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10 Top Tips for Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week! What an interesting time for it to fall! 

Some of us will be finding lockdown good for our mental and emotional health – more sleep, more time for close relationships, less pressure, no commute – and some of us might feel like we’re slowly being driven mad – can’t get away from some people, can’t connect easily with others, can’t do our favourite form of exercise, hate working from home and detest Zoom – and so on. 

So here are some ideas and links that might help if you’re struggling or make it even better if you’re secretly having the best time of your life! 

10 Top Tips for Maintaining Mental and Emotional Health 

  1. Exercise every day. Find the way that gives you most joy. 

  1. Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and veg. 

  1. Sleep to a regular pattern, at least 7 - 9 hours for adults, more for younger people. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need 

  1. Connect with other people to a degree that suits you! In lockdown, that might be making extra efforts to connect if you’re feeling lonely or being firm about boundaries if you need more space. 

  1. Look after something or someone – a child, a pet, even a plant! 

  1. Connect with nature. If you’re getting fed up of a daily walk, maybe consider it as a ‘forest bath’:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stuZaKB9j7I 

  1. Include creativity to your life. You don’t have to physically ‘make’ something – creative thinking, creating relationships, creating systems – it’s all helpful. 

  1. Find the meaning in your work. Here’s a thought-provoking video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H91JDqeR_jg 

  2. Do something voluntary. Acts of kindness, however small, help us to feel better, whether it’s simply sending someone a card or doing a socially distanced visit to someone in shielded lockdown. 

  3. Find a practice that helps you to manage your thoughts and your physical and emotional reactions. It could be Mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, prayer or a religious practice – these are just some examples. 

These tips are as important for children and young people as for adults. As parents, we might find the resource below a helpful prompt. I’m particularly interested in point 10: ‘As your child grows up, encourage and support autonomy.’ I’m delighted to see more people out and about cycling and walking – but it’s rare that I see a child or young person alone. This is so very different from when I was a child. I often wonder how our young people can develop resilience and autonomy when they are so protected. You’ve heard of the ‘helicopter’ parent, I’m sure. There is also the ‘snowplough’ parent – the one who clears every obstacle in their child’s path! 

Now might be a very good time to give your child or young person a bit more rope! Traffic is still relatively light and social distancing means that any unwelcome ‘up close and personal’ attention is more obvious. Perhaps we can use this strange limbo time to help boost our children’s autonomy? 

I wish you all the very best! 

Meg Harper