Looking After Your Wellbeing In Isolation
When it comes to our wellbeing, looking after our mental health is just as important as physical health. Throw a global pandemic into the mix and our brain can often become a bit overworked, overanxious and overtired. So what can we do to keep ourselves healthy, and who can we look to for support?
PROFESSIONAL SUPPORT POWER
There are loads of amazing charities and organisations out there who focus on young people and mental health, and offer free services for anyone needing help, or a chat.
Young Minds are all about supporting and empowering you and fighting for better futures. Right now, they’re encouraging everyone to speak up about how they feel. So if you’re struggling, they suggest having a chat with family members or friends. But, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, they also have a Crisis Messenger text service, providing free, twenty-four hour support.
Sometimes our anxiety can get the better of us when our routines change, and Anxiety UK are doing everything they can to help calm those nerves and get you back on the right track. They have a dedicated email address where you can look for support, as well as a helpline (03444 775 774) that is available from 9:30am-5:30pm.
Childline is a free and confidential service where you can talk about anything. They have several ways to get in touch with a counsellor, including an email form, 1-2-1 Chat, and a free helpline (0800 1111) that is open from 9am to Midnight every day.
You might have seen us talking about The Mix before. They’re a youth service for 13-25 year-olds, made up of a team of experts and trained volunteers. They’ve got everything from useful articles to read, to video content, and counselling services. You can arrange a counselling session through this form, use their Crisis Messenger service, or text THEMIX to 85258. It doesn’t cost anything, and any information you choose to share will be in strict confidence.
MAKING HEALTHY SPACES
Talking isn’t for everyone. But there are loads of things we can do for ourselves to keep our brains a nice place to live.
Look for info
Mind, the mental health charity, has an entire page dedicated to looking after your mental health during the lockdown. They share loads of information about how to look after yourself - and others - where you can get support, and how to carry on with any mental health treatments, if you usually take part in them.
Being connected to the internet every minute of the day does have its perks, especially when you can’t hang with your friend IRL. However, the constant flow of ‘breaking news’ and statistics and fear-mongering can get too much.
Apps like Headspace suggest giving yourself some space from the online world, or as they say ‘weathering the storm’ - meditation, sleep and movement exercises to find some space.
We also shared some simple tips to go screen free that you might find useful.
Take a moment
If things start to get a bit overwhelming, Anxiety UK suggest using the APPLE technique:
Acknowledge: Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
Pause: Don’t react as you normally do. Don’t react at all. Pause and breathe.
Pull back: Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling.
Let go: Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don't have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
Explore: Explore the present moment, because right now, in this moment, all is well. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now.
Tidy room, tidy mind. Why not give your bedroom a little spring clean. Get organising. Sort out your wardrobe. Reorganise your bookshelf - by colour, author, size of book. Make your room somewhere that will give you instant peace when you walk through the door.
Have some fun
This is also a great time to, well, enjoy time. Obviously what’s happening in the world right now is serious, and staying indoors is really important. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while doing it. So why not pick up a new hobby. Binge watch a new TV show (or two, or three). Learn to bake. Find an omg-I-have-to-keep-listening type of podcast (hey, have you listened to ours yet??).
Try a TikTok dance challenge. Get fit. Dive into a great read. Have a Houseparty quiz night, or Netflix Party film club with your pals. Your opportunities are endless really, and you might just end up surprising yourself!