Tips to improve your mental health and wellbeing
PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 October 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has led to increased levels of stress, anxiety and loneliness for many due to the loss of loved ones, redundancies and restrictions on our daily lives.
To help people improve their mental health and wellbeing over the winter, North Somerset Council is encouraging people to stay connected with family and friends, to talk about their worries and take part in activities they enjoy.
The authority’s public health team recommends five ways to boost your mood:
n Connect – people need people and positive relationships are important to our wellbeing. You can do this socially distanced, or online.
n Learn - being inquisitive and learning something new can improve your wellbeing and provide a sense of achievement. There are lots of free courses and resources online.
n Be active – it improves mood, confidence, sleeping habits and concentration, whilst also reducing stress and depression.
n Take notice - actively bring your mind’s attention and interest to the world around you and yourselves, such as the changing colour of leaves, and how calm you feel outdoors.
n Give - acts of kindness help improve wellbeing and improve feelings of self-worth, they also connect you with others. Look out for neighbours, or volunteer.
Looking after your physical health such as eating healthily, exercising, not smoking and cutting down on alcohol can also benefit your mental health.
Aware North Somerset raises awareness about mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention and members have held events such as the Feelgood Festival at Clevedon’s Salthouse Fields and a Hopewalk in Portishead.
Members set up an isolation group on Facebook during the lockdown – to help people who were self-isolating and shielding for health reasons – and more than 50 people signed up to access the support.
Alan McCready, from Aware, said: “People have joined us throughout lockdown. We’ve connected people through regular Happy Mondays Zoom calls, Sunday evening quizzes, talks, and light-hearted posts.
“We even ran a 12-hour non-stop Chat-athon in June, where we highlighted the importance of staying connected. The group and these events offer members safe spaces, but also routine, involvement and a sense of community.
“After restrictions eased, we set up weekly, socially distanced Walk and Talk sessions in Nailsea and Clevedon, and we’re also running socially distanced Peer Support groups in partnership with Clarity-IMHN.
“For this year’s World Mental Health Day we had a Five Ways for Wellbeing animation due for completion by Sam Potter, a local cartoonist and animator, and a piece from Aware’s ‘Complaints Choir’ – a creative look at some of the concerns, issues and experiences of our group during lockdown. We’re also planning a new Talking Point bench in Nailsea – like the one on Clevedon seafront. “Talking Point benches take the form of a semicolon which has become a universal symbol in mental health, trauma and suicide survival.
“Like authors use the semicolon to show a sentence hasn’t finished, the semicolon has become the symbol that ‘My Story Isn’t Over’.
“The bench is a talking bench, to encourage conversation and connection within the community, but also to provoke the conversation around mental health by its very existence.
“We want a Talking Point bench in every town to ensure the conversation around mental health continues, and that it is never far from people’s minds to check in with each other and support one another.”
North Somerset Council is also offering a one-off grant to community organisations which support mental health.
The Covid-19 community grant is a new initiative set up to help communities affected by the pandemic. Community groups and projects can apply for grants between £2,000 and £10,000 for projects centred around mental health and wellbeing.
The authority has also commissioned a range of mental health courses for anyone who works or volunteers in North Somerset.
For more information about the grant, or the courses, log on to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/covidmhgrant
To find out more about mental health and wellbeing support, log on to www.n-somerset.gov.uk/everymindmatters
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