Are Workplaces Doing Enough for Mental Health in a Post-Covid Era?

(image: Mateus Campos Felipe at Unsplash)

The global coronavirus pandemic brought mental health and personal wellbeing to the forefront of our working life. As more companies return to the office, employers need to think about whether or not they are doing enough to make mental health in the workplace a priority. We speak to consumer finance startup, CapitalBean.com, to get some insight.

Workplace Mental Health Post-Covid

“The coronavirus pandemic highlighted serious concerns regarding mental health and personal wellbeing,” explains Richard Allan of Capital Bean.

“With ongoing uncertainty and a heightened sense of risk, it could be argued that we were experiencing an unprecedented global mental health crisis, often with no end in sight.” 

From a workplace perspective especially, many workers were facing uncertainty regarding their job stability, redundancies and, for some, navigating an entirely new way of working and interacting with colleagues.”

“In response, many companies started to take employee mental health more seriously and implement frameworks and best practices; however, now that we are returning to normal and trying to leave Covid-19 in the past, what is the extent to which companies are keeping up with their commitment to employee mental health?”

The Return to the Office

During the Covid 19 pandemic, the majority of workers were learning how to do their jobs remotely. This presented a range of new challenges to navigate and loneliness was widely reported. Not only were people missing the daily social interactions with their colleagues, but they were also finding the blurred lines between home life and work life difficult to navigate – with people’s homes doubling up as their offices, many workers were finding it difficult to switch off and reported working more hours. 

Now that people are starting to return to the office, after adjusting to nearly three years of remote working, they are being faced with new challenges. People are finding the return to work difficult and reporting a great deal of anxiety regarding social interaction. In addition, after working from home, they are now having to juggle their home commitments alongside going to the office. Whether it is squeezing in laundry, balancing childcare, or even factoring in an extra hour for the commute, the return to the office is proving more difficult than expected for many and is causing stress and anxiety for some. Others prefer working from home, so there is a balance.

The Employer’s Role

Millions of workers are returning to the office or workplace with changed attitudes and new expectations. In order to attract and retain talent, it is important for employers to acknowledge this and respond empathetically. Many companies have included mental health in their promises to employees on return to the office but now it is their time to demonstrate that this is not merely lip service. 

Employers need to proactively introduce programmes that are promoting workplace mental wellbeing and help employees with the challenges that they are facing. It is important for workplaces to create a psychologically safe space for workers and welcome conversations surrounding mental health and support.

(image: Luis Villasmil at Unsplash)

The Great Resignation And Mental Health at Work

After the pandemic, more people than ever before started evaluating their working life and what their main priorities were. With new focus on mental wellbeing and work-life balance, workers started to question what their expectations were and what they required from their place of work. The great resignation, the mass exodus of millions of workers in 2021, left employers having to think about what they needed to offer workers to not only attract talent initially, but retain it. 

 Workers who were asked about the great resignation pinpointed lack of workplace communication, sense of belonging, employee-manager relationship and toxic environments all as reasons to leave their jobs. 

In a post-Covid era (and what should have been before this), it will fall to the employer to make sure their staff feel looked after, not just financially but also emotionally.

Employers need to make their employees feel like they are taken care of, respected and acknowledged, and that their personal wellbeing and mental health is a top priority. Going forward, this will be more important for jobseekers than free office lunches or staff drinks.

We all have mental health and it is vital this is acknowledged and cared for, and not ignored in the workplace.

This article contains links to partner organisations.

11 Most Effective Ways for People to Protect Their Mental Health- A Guide by The Mental Health Foundation.

(image: Mental Health Foundation)

The 11 most effective ways for people to protect their mental health are revealed in a guide launched today by the Mental Health Foundation. 

The free guide, Our Best Mental Health Tips is based on the Foundation’s own ground-breaking study on what protects people from common problems such as anxiety and depression.  

The innovative study on which the new guide is based combined existing evidence about how we can protect our mental health with experts’ views, alongside the opinions of members of the public. 

