workspace.

6 Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing or overwhelming. Pay attention to your breathing, adrenaline rushes and heart rate to notice raised anxiety. Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and consider turning off news alerts on your phone. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a week.

7 Remind yourself frequently that this is a temporary period of restrictions, to slow the spread of the virus and not a permanent situation!

Image by Kirsty Gbasai

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, helpless or stressed by news of the outbreak. If you are struggling with your mental health it’s important you seek support. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – they may be glad you did and share their feelings! Access your support network, reach out and speak to your friends and family. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines and local support groups you could connect with instead. Acknowledge feelings of distress. It’s OK to feel distressed as it is a natural reaction to the current situation, and it’s fine to not want to do anything, but trying to slot in a few healthy activities even when you don’t feel like it can really help your mental wellbeing.
Seek professional support or contact your GP if you difficulties worsen or are affecting your life considerably.

Jane Wilkinson
Mental Health Support Officer, Arc