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Managing Your Mental Health And Wellbeing

From the NHS to Mind Charity, many organisations have resources available online on how you can look after yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, please read more about our wellbeing services for RAF veterans and serving personnel.

Top tips from Rethink Mental Illness

 

Turn off news notifications on your phone

The temptation to grab the phone at every notification can be overwhelming. If you want to stay informed, set some time aside each morning and evening to log onto the internet.

Mute people sharing updates or misinformation

Muting someone doesn't mean you have to unfollow them but it does mean you don’t see their posts for a while - and they won’t be notified that you have done this.

Equip yourself with information from trusted sources

If you want to equip yourself with the latest information about the Coronavirus then make sure you turn to a source of information that you can trust.

Discuss your fears with someone you trust

If you are feeling anxious or worried about the coronavirus then it can be good to get someone else’s point of view. Think about who you speak to - speaking to someone else who is struggling might not be best.

Distract yourself with the things you enjoy

Making time in your day to do the things you enjoy is a good way to distract yourself from the news cycle. Take an hour out of your day to go for a walk or maybe find somewhere quiet to sit with a book.

Eat well, Sleep well

It is very easy to forget to have a well-balanced meal when we are stressed or anxious - but cooking can help detract from negative thoughts and ensure that you eat well.

After a good meal, don't forget to wind down ready for bed. Spend at least an hour winding down from your day with the television or the internet turned off and unwind with a warm bath or maybe a book.

Read more on Rethink Mental Illness.

Top tips from NHS

 

Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:

  • help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth.
  • give you an opportunity to share positive experiences.
  • provide emotional support and allow you to support others.

Be physically active

Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • raising your self-esteem.
  • helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them.
  • causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood.

Learn new skills

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem.
  • helping you to build a sense of purpose.
  • helping you to connect with others.

Give to others

Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • creating positive feelings and a sense of reward.
  • giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
  • helping you connect with other people

Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.

  • raising your self-esteem.
  • helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them.
  • causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood.

Read more on NHS.

Top tips from Mind

 

Eat well and stay hydrated

Think about your diet. Your appetite might change if your routine changes, or if you're less active than you usually are.

Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health.

Keep taking your medication

You might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone. Or you may be able to do this online using an app or website, if your doctor's surgery offers this.

You can also ask your pharmacy about getting your medication delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you.

Continue accessing treatment and support if possible

Ask about having appointments by phone, text or online. For example, this could be with your counsellor, therapist or support worker.

Take care of your immediate environment

If you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy, although this is different for different people.

If you live with other people, keeping things tidy might feel more important if you're all at home together. But you might have different ideas about what counts as 'tidy' or how much it matters. It could help to decide together how you'll use different spaces. And you could discuss what each person needs to feel comfortable.

Find ways to work and study from home

If you have a job which is possible to do from your home, you may be working from home a lot more than usual. You might find this situation difficult to get used to.

Mind's Workplace Wellbeing team has more tips for people working from home, including advice if you manage others while working remotely.

If you have children, you may also need to look after them if they are no longer going to school or college.

If you are working from home more than usual, you may find it especially difficult if you are also looking after children who would usually be in nursery, school or college while you work.

Think about how to balance your work with caring for your children. If you have an employer, they may be able to help you balance your work and childcare responsibilities.

Read more on Mind.

Breathing exercise provide by the NHS

This breathing technique might help alleviate stress and anxiety. It takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere. To get the most benefit, do it regularly as part of your daily routine.

 

Step by step

If you can, loosen any clothes that restrict your breathing. Make yourself as comfortable as you can and choose the position you find most convenient.

If you're lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight, or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.

If you're sitting, place your arms on the chair arms. If you're sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you're in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.

  • Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in gently and regularly.
  • Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5.
  • You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
  • Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Mental wellbeing audio guides

The NHS offers a series of mental wellbeing audio guides to help you boost your mood. You can listen to them privately, in your own time, to help you through feelings such as anxiety or a low mood.

The guides include:

  • Low mood, sadness and depression.
  • Anxiety control training.
  • Overcoming sleep problems.
  • Low confidence and assertiveness.
  • Unhelpful thinking.

Wellbeing support for the RAF family

We continue to provide emotional support to the RAF family, our Listening & Counselling service is now being provided over the phone or via video calls. We also offer free Headspace memberships to serving RAF personnel. See more information if you are:

A VETERAN SERVING

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