Dr Antonis Kousoulis, who led the research and is a Director of the Foundation, said: ‘Our new guide encourages us to take care of the fundamentals of life – our relationships, our experiences, our bodies and our finances.  

The evidence shows that this is far more likely to keep us mentally healthy than the gimmicks and miracle cures promoted by some in the ‘wellness’ industry, who prey on our vulnerability. 

The truth is, there are no quick fixes for good mental or physical health. What works is developing healthy habits in our daily lives, that help us to feel OK and able to cope with everything. 

For example, in our new guide we talk about getting more from our sleep, learning to understand and manage our feelings, planning things to look forward to and getting help with money problems.’ 

The full list of mental health-promoting actions suggested by the new guide is as follows: 

  • Get closer to nature 
  • Learn to understand and manage your feelings 
  • Talk to someone you trust for support 
  • Be aware of using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings 
  • Try to make the most of your money and get help with problem debts 
  • Get more from your sleep 
  • Be kind and help create a better world 
  • Keep moving 
  • Eat healthy food
  • Be curious and open-minded to new experiences 
  • Plan things to look forward to 

Most members of the public involved in the study had experienced their own, or family members’ problems with mental health, so had the benefit of hindsight when assessing what helps most with prevention.  

The study was published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Health Promotion

The new guide (and the research on which it is based) acknowledges that people may be unable to follow some of its suggestions, for instance because the place they live makes it impossible to sleep well or spend time close to nature. 

Dr Kousoulis added: ‘Enjoying good mental health should be an equally accessible goal for all of us, yet it is often out of reach for many. Government action is needed to create the circumstances that solve problems that are beyond individuals’ reach, and help prevent people having problems with mental health in the first place.’ 

You can download the new guide free of charge from the Mental Health Foundation website. You can also order hard copies by post, with a small charge.

About the Mental Health Foundation   

Our vision is of good mental health for all. The Mental Health Foundation works to prevent mental health problems. We drive change towards a mentally healthy society for all, and support communities, families and individuals to lead mentally healthy lives with a particular focus on those at greatest risk. The Foundation is the home of Mental Health Awareness Week www.mentalhealth.org.uk  

This is a non sponsored article written by the Mental Health Foundation.

Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog 2022 from Vuelio- Thank you!

(image: Vuelio)

I am absolutely delighted to announce that we have been listed for the 4th year running (!) in the Vuelio Top 10 UK Mental Health Blog list! This means so much to me as Vuelio rank influential blogs by data and this year we are in 6th place amongst some truly amazing blogs, including my friend Cara Lisette’s!

Thank you so much to Vuelio for the support as always. I hope I can continue to blog and produce content that tackles the stigma around mental health and bipolar disorder in particular. My aim is to share others stories and to help others feel less alone.

See the full list here: https://www.vuelio.com/uk/social-media-index/mental-health-blogs-uk-top-10/

How To Stay Motivated At Times When You are Feeling Lost by Tracie Johnson

(image: T. Johnson)

Life is uncertain. Even in the best of times, something unexpected can happen. You may have a hard time getting out of bed or putting one foot in front of the other each day.

It can be a challenge to find the motivation to keep moving forward when you feel stuck or don’t know which way to turn. Don’t give up hope. You just need help finding your way.

You are Not Alone

Many people have faced struggles similar to yours, yet when you look at others around you, they may pretend everything is going well. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone has some sort of obstacle or bump in the road. However, we have been taught to hide our feelings. We avoid asking for help. Once you understand that others are involved in a struggle like yours, it will help you to feel like you are part of a community.

You are Stronger than You Realise

You may be under the misconception that you are ‘too weak’ to take on the world. Start looking for your strengths. Sit down with a piece of paper and jot down anything positive you can think of about yourself. List your achievements. Think of problems you have resolved in the past. Ask people you trust about the best things about you.

You can boost your confidence when you focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t. Focusing on your strengths may give you a sense of direction and shift your mindset.

