Getting help before a crisis

hands-self care

This week’s topic was set a couple of months ago, but as many nations in the world readjust to lockdown it is important that we, and our policy makers attend to looking after our mental wellbeing.  We had not anticipated that the whole world would be in a crisis.  We are in this together; there is a lot of help and support out there.  Nearly all are affected by the rise in global fear and uncertainty, the change in routine.  Some are facing devastating financial consequences or a domestic situation which may now be very isolating or, on the opposite spectrum offers no respite from a difficult or even dangerous relationship. For people living with a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety, depression, OCD or bi-polar, there is a temporary inability to access usual support, this is a challenging time.

The group who meet for ‘A Life Worth Living’ are skilled and supportive of each other in recognising when they may be becoming unwell and what can be put in place which helps.  We will look at a few of these things now and then consider some of the extra advice which is now offering additional strategies for managing this health crisis and all of it’s other implications.

Over the years of various conversations in the group we have learned that there are some signs to start paying attention to in order to maintain mental wellbeing; these are a change in sleeping patterns such as insomnia, disrupted sleep or oversleeping; significant changes in mood, such as feeling low or high, a loss of routine which may impact taking medication, attending appointments and again, sleep or meals.  These factors may lead to previous coping strategies such as self-harm or risk taking; for example addictive behaviours like overspending or using substances.  Please search our archive for previous topics.

So what helps?  Well, our first defence is awareness and recognition of some of the above signs which can make us vulnerable to becoming unwell.  Once we are aware we can put some strategies in place and get help.

General tips for mental well being in addition to the five steps to well-being pictured below are to eat well, rest well and avoid stress! All sometimes easier said than done.

In order to take care of an existing mental health diagnosis it is good to have a knowledge of yourself and when you might be vulnerable.  Perhaps there are people you can talk to if you have noticed a change in mood or routine, or maybe you keep a self-care box, ready with phone numbers of supportive friends and family, helplines, chocolate, favourite socks, poems or quotes, anything which will remind you to be kind and compassionate to yourself, that you are deserving of care and the things which will look after you if you start to struggle.

5 ways to wellbeing

Please see the links below for more ways to look after your mental health at this time:

How to protect your mental health from the BBC

Mental health messages from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Mental Health Foundation-looking after your mental health during coronavirus

BBC Radio 4 interview discussing managing bi-polar during Covid-19 (at 5 mins in)


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