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Mental Health Awareness week – tips for looking after your wellbeing

With today being the start of Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK, we’ve got together with Manchester Mind and Headstock Festival to discuss this year’s theme of Kindness and to share a few top tips for keeping you mentally well both during the lockdown, and beyond.

Tonight, they’re putting on a very special event with Headstock Festival and United We Stream GM called ‘Moving Through the Silence’. The two-hour live stream marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, as well as the start of Mental Health Awareness Week. We’re honoured to be supporting the event, and we hope you all tune in!  70% of all donations tonight goes directly to the great service Manchester Mind offer.

Looking after your wellbeing

The current situation is one that most of us have never faced before – and hopefully, will never have to face again. Once the novelty of home-based life has worn off, many of you may find that your mood and sense of wellbeing is starting to dip.  Looking after your mental health this year has never been more important for some, and more could potentially be experiencing it for the first time.  That’s why it’s important to be kind to yourself as well as one another.

For some, lockdown can really take a toll on their wellbeing and sense of belonging.  After catching up with Manchester Mind on how you can look after your mental health, we’ve collected a few size? recommendations on these 5 top tips.

The first tip is to try learning something new, it seems obvious but this is a great opportunity to dedicate some time to learning a new skill. Learning new things is a great way to build our resilience and keep our mind active.

Our suggestions include:

Open University online courses (£).

Learning a new language: Apps include babel, duolingo.

Learning sign language.

Ted Talks – from expert speakers on education, business, science, tech and creativity.

Make a bucket list.

Clear out your kitchen cupboards.

Then learn to cook something new.

Learn photography.

It’s easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the current situation, and that’s why another of the five ways of wellbeing is taking notice of what is positive in the moment or putting some time aside for formal meditation.  It’s a great way to keep yourself grounded amid the noise.

There are plenty of great meditation apps out there – Headspace and Calm to name a couple – that remind you to take a breather, practice ‘Mindfulness’, and check in with how you’re feeling. Taking only a few minutes of your time, they can really help to wash away the stress and anxieties of the day.  Make it part of your routine so you don’t see it as a chore.

Connecting with others is such an important part of our mental wellbeing, and this year it’s our usual ways of connecting that may be harder than usual.  The rise of apps and video calling is on the rise but remember to check in on those friends you’ve not heard from in a while too. No-one hates a random message out of the blue to say that you’re thinking of them.

Here are a few ways to inspire you:

Arranging zoom ‘dates’ with friends and family.

Remember facetime for video calls – it always feels more connected to see people rather than just seeing texts from them.

Game night: whenever and from wherever you are.

We might not be able to go to the cinemas, but Netflix Party is a great replacement.

Receiving something in the post can be much of a mood lifter than a text.

Exercise is important for both our physical and mental health. Everyone will have their favourites – and some fitness studios and trainers are putting their classes online or on Youtube, but if you’re struggling to get started then here are some top tips:

Start slowly and build up gradually – sounds obvious but trust us, we’ve learnt from experience.

Make a plan and goals covering how, when and where you’ll get active can really help to motivate you.

Try out different activities until you find one you like and that works for you. 

Repeat the bits you enjoy daily and keep trying new activities that inspire and motivate you.

Remember, every little helps. Even the best started somewhere and that’s at the beginning.

When you’re younger it always seemed better to receive a gift than to give one. But as we get older, it’s clear that giving can bring us just as much pleasure. Whether it’s a small gift to a friend or a charitable donation, you can find great satisfaction in giving back to the world around you.

Mind isn’t just a Manchester-based charity, no; they support communities all over the UK. But just like any other charity, they can’t survive or help others without donations. If you’d like to donate you can do so here!

They are still here to help and want to ensure no one is left struggling with their mental health. This year’s Mental Health Awareness theme is “kindness” and so during these difficult times, we encourage everyone to engage in one or more simple acts from 18 May throughout the month, and beyond…

#ManchesterKind #NeverMoreNeeded

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