• Saturday, April 20, 2024


Tool kit for mental wellbeing

Making small changes to daily routines can brighten one’s outlook

Spending time in nature can help relieve stress and anxiety

By: Eastern Eye

ENGAGING in even a simple positive daily activity can have a profound impact on your mental health.

When Mariam Habib escaped an abusive marriage while pregnant with her second child, she faced barriers that inhibited her.

As a single parent, she faced many pressures. She recognised the toll this was taking on her mental wellbeing and the need to take action to help address her anxious feelings.

Mariam Habib

Mariam has found that creating a daily routine has helped her find her “happy place” and supported her mental wellbeing.

She said: “Each day I make time to do some journaling for positive reinforcement – writing down how I’m feeling, for example, and what my thoughts are. I remind myself that I am beautiful, I am strong, and that I am in control of my life.

“During this time, I also listen to religious recitations – I find these incredibly soothing and calming. At bedtime I do some breathing exercises to help me relax, clear my mind, and have a peaceful night’s sleep.

“My children are my biggest inspiration, and through building relaxation routines, I am able to be the best mum I can.”

Now, not only is Mariam raising her young children as a single parent, but she has also returned to her BSc (Honours) Health and Social Care degree studies, and has been recognised and shortlisted for the prestigious YAYA Awards.

We explore the best practices from the NHS’s Every Mind Matters programme for doable actions that you can incorporate into your everyday life in order to improve your mental health.

NHS talking therapies

If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression, NHS Talking Therapies can help. They are free and effective.

These services offer practical psychological therapies that can assist with various common mental health disorders, such as depression, phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety, health anxiety, social anxiety, body dysmorphia and post-traumatic stress disorder. They can also help individuals manage anxiety or depression in the context of long-term health conditions like diabetes or cancer.

Talking Therapies are delivered by trained NHS mental health professionals, in one-to-one sessions, in person or over the phone, and can also be accessed conveniently online via interactive websites.

To access NHS Talking Therapies, you can refer yourself by visiting nhs. uk/talk to locate your local NHS Talking Therapies service and complete an online form or contact them via email or phone. Eligibility only requires registration with a GP.

Find your ‘little big thing’ with these top tips:

Get physically active

Being active is not just good for your physical health, it’s good for your mind too.

It can help you burn off nervous energy and, while it might not make feelings of distress disappear completely, it can make them less intense.

You might choose gentle online yoga classes, boogie-ing around the home or short walks in the fresh air.

Manage your thoughts and feelings

Sometimes we develop unhelpful patterns of thought and these can lead to unhelpful behaviour, so recognising them and thinking about them differently can improve our mental wellbeing.

Try the free, practical self-help tips inspired by cognitive behavioural therapy at nhs.uk/ every-mind-matters

 Talk to someone whom you trust

Talking to someone we trust about how we’re feeling can improve ourmental health and wellbeing and help stop us from feeling lonely. Sharing how you are feeling will help them understand what youv’re going through and together you can explore solutions.

Get the most from your sleep

Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically. Every Mind Matters has lots of tips for improving your sleep and an email programme to help you develop good bedtime habits.

Get closer to nature

Spending time in nature – in green spaces like parks or gardens – can lift your mood and help you feel more relaxed.

You can also bring nature into your life by tending to plants on a window sill or balcony.

Plan something to look forward to

It’s important to have something to look forward to, especially when you’re finding things tough. It will help you counter boredom and lethargy and will boost your mood and energise you.

It does not have to be anything complex to plan or costly – it could be fixing a time to meet with a friend or neighbour for a cuppa, or a visit to a free local attraction.

Help in a crisis

If you are having thoughts of suicide, are harming yourself or have thought about selfharm, it is important to tell someone.

These thoughts and feelings can be complex, frightening and confusing, but you do not have to struggle alone.

If you cannot wait to see a doctor and feel unable to cope or keep yourself safe, contact one of these organisations in order to get support right away:

Find your local 24/7 NHS crisis line at nhs.uk/ urgentmentalhealth or visit 111.nhs.uk

If you are under 35 and experiencing thoughts of suicide, or for anyone who is concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide, visit papyrus-uk.org, call 0800 068 4141 (9 am–midnight, 365 days a year), text 07860 039967 or email [email protected]

If your life or someone else’s life is at risk, call 999.


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