This year has been a tough one for us all with the coronavirus pandemic and months of lockdown having had a huge impact on our mental health.
According to a recent Mind study, more than half of adults (60%) and over two thirds of young people (68%) who answered their survey said their mental health got worse during lockdown. The report also states that many people have developed new mental health problems as a result of the pandemic and, for some, existing mental health problems have gotten worse.
Winter can be a very lonely time for people with no family nearby, or indeed anyone who is missing loved ones as we follow the latest guidance to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities. It’s really important to check in safely with your family, friends or neighbours who may be elderly or vulnerable and need help with certain tasks or be updated with the latest coronavirus guidance.
The dark winter months can bring a host of mental health issues to the forefront of our minds. Be kind to yourself and make time for things that make you happy. From a simple cuppa, to a warm bath, take moments to have some calm time and a break away from the stresses of everyday life.
Christmas can be one of the most challenging times for people who may have lost loved ones or be struggling at home. It’s really important we take time to ask one another ‘are you ok?’ and encourage people to talk.
Five ways to mental wellbeing
There are many people of all ages living with mental health problems and if you or someone you care about is struggling, try just taking one of the NHS five steps to wellbeing to improve your mental health:
- Connect with other people – good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can help you to build a sense of belonging, provide an opportunity to share positive experiences and give emotional support.
- Be physically active – evidence shows physical activity can improve your mental wellbeing by raising your self-esteem, helping you to set goals and by causing chemical changes in your brain which help to positively change your mood.
- Learn new skills – research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing boosting your self-confidence and giving you a sense of purpose.
- Give to others – acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings and help you connect with other people.
- Pay attention to the present moment – mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and help you focus on the now rather than anxieties about the future.
There are many local and online mental health services which can provide support and guidance at times when you or someone you know might feel a little bit lost. Find out what’s available in Doncaster by visiting our mental health services webpage.
- NHS Moodzone
- Health Matters – a guide to mindfulness
- Doncaster Council webpage ‘Importance of mental wellbeing’
- NHS Every Mind Matters
- Doncaster Mental Health Contact Information
- Shout 85258 – the UK’s first free, confidential, 24/7 text support service. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and need mental health support.
Above: Doncaster Council’s ‘Coping with Covid’ video.
The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted issues for many people but there is help and support available. For more information – visit Doncaster Council’s website: www.doncaster.gov.uk/copingwithcovid