A Helping Hand Can Make a World of Difference

Sometimes it simply takes new eyes to find the best part of you. You may be so caught up in all of your obligations that you’ve lost sight of who you want to be. You are probably like so many others who have sacrificed their own interests in order to take care of others. You may want to seek guidance or spiritual life coaching from helpful resources who can help you see yourself in a new light. 

It’s time to stop letting the rest of the world get in the way of your pursuit of happiness. Discovering the gems hidden inside of you can light the way to a brighter future as you realise your full potential.

Focus on What You Can Control in Your Life

While it’s true that there are many outside influences that are completely beyond your control, you can take charge of more than you realise. Don’t limit yourself with boundaries that have been established by others. Find your way to climb your mountains. Use the tools you have that will help you to open doors in your life. Don’t dwell on anything that has already happened. You can’t go back to the past.

Don’t let yourself get stuck in the mud of the problems of today. Tackle one small problem at a time. Don’t let your thoughts hinge on what will happen tomorrow. Stay in the present moment and celebrate your victories.

Work on Being the Best You Every Day

You’re going to make mistakes. The most important thing you can do is learn from them. If there is something that went wrong in the past, try to make a positive choice now. Wake up every morning determined to be better than you were before. Make a list of goals for the day. If you don’t achieve all of them, bump them to tomorrow. You’ll always have something to keep you going when you have more items on your to-do list. However, don’t pressure yourself and pace yourself.

Final Thoughts

You are a unique, remarkable individual. There is no one else like you on the planet. Celebrate your special qualities. Remember how important you are in the grand scheme of things. Choose something to shoot for, goalwise, on a daily basis. It will give you a reason to wake up every morning.

Think about something good in your life instead of the negative. Take two steps forward. Even if you slide back one, you are still headed the right way. Explore new opportunities. You never know when something will spark a new interest. It could pave the way to who you were always meant to be.


This article was written by writer Tracie Johnson, based in the USA.

Our Blog is 6 Years Old Today!

On the 1st March 2016, I started this blog as a way to provide therapy for myself- as I was going through panic attacks, (caused by trauma due to a hospitalisation for a bipolar manic episode). Since then I have had several years of EMDR trauma therapy and my life changed so much too- I met my husband, we got married and moved to our first home. I also found a career I love after many twists and turns due to mental illness. Life is never plain sailing especially with mental health and I still live with panic attacks/ social anxiety at times but am learning to manage them.

The blog has turned into a book Bring me to Light (with Trigger), writing for Metro.co.uk, Glamour, the Telegraph, Happiful, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and other incredible organisations, I have partnered with large and small brands, charities, businesses, writers to create content that battles stigma on mental health. We have been awarded as a Top 10 UK blog by Vuelio since 2018 (thank you) and I love to share my story to help others and educate people about bipolar, anxiety, panic disorders, psychosis, mania and mental health in the workplace (amongst other mental health topics!). I have also recorded podcasts – most recently with Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, shadow minister for mental health, Daniel Rosenberg at SodsPod and was also interviewed by Penny Power OBE with my Dad Mike (who is a mental health speaker).

When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead and its been the most special, humbling and amazing journey- with so much more to do so watch this space!. I really want to help more people this year and also have a childrens book I would love to get out there to help kids with anxiety.

As always, I want to thank all my contributors and brands (sponsored or not), as well as the digital agencies and freelance writers who provide content too. I hope to keep it going for the next year at least! Let me know what you want to see.

This year heres what we have been talking about (and big thank you to everyone. If it doesnt have a name by it, content has been written by a writer):



How social distancing is affecting social anxiety in the pandemic- Anita Ginsburg

Book Review of the Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett Clark- me (Eleanor)

Being kind to myself, social anxiety and life in recovery- me (Eleanor)

Self care ideas for positive change in 2021

How to cope with top 4 challenging life events

The Book of Hope launchme

Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts

Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas

6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health

Moving to our First Home and mental health- me

How to reach for help and not be ashamed

Whats the connection between mental health and addiction- Jennifer at Mandala Healing

We are a top UK mental health blog 2021- thanks Vuelio- Me

Can you still get health insurance cover if you have a history of mental illness?

The benefits of seeking mental health support and help

The link between debt and mental health

Start Up founders are 50% more likely to suffer from a mental health condition- Daniel Tannenbaum

How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?

Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan

Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me

How to remain independent and look after your health as you get older

How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman

The benefits of personal training for your mental health- Life Force Fitness

Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse: benefits of a sober living home

6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine

Work in progress- healing from trauma to find the light- me

Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell

Prioritising mental health on the world stage, Simone biles- me

Why privacy is critical for our mental health

Goal setting for mental health

Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress

4 Ways to make mental health a priority in your life- Emma Sturgis

What you need to know about post Partum Depression- Kara Reynolds

The Midnight Library book review- me

5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing

Steps to help aging and wellbeing

How to keep your children in mind during a divorce-Brooke Chaplan

Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com

The Inquisitive-a film on mental health and suicide- Kelvin Richards

Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me

Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home

7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno

Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson

Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources

Building trust in a relationship

How sleep patterns affect your mental health

Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me

Dealing with imposter syndrome

Confidence on return to the office

lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks

Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness

Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie

Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport

How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley

Looking after mental health in a tense office environment

Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds

5 Self help books for 2022

Winter mental health and anxiety update- me

Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley

Lockdown, sleep, anxiety and mental health- collaboration with TEMPUR mattresses (ad)

Helping elderly people to live independently

Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis

How to support your spouse with mental health issues- Kara Reynolds

Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly

Festive season- me

Its Okay not to be Okay by Esther Marshall book review- me

The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley

Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me

Reflecting on a new year 2022- me

Surviving trauma makes relationships difficult- self compassion helps- Taylor Blanchard

Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing

Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Mental health new year resolutions

Book review- Pushing through the cracks- Emily J Johnson- me

Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds

Jami see mental health campaign blog

Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber

Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard

Mental health and eating disorder recovery journey- Emily J. Johnson

Fitness and mental health

Interview with Penny Power MBE, Thomas Power and Mike Segall on bipolar disorder

Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)

Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022

Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me

Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber

Spiritual tips for helping mental health

Risk factors for post partum depression

Wow! Thank you for supporting me and the blog, for continuing to read and share it and to help battle the stigma around not only bipolar disorder and anxiety- but every mental illness.

Love,

Eleanor x

What I love about the Festive Season (even though I don’t celebrate Christmas). by Eleanor

(image Ylanite Koppens on Pexels)

What do you love about this time of year? Although i don’t celebrate Christmas, I absolutely love many things about this season of celebration, including Chanukah that has just been and the way this time of year can feel super cosy!

Heres my list and what I am looking forward to:

Blankets, PJs and warm socks

Festive songs- got to love Mariah

Feeling cosy/ hygge indoors

Hot chocolate with or without marshmallows

Gingerbread men

Twinkly fairy lights and the London Christmas Lights

If you celebrate Christmas- your christmas tree

Time with family and friends

For me, Chanukah- lighting candles each night and celebrating, which we did last week 🙂 we eat doughnuts

Giving gifts to those I love

Being with my husband and having chill time- his birthday is just after Christmas too. And cuddling our guineapigs Midnight and Nutmeg.

Christmas markets

Going to the theatre (as long as we are still allowed)

Having days off work to watch good TV with family

Sex and the City returning as And Just Like That, Emily in Paris second season and hopefully a new season of Bridgerton will be on its way soon.

My Body Shop pampering treats (perks of the job).

Helping others and doing good deeds

This time of year can also be a time of loneliness, poor mental health and lots of other awful things people are facing such as poverty or homelessness. But today, as I always focus on the heavier issues, i am looking for the positives but Give your time to others who need it too. if youre able.

(image: Darius Krause Pexels)

What are you doing for the holidays?

Eleanor x

8 Ways I Deal with Anxiety as a Mom (Mum) by Kara Reynolds.

(image: Pexels: Gustavo Fring)

Anxiety is hard to manage. When you have children, your stress levels can skyrocket. You have to get it under control to stay sane. 

Fortunately, you have plenty of holistic methods that help — often as much as medication or therapy. Here are eight ways I deal with anxiety as a mom. I hope these tips help you, too. 

1. I Maintain a Healthy Social Circle 

Loneliness can kill. A national cross-sectional survey found an association between patients who reported feeling isolated and increased mortality from all causes. 

I don’t know what I would do without my other mom friends. While it’s challenging for us to all coordinate our schedules to meet up as a group, I make a point to get together at least once a week with someone outside of my family for tea or a nice partner workout. It helps us both feel more connected and lets us shuffle off our mortal mom-coats for a minute and celebrate ourselves, not our roles in life. 

2. I Practice Breath Control 

Regulating your breath (like in childbirth) can help calm physiological processes. 

Focusing on your inhalations and exhalations alone helps you slow down your pace of breathing. Techniques such as 2-to-1 breathing, where you exhale for twice as long as you inhale, can further help to relax you. Navy SEALS use a method where they inhale for four, pause for as many beats, then exhale for the same count to calm their panic in crises. 

3. I Choose My Mental Battles Carefully 

As a mom, you see danger everywhere. I used to drive myself mad every time my kids strayed from my sight, but I learned to pick my mental battles more carefully as they got older. 

For example, I could lie awake tossing and turning all night, wondering if the parents at my child’s sleepover drink or take drugs in front of the kids. Conversely, I could simply meet with them before the big night and assuage my fears. 

4. I Check-in With My Body 

You know that you get irritable when you have a cold. However, minor aches and pains can sometimes leave you snapping at loved ones without realising the underlying cause. My back might groan after a day at my desk, but taking it out on my family only creates more problems. 

Therefore, I’ve learned to check in with my body regularly. I made mindful body scans a part of my routine meditation practice. These days, I do them anytime and anywhere, taking a few moments to breathe into tight areas and ease mild pain. 

5. I Move When I Don’t Feel Like It

Who hasn’t had those days where going to the gym seems like a chore? Yet, I’ve also discovered that pushing through often makes me feel better than remaining stationary. I trick myself into moving even when I don’t feel like it. 

How? I tell myself that I will work out for only five minutes. I give myself full permission to stop if I still feel lousy and sluggish after that time. However, I usually find the energy to keep going once my blood starts flowing. 

6. I Eat Healthfully — Most of the Time 

I used to go to diet extremes. Sometimes, I’d throw caution to the wind, declaring, “life’s short. Eat a donut.” Other times, I’d go on strict diets, eschewing everything that didn’t fit the meal plan until I went slightly crazy and binged. 

Now, I practice the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating. I eat foods that fall into my approved “healthy” categories 80% of the time. For the remaining 20%, I indulge in whatever I like. 

7. I Stay Away From Alcohol

A funny thing happened to me during pregnancy. Despite the increased pressure with a new life on the way, I felt less anxious. It didn’t take more than one or two postpartum cocktails to discern the reason. 

Alcohol messes with all kinds of neurotransmitters. While it initially decreases feelings of tension, it comes roaring back with a vengeance when you sober up and your brain tries to return to homeostasis. You could find yourself feeling even more tense and irritable — and craving another drink to take the edge off. 

For me, it’s simply easier to pass on the anxious feelings altogether. I found healthier ways to relax. 

8. I Meditate 

Although it may look like I’m doing nothing, my meditation time is the most critical part of my day. Without it, I wouldn’t function nearly as well in daily life. 

You don’t need anything except three to five minutes of quiet time each day to start. If you sit silently in mindfulness, you’ll amaze yourself with how long even that short span seems the first few times. If you struggle, guided meditations can help you find zen, and they’re available free on YouTube. 

Moms, How Do You Deal With Anxiety as a Parent?

The eight tips above help me deal with anxiety as a mom. I hope that this advice will likewise help you decrease your stress levels. 

This article was written by Kara Reynolds, editor of Momish

How Private Patient Transport helps Anxious Travellers by EMA Patient Transport

(image: EMA Patient Transport)

Travelling is stressful, especially when it’s to and from medical appointments; for people with anxiety issues, the stress levels during this time can be heightened even further. Private transport providers offer patients a comfortable transport experience; the journey can be as stress-free as possible thanks to their state of the art, bespoke ambulances and friendly, qualified team! Mental health patient transport services can provide a sense of comfort and trust compared to your average ambulance service. 

