The impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and has changed society in ways that will take years to recover from. The economy, the health service being pushed beyond its limits and people losing family and loved ones – it’s hit the whole world in a way we could have never imagined.
Despite the easing of some restrictions, the ‘stay at home’ message remains strong, which means many of us are socially interacting much less than we are used to. Not being able to see family and friends in person, go out for dinner or, for some, even go to work, is a huge shift in lifestyle and one that the majority haven’t experienced in our lifetimes.
But what impact is this pandemic having on our mental health? According to United Nations health experts, we are on the verge of a mental health crisis and it’s vital that we take action to look after our own mental health and well-being, as well as that of others where possible too.
With 2020 Mental Health Awareness Week upon us, the theme being kindness, it seems more important than ever to find ways we can be kind to ourselves and others by talking, reaching out and showing that no one is alone.
Here at Ergonix, mental health awareness is incredibly important to us, and we’ve put together some ideas about how, through even small gestures of kindness, you can help keep other people’s and our own mental health in check.
Talk to people
Pick up the phone for those who you think might need some virtual company. A conversation could be the difference between someone feeling alone and feeling like there is someone there for them.
If you know of any elderly or vulnerable people living on your street who may be feeling isolated, deliver a small care package to their doorstep. It doesn’t have to be much – a small note, a cake, some coffee, flowers – just something that will help to make them smile.
Post letters or children’s artwork to family members
Most children love to draw so get them to put their skills to the test and post the pictures to family members. It’s bound to cheer them up and make them feel closer whilst their not able to physically be together.
Decorate the outside of your house
Put rainbows, drawings and positive messages in the windows. Seeing these will lift the spirits of passers-by and can help them to feel less alone in this situation, particularly if they are vulnerable to mental health problems.
Volunteer in the local community
Help those who are unable to leave their house by volunteering to deliver medication and other essentials. These people may be at greater risk of mental health problems, particularly if they live alone, so knowing they have people to help could help to reduce stress and anxiety.
This is one of the best things you can do to improve your mental health. Exercise is proven to reduce stress, as well as increase energy levels and help us sleep better too.
Diet can play a huge role in how we feel. Healthy eating, like exercising, gives us energy and helps to improve our mood.
Have a routine
As tempting as it seems to stay in your pyjamas all day, it’s important that you find a routine for your day. It will help to give your day purpose and give you a sense of achievement – something that can be a huge boost to your mental well-being.
Do something for you
This is particularly important if you are juggling family life and/or work every day. It’s important to take time for yourself. Have a bath, go for a walk on your own, and do some gardening. Whatever you like doing to relax and unwind, make sure you do something you enjoy.
Arrange regular video or phone catch-ups with family and friends. This interaction can have a hugely positive impact on how you feel and can help to stop you from feeling isolated.
Our services at Ergonix have also been adapted to account for the potential increase in mental health problems during the COVID-19 crisis and we are now providing psychological support for those working from home too.
Our new service gives people access to a professional telephone or video-based one-to-one with a registered psychotherapist and counsellor and offers support to anyone who is in need of talking to a professional during these difficult times. We can help with issues including social isolation, work/home-related stress, anxiety, depression and many more.
As we look to 2020 Mental Health Awareness Week to make sure mental health and well-being are at the forefront of our minds, remember there are always people you can talk to if you are feeling stressed, anxious, isolated or vulnerable. Information about how to access help can be found on these pages: