- Pray. Light a candle, if safe, and pray for hope, faith and strength to keep loving and caring for each other during this time of struggle.
- Talk about how you feel. This may be difficult if you are self-isolating, but do use the telephone, internet, and social media. Talk to your Parish Nurse by telephone, via Facetime, or by email.
- If you need to contact a counsellor this can be arranged by your GP, or via local agencies, or privately. Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, every day, and it’s free to call them on 116 123.
- Focus on the things that you can change, not on the things you can’t.
- Look after yourself – physically, emotionally, spiritually. Plan to do things that you enjoy at regular intervals during the day – a TV programme, a phone call, a book, a favourite dish, a game, a short walk.
- Look after others. Even if only in small ways, do what you can: A smile, a kind word, writing a letter or an email can work wonders.
Psalm 18:1 ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer’
Ten Practical Tips to look after our Mental Health
1.Talk about our feelings
Talking about our feelings can help us stay in good mental health and deal with times when we feel troubled.
2. Keep active
Regular exercise can boost our self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and our other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving our mental health.
3. Eat well
Our brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for our physical health is also good for our mental health.
4. Drink sensibly
We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.
When the drink wears off, one feels worse because of the way the alcohol has affected our brain and the rest of our body. Drinking alcohol is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.
5. Keep in touch
There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. We can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for us!
6. Ask for help
None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan.
If things are getting too much for us and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Our family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Local services are there to help us.
7. Take a break
A change of scene or a change of pace is good for our mental health.
It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress us. Give ourselves some ‘me time’.
8. Do something you’re good at
It is often helpful to ask ourselves “What do you love doing”? “What activities can you lose yourself in”? “What did you love doing in the past”?
Enjoying ourselves can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means we’re good at it, and achieving something boosts our self-esteem
9. Accept who you are
We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that each of us are unique than to wish we were more like someone else. Feeling good about oneself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps us cope when life takes a difficult turn.
10. Care for others
‘Friends are really important. “We help each other whenever we can, so it’s a two-way street, and supporting them uplifts me.”
Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to us. It can even bring people closer together.
Coming out of lockdown: Looking after our mental health and wellbeing
The gradual easing of lockdown may feel really positive. After all, it helps enable us to see friends and to increase contact with our families and our work colleagues. However, for many of us these changes, challenges and the related anticipation of it all can make us feel worried and anxious – even frightened. We need to accept that this is understandable in the current climate, and is why it is so important not to challenge or to push ourselves too hard. We need to be kind to ourselves and kind to each other.
For some of us, this period can feel quite frightening, particularly those of us most vulnerable to the coronavirus (such as those who have been shielding) and/or those with mental health concerns, who may finding it difficult to return to anything like ‘normal’ for a much longer time.
So what are the challenges to our mental health coming out of lockdown, and what can we do about them? The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) suggests that we should be prepared for the fact that the end of lockdown might be as hard for many of us as the start was; if not harder as many of us are under more pressure now to find our way back to ‘normal’ (whatever that means) and to reconnect with life.
This link from MHF provides some helpful suggestions – mental health tips – including finding routines, staying connected, eating well, and taking exercise. These are just as important (if not more so) now as they were at the start of lockdown. Take a quick look and see what you think.
I’ll end with what I feel is a beautiful poem by Julie Sheldon, entitled ‘Some of us’.
Some of us must stay at home
And not go out the door
Some of us are working
Like we’ve never worked before
Some of us are falling out
With siblings, Dads, and Mothers
Some of us are reaching out
And looking after others
Some of us are keeping busy
Doing lots of jobs
Some of us have given up……
We’re turning into slobs
Some of us are playing games
And learning brand new hobbies
Some of us are still ‘no good’
And watching out for Bobbies
Some of us have lots of friends
To text with and to phone
Some of us have no one
And feel that we’re alone
Some of us feel positive
And think that we’re in charge
Some of us feel anxious
And fear the world at large
Some of us have footpaths
To cycle, walk, and jog
Some of us have nowhere nice
To even walk the dog
Some of us are welcoming
New babies being born
Some of us have lost loved ones
And cannot truly mourn
None of us will ever know
What’s really going on
None of us will think the same
When all of this is done
All of us can choose to spend
Our days in fear and dread…..BUT
All of us can choose to plan
For better days ahead
Blessings to you all.
Parish Nurse & PN Service Lead
North Blackwater Parishes