Not only does patient transport provide the benefit of a relaxed journey compared to your average patient transport- but for people who require additional support, these bespoke ambulances are accessible and filled with medical equipment.

Here are some of the ways private patient transport helps anxious travellers:

There’s No Waiting Time 

Private patient transport providers deliver a transport service you can rely on! No more waiting around worrying you’ll be late for your appointment. Due to the NHS being under severe pressure, their transport service is not always running on time. With private patient transport, you can rest assured you will be picked up & dropped off on time. 

The effects of long waiting times could be detrimental to anybody with anxious feelings, but you can avoid this stress and anxiety with private transport. With private ambulance services, there are no waiting times. 

Private Transport Is Bespoke 

A fantastic benefit of private ambulance services is that the focus is always on the patient. This means that when you choose a trusted, reputable provider, the provider will tailor each vehicle to meet the patient’s specific needs. This can help out anxious travellers, as they know the vehicle meets their requirements. Some vehicles even have sensory lights and TV’s, which are welcome distractions for many anxious patients. As well as these fancy extras, private patient transport always contains vital medical equipment such as oxygen and defibrillators. 

The Vehicles Are Accompanied By A Friendly & Qualified Team 

When travelling in a private patient transport vehicle, the staff on board are always experienced and friendly. This means they are qualified to deal with medical emergencies and have a welcoming personality to make travellers feel at ease. 

Whenever you choose a trusted, reputable patient transport provider, you can rest assured that their caring team has appropriate experience and training to support patients with various needs. Private ambulance providers will meet every patient with respect, dignity, and kindness. 

The Journey Will Be As Comfortable As Possible 

Thanks to state of the art, bespoke vehicles and friendly teams, the journey will always be more comfortable than your standard ambulance transport service. No matter the patient’s unique needs, there will be a bespoke ambulance to suit. 

Do you think you or a family member would benefit from using private patient transport? Get in touch with EMA Patient Transport to find out more. 

Whether you require transport to and from a medical appointment or any other type of journey- give them a call today on 0800 634 1478 or send an e-mail over to enquiries@emapatienttransport.co.uk. Open 24 hours a day; their friendly team are always at the other end of the phone, ready to help.

This article was written and sponsored by EMA Patient transport.

How are our Lifestyles linked to our Mental Health? by Anna Witcherley, Founder of Head Hacks

(image: Pexels)

Our health and wellbeing aren’t solely dependent on how our brains and bodies work; they’re also influenced by how we live. Making healthy lifestyle choices is key in supporting our mental health; influencing our self-esteem, confidence, energy, motivation, mood, and even our ability to sleep.

Want to know more about what you can do to support your health and wellbeing? Here are 5 key areas to get you started!

Get active

We know exercise is beneficial for our health and wellbeing; even being active for 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week can positively impact our mood, creativity, thinking and sleep. If going for a run or to the gym isn’t your thing there are so many other ways to get moving; including going for walks, climbing, cycling, dancing, surfing and table tennis (to name just a few). 

Check out Head Hacks, a new directory website, run by a qualified Occupational Therapist, where you can search for fun things to do, locally and online, to help you get active in a way that suits you!

Sleep

If you find yourself struggling to switch off at night, or you feel you’re not getting the quality of sleep you need to feel rested there are a number of things you can do to help yourself. These include:

  • Avoiding screens for at least 30 minutes before going to bed
  • Increasing physical activity and exposure to natural light during the day
  • Avoiding drinking caffeine for at least 6 hours before going to bed
  • Avoiding smoking for at least 2 hours before going to bed
  • Maintaining a general bedtime routine, for 30 minutes before going to bed (by doing things in roughly the same order around the same time each evening).

