2 articles Tag counselling

Online Counseling and Other Ways to Care for Your Mental Health

Whether you’re back to normal and going out and about, or still trying to isolate as much as possible, there’s little doubt about the fact that lockdown had an effect on the mental health of many people. As humans, we’re usually social creatures who need to feel a sense of togetherness and community, even if it’s something as simple as a chat to the other school mums in the morning, or a cheery hello from the person serving you in your local shop.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about ways that we can galvanise our mental health, especially if we have a second wave incoming, and I’m sharing them with you today:

Be Active

Besides doing various exercises that help keep the mind active, there are other ways to be active mentally. You can choose a book of your choice to read. Reading a book regularly can help keep your mind alert and active throughout. But, reading a book can sometimes be boring, and this might make you slack. The best thing to do is to set a reminder and schedule time to read. You can also challenge your memory. You can do so by playing chess or learning something new.

To remain active, it would also be best to partake in online racing games. They can improve your brain functionality when you think critically about how to finish a certain level. They can also help reduce stress and improve your decision-making skills. Additionally, engaging yourself in stimulating talks can help keep your mind active. In a group or with a friend, you can choose to discuss a topic that will challenge you to think globally.

Find a Counselor

Never underestimate the amount of mental wellbeing a counselor can offer, and thanks to technology, you don’t even need to be face to face. BetterHelp offers online counselling services, and can match you to the right mental health professional for you. Booking yourself in for a weekly chat to vent your frustration and fears can have a profound effect on your mental health.

Find a Hobby

Unless you live in a house which is equipped with all sorts of entertainment areas, the chances are, you were bored at least once during lockdown. Boredom can be devastating to your mental health and the overthinkers amongst us can dread time alone with their thoughts. Finding a new hobby can really help to combat this – I’ve taken up cross stitch since lockdown began and it’s something that’s really helped to give me a focus and a distraction.

Depending on your likes and interests, some hobbies are easier to do at home than others are. If you’re good with your hands and you love solving puzzles, consider hobbies like picking a lock, jewelry making, pottery (if you have the space), or even calligraphy. You can certainly pass the time picking up new skills or discovering new things.

Get Some Exercise

Keeping your body healthy can have a really big knock-on effect on your mind, not least of all because you release endorphins, the “happy hormones”, when you work up a sweat. It’s difficult with gyms being shut, but there are lots of exercise tutorials on YouTube. If that’s not your cup of tea, simply stick some headphones on and go for a walk.

Have a Spa Day

You don’t need to leave the house to treat yourself to some spa treatments – there are plenty of things you can do at home which will make you feel like a new person! Face masks, hair masks, long baths and even self-massage can all help you to feel like you’ve been pampered and nurtured, and taking the time to care for your physical appearance is vital to better mental health.

Do Something Nice

You’d be surprised at the mental boost you can get from doing something nice for someone else. Write a letter, send a box of chocolates in the post, you could even just mow an delderly neighbour’s lawn without being asked. The glow you get from doing something nice for someone else can really bolster your mental wellbeing.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Today I learned through Jo Middleton’s blog Slummy Single Mummy that today is the start of Mental Health Awareness Week. We’re all aware that ‘mental health’ or mental health issues exist, so what does this really mean? Raising awareness for something that we all already know about?

But, how much do you really know, and how much of it is an assumption?

If I said to you that someone was a paranoid schizophrenic, you may assume that said person was dangerous to be around. Did you know that, actually, people with paranoid schizophrenia are actually extremely unlikely to be violent to either themselves or others?

If I told you that I knew a person with severe post-natal depression or even post-natal post traumatic stress disorder, you’d probably assume, through no fault of your own, that I was talking about a woman. Did you know that it’s estimated that up to 25% of new dads experience some form of PND or PTSD?

Did you know that, despite certain terms being bandied about and used as common language, true cases of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder actually only account for between 2-7% of the population, whilst people with bipolar are around 0.9% and 2.1% of the adult population?

For me, Mental Health Week is not about making us aware that metal health problems exist, it’s about educating ourselves, smashing the stigma and the stereotypes and trying harder to be compassionate to others. It’s so easy to label people, put them into a box and write them off as ‘mental’ or ‘mad’, but have you ever stopped to think what it’s like to live with these afflictions? NO-ONE would choose to live with these illnesses, people who seriously self-harm don’t do it for attention. I guarantee you, the people who self-harm because they are mentally compelled to are the ones you’d never know about, not the silly school girls comparing chicken scratches on their arms.

Take the time to educate yourselves and perhaps suicide rates, which are higher in the UK than anywhere else in the EU, would drop.

Or don’t. It’s up to you. Just know that no-one is immune to mental illness and knowing how to help someone you love could make all the difference. If you’re struggling please connect with a therapist near you.