The 18th – 24th May 2020 marks Mental Health Awareness Week. Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, the theme this year is around kindness.
The last few months have had an unexpected impact on many people’s mental health as we’ve come to terms with living life in lockdown, and so Mental Health Awareness Week couldn’t have fallen at a more pertinent time.
We know that one way to show kindness is by looking out for others. So, we asked our Carrots what steps they’ve been taking to look after their mental wellbeing during lockdown – and we hope their suggestions might help others:
Martin Anderson – We’ve been having a good clear out of various rooms / cupboards etc. It’s been most satisfying!! Exercise, fresh air, keeping to a routine of sorts, red wine and the good weather have all helped too!
Hayley Shayestehroo – Fresh air, fresh air, fresh air for me! And exercise REALLY helps my stress levels, so I have been doing most of it outdoors to combine the two. I’ve also started meditating at night.
Alice Smith – Sticking to a structure with work and making the most of being able to speak to knowledgeable and positive healthcare experts has really helped me!
I’ve mainly been relying heavily on the pets for my mental health – regular exercise in the woods with them (benefitting from forest bathing too) and unconditional furry hugs on tap. Making the most of the nature on our doorstep and taking the time to appreciate it; noticing spring flowers coming out, growing veg and enjoying seeing that unfold and enjoying the fantastic weather we have had.
Tackling the jobs around the house that have long needed doing is immensely rewarding and a good way of having little wins. Allowing myself to have a break and not stressing over a weekend of lounging around playing on the Nintendo and watching films! And…that is now my life.
Matt Goldrick – Running and HiiT – me and Joe Wicks are best mates now. I’ve been enjoying using Strava to track runs and I’m looking forward to getting back on the golf course now they’re reopening. Away from exercise, I’ve also dusted off the Playstation and been enjoying playing on that.
Louise Lavelle – Exercise! My run club has gone virtual so we Zoom to warm up and cool down together to keep face-2-face contact, then run independently. Our club leader has also started doing virtual HIIT sessions and organised a duathlon.
I do the occasional “Draw with Rob” session with the children which is very therapeutic. Rob Biddulph draws animations and carton pictures that children can easily copy and colour.
I’ve been getting outside as much as possible to appreciate the cleaner, quieter air and the increase in birds and wildlife. And I end my week with a friends and family quiz every Saturday evening, accompanied by a few gins to help me feel like I have some social life!
Alice Kirkland – I’ve been missing my gym classes so have been doing Zoom versions instead – knowing someone is watching me live really motivates me to work hard. I’ve been fortunate to have my bike so have been cycling out of the city centre to local parks for some greenery and big open spaces.
I took up cross stich, which I found really relaxing and a nice distraction, and we’ve had a puzzle on the go for a while too.
I’ve taken to nurturing things too. My house plants have never received so much attention and I’ve tried my hand at growing some seeds on the balcony. I’ve also become way too emotionally invested in the local goslings living on the stretch of canal below.
Hannah Hall – I’ve been running further than ever before and reading lots of books – I highly recommend ‘I Can Run’ by Amy Lane to combine both. I’ve been getting lots of sleep so I’m feeling very rested and been catching up with friends and family via Zoom. Baking has helped to take my mind off the news, and we’ve always been into our cooking but have taken this to a whole new level now. A four-hour simmer? No problem!
Maintaining a healthy body and mind is one of the best ways to combat any anxiety, depression or loneliness being felt right now, but this is often easier said than done.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need someone to talk to there are lots of organisations and support networks out there to help. We’ve linked to a few of these below:
Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/
Anxiety UK – www.anxietyuk.org.uk
CALM – www.thecalmzone.net
Samaritans – www.samaritans.org.uk
Young Minds – www.youngminds.org.uk