Mindfulness

When talking about mindfulness a lot of people may link it with meditation and yoga; however mindfulness comes in many different forms. If meditation or yoga aren’t your thing why not try ‘mindful doing’? The aim is to keep your mind present while doing an activity you enjoy or that fits into your routine, (like going for a walk, cooking, eating a meal, doing the washing up etc). Try to minimise distractions and instead focus on your current thoughts and feelings, and what you’re doing (using all your senses). 

Having purpose

Having a sense of ‘purpose’ is the feeling your life has some meaning or direction; without this we can feel anxious, low, bored and unmotivated. If this is something you feel you’re lacking here are some ideas to help you find more purpose in your life:

  • Voluntary work
  • Learn a new skill
  • Develop a sense of community by connecting with others over a shared interest e.g. joining a local activity group
  • Spend time thinking about what is important to you and form one or two goals around this (remember to break these down into manageable steps!)
  • Read (research has linked reading with feelings of purpose)

Connecting with others

Positive and meaningful relationships are vital to our health and wellbeing; providing us with a sense of belonging, self-esteem, and emotional support.  However you prefer to spend time with people, find a way to connect with others in a way that suits you; some of us prefer having one or two close friends, for others it’s family, and some prefer socialising in larger groups. 

To sum up

Research shows us that how we live; our relationships, how we spend our time, our sense of purpose and belonging, all vitally contribute to our health and wellbeing. Now that Coronavirus restrictions are easing, there are increasing opportunities, both in our local areas and online, to get involved in activities that are important to us, and that will help support our health and wellbeing.

Head Hacks is a new online directory, setup by a qualified Occupational Therapist, which aims to link people up with these activities and groups, as well as sharing useful information about managing health and wellbeing. Check it out to find fun things to do near you! Anna Witcherley is the founder of Head Hacks and wrote this article.

Building Trust in a Relationship: Steps You Can Take

Image courtesy of Pexels CC0 License

In a relationship, distrust may spread like flames in an inferno if not carefully contained. Trust, from both sides, is the very foundation of a relationship, and if that is broken, it can be very difficult to stay on an even keel. Here, we look at how you can build trust in a relationship and fix it if it is broken. 

#1 Be open about how you feel and express your vulnerability

If you require reassurance from your partner, and are in a safe, healthy relationship, express your need for it. Tell them if you are experiencing feelings of insecurity. Engage them in getting to know you, how they make you feel, and how you would like to make them feel as well. Be honest with yourself and with them about your goals, anxieties, and ambitions.

#2 Give your partner the benefit of the doubt and assume their intentions are good

They may not have done it on purpose – people make mistakes all the time, and they may not have meant to upset you. Do not automatically assume that they are trying to upset you; it is acceptable to raise concerns about their motives, but be open to the possibility that they made a minor mistake.

#3 Communicate and talk through your issues

Spend some time each day checking in with one another and talking through any problems that you have. It is easier to deal with problems when they are smaller rather than letting them build into something bigger. Approach it from the ‘I’ rather than the ‘you’. 

#4 Recognise that the past may influence how you feel

Consider the following: Is your lack of trust a result of your partner’s actions, your own fears, or a combination of the two? Always be on the lookout for unsolved issues from your previous relationships that may be causing mistrust in the present. If it is something that your partner has done in the past, perhaps cheating, for example, consider talking to an infidelity therapist to help both of you come to terms with the issues and overcome them. 

#5 Listen to your partner and their perspective

Take a look from their perspective. Ask them how they feel and how did they perceive this situation? What are their thoughts on the situation? What emotions did it elicit in them? What was their personal reaction to this? Sometimes looking at it from their perspective and considering their feelings can help you to deal with the problem more objectively. 

#6 Trust your gut feelings

There is an awful lot to be said about trusting our gut instincts and paying attention to red flags that pop up. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, pay attention and do not let it fester. If you do not deal with it, it will continue to grow and destroy the relationship. There could be a simple explanation, or your feelings might be completely right. Either way, confirmation is always better. 

Trust is the very fundamental of a relationship. Without it, there can be no relationship. Work through these tips and you will be able to build the trust that you have.

This article was written by a freelance writer.