When we are struggling with our mental health it can be difficult for us to stay in touch with friends and family as you may feel they are ’too busy for you’.
When it feels like this, it is very often not the case, but it is important to make a step and get in contact. This could be as simple as texting them, arranging a coffee or a video call– if the pandemic has taught us anything it is how to communicate with those we care about, even when we can’t see them face to face due to geography or external factors. Often once you have got in contact with a friend or family member all those concerns about them not having time for you disappear and you can focus on enjoying spending time with them.
Reaching out and staying in touch with friends and family doesn’t need to be pressured, it can be a cup of tea in the garden or sending them a funny post you’ve seen on social media that reminds you of them. Alternatively, you may arrange it so you meet them for coffee once a week, this way you can fall into an easy routine of staying in touch and being sociable with those you care about.
Equally, if you have noticed someone close to you is acting differently, taking that step to invite them out and extend a hand may make the world of difference to how they are feeling.
Friends and family are not the only people you can connect with, you may choose to join a local group to meet new people and become part of a community. There are local groups all over Lincolnshire that do everything from knitting to gardening, walks and musical theatre. There are also plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community through volunteering.
Being active isn’t only good for your physical health, it can also improve your mental health. Regular activity can help reduce stress and anxiety alongside increasing our energy levels and self-esteem.
Being active looks different for everyone and just because your idea of physical activity is different to someone else’s that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. For some a long run their idea of heaven and for others a gentle walk is more their cup of tea. You may be surprised how active you already are- do you choose to take the stairs instead of the life? If so, that’s being active. Do you really enjoy gardening? That is being active.
It is about finding what works for you, whether that is in a group or on your own, being active is a great way to meet new people while boosting your mood.
Often when we talk about giving people assume to give it has to be material, this is not the case and, in some ways, the most valuable thing you can give is your time. This could be through volunteering, or it could be as simple as taking the time to hold the door open for someone or saying thank you or hello to a neighbor. Sharing your skills or really listening to a conversation is another way of giving to others. However, you do it, giving can create a connection with others while also creating a sense of satisfaction and purpose.
Being present can improve your outlook on the day and in turn your thoughts and feelings.
This could be through structured ‘mindfulness’ or through taking notice of the things that make your day a little better- for example, the sun, saying hello to someone in the street or watering your plants.
Continuously learning can create a sense of purpose for you, it can also allow you to meet new people and interact with different demographics to usual- all of which can help increase your mood and outlook.
Learning something new doesn’t have to be a big task, if you can’t commit to a class start with a small goal such as learning to cook a new dish or trying to fix something that is broken. It is all about finding something that interests you and learning at your own pace without comparing yourself to others.