Top tips to improve mental health
Living through a pandemic has been difficult for many people and, whilst the days go by and restrictions begin to lift, we are faced with a new uncertainty - how to get through the next stage of recovery in terms of our health and wellbeing.
It's Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May) and many people may have felt like they've missed their friends and family, felt isolated and alone, have suffered financial difficulties or have had employment challenges etc.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council would like to share some tips to help people who may need some support or are struggling with their mental health.
Here is a list of helpful suggestions that might offer some support to all residents in the East Riding:
Consider how to connect with others
Maintaining relationships is important for your mental wellbeing. Communicate with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media.
Help and support others
Could you contact a friend or family member nearby? Are there community groups you could join to support others locally? Remember it's important to do this in line with current guidance to keep everyone safe.
Talk about your worries
It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you're feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too.
Look after your physical wellbeing
It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour. Try eating healthy, drinking water, exercising where possible and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Look after your sleep
Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night's sleep. Good quality sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough.
Try to manage difficult feelings
Some people may experience intense anxiety that becomes a problem. Try to focus on things you can control, like where you get information from actions to make yourself feel better prepared.
Think about your new daily routine
Think about how you can create new routines - try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend).
Do things you enjoy
When you're feeling anxious or low, you may do things that you usually enjoy, less often. Focusing on your favourite hobby, learning something new or simply taking some time to relax should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and boost your mood.
Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose - think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home. It could be watching a film, reading a book or learning something online.
Keep your mind active
Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. Find something that works for you to keep your mind active.
Take time to relax and focus on the present
This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future and can improve wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety.
Get outside or bring nature indoors
Spending time in green spaces can benefit your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can't go outside, spend time with the windows open (where safe to do so) to let in fresh air or arrange space to sit with a nice view.
Join a club
Andy's Man Club is a free peer-to-peer group that provides a place for men to come together in a safe and open environment to talk about the issues or problems that they have faced or are currently facing.
The process is about bringing men together who have been in similar situations to help each other on a peer-to-peer basis, sharing advice on how they have dealt with difficult situations.
The club is open to any man aged 18 or over who is going through a storm, been through a storm or just wants to meet a good group of people with the aim of improving one another.
Andy's Man Club meets every Monday at 7pm (excluding Bank Holidays). There are 50 locations across the UK - visit the website for a full list of locations.
Get a mental health wellbeing coach
Mental Health Wellbeing Coaches provide personal support and motivation to adults who may be struggling with their emotional wellbeing.
The role of the Mental Health Wellbeing Coach is a 'New Look' hybrid role that seeks to support you in addressing your mental wellbeing but looking at all factors including social, mental and physical elements that may be playing a part in the way you are feeling.
If you want to become healthier but don't know where to start, a Mental Health
Wellbeing Coach will be able to help you work out exactly what you want and how to go about it.
The coaches are friendly, understanding and supportive. They will help and encourage you to achieve and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Your Mental Health Wellbeing Coach will be able to guide and support you with:
- Low level stress
- Feeling lonely and isolated
- Bereavement/loss and grief
- Low level anxiety
- Low self esteem
- Depression/low mood
- Sleep hygiene
- Relationship challenges
- Substance misuse
- COVID-19 recovery
- Chronic pain
You and your Mental Health Wellbeing Coach will have a one-to-one confidential meeting to agree healthy changes to your wellbeing. This service is free and confidential and is open from Monday to Friday 8am-8pm.
John Skidmore, director of adults, health and customer services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: "If you or someone you know is struggling to look after themselves mentally, socially or physically, there is support available.
"It's important that people take time out for themselves and whilst it isn't always easy in such challenging times, I believe that the good people of the East Riding will rally round and give each other the support that they need."
Clare Greaves, a team leader from Beverley, said: "Throughout my life I have had to manage my own mental health and have at times felt very alone and isolated.
"I have not always felt able to open up about how I feel because I was worried about what people would think.
"I used to pretend that everything was fine and yet underneath I was struggling to understand my feelings.
"It was only later in life that I became brave enough to ask for help and it was at this point that things started to change for me.
"I was surprised by how understanding people were, how many people feel the same and this gave me the confidence to talk more openly about my feelings.
"This confidence gave me the courage to start Mental Health Mates Beverley in March 2019.
"This is a peer support group that meets regularly in Beverley to walk and talk without fear of judgement.
"Our group is going from strength to strength and the friendships that have formed over the last two years are working together to change lives.
"By taking an active role in our local community, I have learned that there are some fantastic organisations and people out there that are willing to help.
"There are Mental Health Mates groups in Beverley and Bridlington, Andy's Man Club has opened in Beverley, there is a local Men in Sheds; r-evolution offer amazing opportunities and there is also some fantastic support offered by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the NHS.
"If there is one thing I have learned from my journey is that reaching out can change your life, and in my case, probably saved my life.
"There are so many people out there who truly understand and talking to them openly and honestly without fear of judgement is the best medicine.
"If there is anyone out there struggling today, please remember, it's okay to not be okay."
For more information about Mental Health Mates Beverley (walk and talk) visit mentalhealthmates.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information and support about how to improve your mental health, as well as other issues such as financial support, visit happyandwell.me