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Maintaining positive mental health through COVID-19

mental health through COVID-19
My name is Mark Robbins and I’m a Mental Health Public Speaker. I have suffered with chronic depression for 40 years. With three suicide attempts and experiencing an emotional breakdown in recent years, I finally reached out and sought professional help, proceeded on a journey of self preservation & healing.
When we begin to address our mental health needs, they may be affected by a wide spectrum of issues, meaning it can sometimes become complex and overwhelming. Many of us, including myself, may require an holistic, person-centered approach to the care. While sometimes medications play a vital but critical factor as part of the treatment plan imposed to support our needs.
During COVID-19, depression can become heightened, as isolation can trigger our anxiety, fear and stress levels thus contributing to an increase in rumination, insomnia, frustration and agitation. During secluded times, this may lead to more of us feeling alone, withdrawn, with the possibly of an increase in suicide rates.

This leads onto why is it so important to focus on our personal health, wellbeing and mental health during COVID-19.

First we must identifying our personal mental health triggers. These may come from social factors including work environment, the news, social media and isolation. To combat these, we can put in place coping strategies to distract us from falling into low mood.

Some tips to improving our mental wellness and staying positive is getting the most out of life are:

Connect with other people.

This can boost self esteem, self worth, and a sense of belonging. In a time where we all have access to the internet and resources such as FaceTime, Zoom or Skype, we all have the means to stay connected to one another even though we are apart.

Try reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. They will probably really appreciate the call or text.

Keep active.

Physical activity improves not just our physical health, but research shows it can also improve our mental wellbeing.

Try to set yourself a goal or challenge to carry out some form of physical activity each day. This will help you to maintain a routine and fitness but will also release endorphins and help to improve your mood.

Learn new skills.

Many of us now have more time than ever to learn a new skill or finally try the things we’ve been putting off for a while. Learning new skills can build a sense of purpose & self confidence whilst raising self esteem.

Why not try a new online Pilates session? Or get out your old recipe books and start creating new meals!

Focus on the Present

Being present in the moment helps to improve your understanding of your thoughts and feelings and improves your overall health, this will therefore improve your mental health during COVID-19.

Practices such as yoga and meditation can ease our anxieties and allow us to to clear of mind reducing our negative thoughts.
So I’d like to ask that whilst we are experiencing this situation please don’t hesitate to reach out, it can be difficult but there’s no shame in feeling alone, fearful as at times it can be difficult. Talk to someone, anyone.
Getting help is the first step in acknowledging you may be suffering, intervention can become key to your ability to thrive.
Be you and be free.
Written by Mark Robbins, Mental Health Public Speaker, North East England

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