Looking after our mental health is something that’s incredibly important to me, so it is such a pleasure for me to be guest editing Metro.co.uk’s Platform section today to round out Mental Health Awareness Week.
I have difficult days just like everyone else, but during those times it’s important to keep going, because the tough times don’t last.
The past year has been an interesting one to say the least. We’ve all had more time at home. For me, it meant a little more time to relax, but it also brought a load of uncertainty, which at times wrought havoc on my wellbeing.
To cope with the pressures, I found myself turning to my favourite hobbies and relaxing activities.
I have a few different coping mechanisms that really help me look after my mental health; routine, structure and crafting being key components.
With lockdown now drawing to a much needed close, it’s so important that we still find time to keep up our hobbies that have kept us going over the past 12 months or so.
So whatever it is that keeps you happy, make sure you continue to schedule in time on your own and look after your mental wellbeing as life gets back to normal. Here are some of my top tips to help you on your way.
I love writing things down! I find putting pen to paper and reflecting on my day can have such a positive impact on my state of mind. If you’ve not journaled before, why not start by finding at least one positive thing that has happened in a day, or if you’ve had a bad day, think about what you can learn from it and turn that into a positive.
Having and maintaining structure and routine in your life can help you feel more organised and in control. The pandemic has dramatically altered many of our routines, however doing simple tasks such as setting goals can help manage stress levels and encourage you to stay on track.
Friends and family can help keep us grounded and help us put things in perspective. Staying connected is so important and I always come away feeling so much better after speaking with loved ones. Something my daughters and I have loved doing is writing handwritten notes on cards and sending them out in the post. There’s nothing like receiving personalised mail and it gives me such joy to send them too.
What’s so nice about the past year is we have all picked up new skills, or rediscovered hobbies we used to love. Baking with my daughters is such a nice activity and I think they’ve really enjoyed spending quality time with mummy too. So whether you also started baking, or you got into crafting, or even learned a language, make sure you keep at it. It’s what got you through lockdown and will help in the future too.
Taking time to slow down and plug into a podcast that inspires and educates is really important to me. When I listen to my favourite podcasts I feel incredibly motivated to go out there and do something positive. So find something that works for you! We don’t all have to be inspired by the same thing but a short 20 minute podcast every once in a while can work wonders.
The past year has been really up and down, but I’ve found that curling up with a good book is a great distraction from the stresses of everyday life. Whether it be outside or in a quiet corner, reading is calming for the mind. Find a window of time when you can focus on your reading, rather than trying to squeeze it into a busy day or get a few pages in before bedtime.
Running is a great way to make space for yourself and your emotions. I find it really helps free the mind and lets you just notice what’s around you – a great tip for banishing negative thoughts and boosting your mood. If you don’t feel you can run a marathon from a standing start that’s OK – walking, shuffling, jogging, it’s all movement and time to yourself.
Getting out to the countryside is one of life’s simplest pleasures. If you have children, setting little nature tasks such as going on a scavenger hunt is ideal for getting kids out in the fresh air too. And it creates that all important family time, which if the last year has done anything, it is to remind us all just how important it is to spend time together.
I can’t stress this enough, it’s so important to make time for yourself and keep up your hobbies as we begin to come out of lockdown. Personally, I really enjoy carving out some ‘me’ time and practising arts and crafts using my Cricut Joy machine. Whether that’s making cards for my friends and family or making labels [I label EVERYTHING at home now!]. Doing so has meant that I’ve had to focus my mind solely on what I’m creating, providing a welcome release from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and helping to keep me mindful.
So much of what we encounter day to day on social media can be stressful. But you can break that trend and add a dose of positive thinking into the social media mix by following people that inspire you. Whether you find a mummy blogger who reminds you that you are doing a great job, or you’re inspired by a local entrepreneur, make sure your social media feeds are full of positive and encouraging content.
Metro.co.uk MHAW Takeover
This year, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Metro.co.uk has invited eight well-known mental health advocates to take over our site.
With a brilliant team that includes Alex Beresford, Russell Kane, Frankie Bridge, Anton Ferdinand, Sam Thompson, Scarlett Moffatt, Katie Piper and Joe Tracini, each of our guest editors have worked closely with us to share their own stories, and also educate, support and engage with our readers.
If you need help or advice for any mental health matter, here are just some of the organisations that were vital in helping us put together our MHAW Takeover:
- Mental Health Foundation
- Rethink Mental Illness
To contact any of the charities mentioned in the Metro.co.uk MHAW Takeover click here
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