Looking after our physical health is a focus for everyone at the moment as we all do our best to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, there is another pandemic sweeping the world and that is the impact on our mental health. 

It’s critical we all look after our mental health during this time. The most obvious action for many may be to see a therapist. However, with mental health services swamped and not enough individuals looking into how to become a therapist, it can be easier said than done.

Everyone has had their mental health impacted in one way or another over the past year. From grief for lost loved ones, stress and anxiety over job loss and security to loneliness and isolation. From the most severe symptoms to the smallest one, everybody’s mental health problems are important to acknowledge and address.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, or perhaps you are just looking for ways to prevent your mental health from diminishing, we have a few simple steps you can follow to look after yourself during this difficult time. 

Connect With People

So we can’t meet up face-to-face with loved ones, but we should still keep connected. Video calling, phone calls or even just a simple text message is crucial to keep everyone feeling centred and connected, while also acknowledging and loved.

But it isn’t just interacting with friends and family we are missing out on, for the last year, we have had very little opportunity to meet new people. While you may not realise it, we usually meet new people every day, from clients at work, to others in the pub and it’s an important part of our world.

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Finding online groups with a shared interest is a great way to continue this. From book clubs, cooking classes and musical groups. This not only allows you to interact with others but also keeps you busy with a hobby.

Natural Light & Fresh Air

We have all been encouraged to exercise outdoors and keep active. However, this can be easier said than done. Long working from home hours or having to self-isolate leads to many of us going days without stepping outside our front door.

Lack of vitamin can be detrimental to mental health, so make sure you open the curtains and sit near a window. We know in the cold weather you don’t want to sit near draft but consider opening windows in other rooms to allow fresh air in.

Take the time to step outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes, fresh air is great for our minds and it gives you a break from screen time. 

Avoid Media Outlets

Even the most reputable media outlets can have a detrimental effect on our mental health. With modern technology constantly bombarding us with information, it can be easy to feel upset about what is going on in the world.

Checking the news is important for updates and to follow regulations but consider only doing this once a day, from government-approved outlets or from government websites themselves to keep in the loop but to be able to avoid a constant stream of media.

Another great way to take in news is to sign up for updates from ‘good news’ websites. These domains focus on the positives, and provide a respite from the doom and gloom, just make sure they are a reputable source first.

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Talk To Others About Your Experience

Chances are, there is someone you know who is struggling as much as you are, you are not alone. Taking the time to speak to each other to show support and discover what is and isn’t working for them can help give you inspiration.

Evaluate Your Career

Your current career could be what is impacting your mental health, it may not have done pre-pandemic, but things can change.

If you are no longer feeling fulfilled or valued, it’s time for a change. Many people are turning to rewarding careers and using their free time to train in a new profession. A popular one is becoming a therapist or becoming a psychotherapist.

If you become a therapist, you can also use your new knowledge to understand your own mental state and help others who are struggling.

Other professions include NHS staff, social care and charitable organizations.

Eat Well

While sugar and carbs may be what we are all craving during troubled times, they can actually make us feel worse. Look at your diet, are you really getting the right amount of fruits, veg and protein?

We aren’t saying you need to eat clean all the time, after all, food is one of the few things we can still enjoy during lockdown, but everything should be consumed in moderation. Alter your eating habits to be as healthy as possible. However, it’s ok to treat yourself now and then.

Remember, mental health should always be addressed as soon as possible. If you are struggling, reach out to your local mental health service or charity for the best advice.

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