Whether you’re struggling to cope with stress or loneliness, missing the small joys in life, or those Monday – or weeklong – blues are getting you down, we’ve got your back. Looking after your mental health can be difficult at the best of times, but a year of being stuck at home, limited socialising and restricted access to leisure activities, has made it even harder. We know that things have been pretty rough, and it’s not surprising that the lockdowns of the last 12 months have caused the highest anxiety levels ever recorded in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. But it’s important to remember that there’s plenty of support available to get you through tough times.
Narrowing the gap
Dealing with loneliness has been, for millions of people around the country, one of the most difficult aspects of the past year. We know that limited time spent with friends and family and restricted access to our favourite leisure activities has really taken its toll. Online communication has brought many of us closer together, even when there’s physical distance between us. Social media, video-calling and telephone calls can connect us to our loved ones, while group chats, texts and online chat services can allow us to share our feelings with the people we trust. Don’t forget to reach out to those you love if you’re feeling lonely, and to encourage others to contact you.
Keep your ears open
Changes in routines and the closure of schools and workplaces have also led to added stress, not just for us, but also for our children. Some young people have struggled with being away from school and their peers, while others have found it difficult coming to terms with different living situations or daily schedules, or with worries about their future.
As parents or carers also trying to navigate a novel and uncomfortable set of circumstances, it can be difficult for us to know how to help look after the mental health of a young person. Remember that you can provide support just by listening to your child and valuing what they say in a non-judgemental manner, paying attention to their emotions, and being involved in their life and the things that are important to them.
To remain mentally healthy, children require many of the same things that we do! For more information about looking after children’s mental health, check out the NHS Every Mind Matters guide.
Let’s get quizzical
If you are struggling with low mood, either as a result of the pandemic and its restrictions or more generally, there is plenty of support available. The NHS, for instance, offers a Mind Plan Quiz that can guide you through a hard time with tailored advice and useful tips. Questions about your mood, sleep, anxiety and stress levels, and worries allow the quiz to generate helpful ideas to help you look after yourself. It reminds you that speaking to your GP or accessing the NHS can be useful, while also suggesting ways that you can keep active, decrease stress, combat loneliness and keep calm in the face of challenging situations.
For a few more assets that might be helpful in tough times, check out these great resources from the NHS:
- What you can do to help you cope with loneliness
- Advice on Children’s Mental Health
- Take the Mind Plan Quiz
We hope that you aren’t having a hard time, but if you are, these tips and resources can help you through it. For more support and information about mental health, check out the NHS Every Mind Matters hub.