To raise awareness for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week (18th- 24th May), we thought we’d share some ideas to help you be more like your fabulous self during this neverending, global clusterfuck.
Hopefully, by now we all agree – there is no right way to do lockdown. It might have been to bake, jog, binge watch Netflix, draw, Zoom call for 14 hours straight, participate in an increasingly creative variety of quizzes, spring clean, shave your head, sleep until you resemble a hibernating bear, obsess over Ruby Rose… Whatever….. Do what feels good, because never has it been more imperative to be kind to yourself and others.
So lovely reader, it’s time to pause and ask – How are you really doing? We’ve organised our tips based on the chart-topping songs of some of our fave pop divas. So tell us, are you currently feeling like:
1) Katrina – because I’m Walking on Sunshine, just like our 90s Eurovision heroes Katrina & the Waves?
2) Gloria – A bit up and down, with an overall mantra of ‘I Will Survive’ forming the backdrop to lockdown of late?
3) Lana – Feeling blue and finding it hard to cope, the warm weather tainted with an edge of del Ray’s Summertime Sadness?
1) Katrina: I’m Walking on Sunshine
Sounds like you’ve got a fab iso-groove going. Keep doing the things that are keeping you feeling positive and your mood balanced. But variety is the spice of life and all that, so here are some ideas for lockdown-you 2.0.
Kindness is the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, so consider how you use this time to spread a little of your awesome positivity. The world over, we’ve seen some heartwarming stories of how kindness is prevailing in uncertain times, bringing families and communities together in solidarity against an invisible threat.
There has been a boom in people looking to volunteer, but it has proven a challenge to match all this kindheartedness with those in need. Helping others can help reduce stress and improve your own emotional wellbeing. So here are a few ideas:
This website allows you to extend a helping hand to your neighbours, whether that be popping to the shops, picking up a prescription or helping to walk their dog. Good deed x puppy time = Winning. Neighbourly volunteering offers a similar service, whilst Age UK have made these handy postcards to help you offer your services to local people in need.
Have an impact on people’s lives and make a difference by helping people work through moments of crisis. This text-based support channel is available 24/7 in the UK. Whilst the long-established Samaritans is great, lots of people are too nervous to talk on the phone, or for victims of domestic violence can’t do so without putting themselves at risk. The team offer a comprehensive online training course, which will help you know how to guide someone from a hot moment of crisis to a cooler, calmer place.
As many of us have become more reliant on a digital world, nearly 50% of over 65s feel out of touch with the pace of modern life. This scheme helps you to inspire older people to use the tinterweb to connect with family and friends, access services and pursue hobbies.
From donating food or volunteering your time there are lots of ways to get involved with raising awareness of poverty and helping end UK hunger. Check out their website for how to help your local food bank.
Lots of us are facing that classic dilemma of enjoying baking but not wanting to spend the next week resisting the temptation of homemade treats. This fab charity matches bakers with families with kid’s that would otherwise have a birthday with no cake.
Random Acts of Kindness
How else can you help champion kindness as part of Mental Health Awareness week?
- Reflect on an act of kindness. Share your stories and pictures (with permission) of kindness during the week. using #KindnessMatters and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek
- Use resources in your family, school, workplace and community to join with thousands in practising acts of kindness. We would love to see your ideas so tag us using #NonchalantMagazine.
- Share ideas on how you think we could build a kinder society. Find the Mental Health Foundation on Insta or Facebook.
2) Gloria: I Will Survive
These are strange times indeed. You might be feeling more anxious, lonely, exhausted, irritable or lethargic. Or maybe just a little flat some days. Remember, it’s normal to feel a whole range of emotions, the lack of control that lockdown imposes can make us feel like we’re on a rollercoaster and many of us are having more time to dwell on our thoughts. But the main thing is it will get better again. Oh and imagine how shit this would have been if it had happened during the times of dial-up internet! Shudder…..
Not tried meditation yet? The great thing about using our breath to help manage our own moods is that it’s a resource we always have at our disposal, whether on a packed commuter tube or sat in the back garden. Whilst best learned in a quiet space, with some guidance from apps like Headspace (paid) or Smiling Mind (free), once you’ve got the basics you really can use the techniques anywhere.
For those new to meditation, it is all about training your awareness and unlocking a healthy sense of perspective. Yep, it feels weird at first but with a little practice it does get easier. Remember, it isn’t so much about trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings but learning to observe them and let them go without dwelling on them. The purported health benefits are numerous, from helping you be more present, reduce worries, anxiety and distress, relax and better manage your emotions.
So we’ve been told we can go out more. And even sunbathe in our local park. So long as we keep our distance. But lots of us will inevitably still be spending more time at home, especially whilst our favourite bars, restaurants and cinemas remain closed.
Focus on what you can do rather than mourning what you can’t. All those things will be back and in the meanwhile it’s a chance to learn some new skills and enjoy more of the simple things. As summer arrives, it’s a fab chance to do clear out your wardrobe (hopefully whilst listening to our new girl on girl Spotify playlist) Once you’ve made some space, it gives you a perfect excuse to indulge in some retail therapy. Alternatively, check out our recommendations for our fave lockdown apps, subscription services and invest in some fresh kicks.
Singletons, who is that one person you’re going to meet out of the house? Could it be time to double down on dating and line up your summer romance? Check out the excellent Passion fruut app.
Loved up? Make time for some R&R with that special someone, it really does wonders for the soul. Check out our Iso-dating-Inspo for some ideas or plan a picnic and head to the park with your beau.
Is your screentime increase an Apple executive’s wet dream? Turn it off, put the phone away and build some ‘green’ exercise into your routine to give yourself a natural boost for your mental health. Great news for us city dwellers too…London is a whopping 47% green, 60% of which is classified as open space – with 8 million trees, 13,000 species and 3,000 parks and even some National Nature Reserves nearby including London South Downs, Richmond Park, Epping Forest and Ruislip Woods and other idyllic natural spots.
3) Lana: Feeling the Summertime Sadness
Remember it’s okay not to be okay…
You are not alone. According to a University of Cambridge & YouGov poll of 2,126 UK adults aged 18 and older, during lockdown an astounding 62% said they felt anxious or worried. 22% of people reported feelings of panic, 30% said they were afraid, 18% felt hopeless and 29% felt unprepared.
Be brave: Talk about it, tell people. You are not a burden, you are not alone, it is okay to be scared, it is normal to feel lots of emotions or alternatively to be feeling nothing. There is a support network there for all of us, ranging from the friend or family member with the listening ear, through to the online discussion forum or a plethora of services with trained counsellors.
The UK’s first 24/7 text service, free on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis or in need, anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you don’t know where to start to feel better, are feeling desperate or just someone to talk to.
Shout is powered by an amazing team of volunteers, who are at the heart of the service. They are only a text away and there for you to talk through anything you are finding challenging. Text 85258.
An LGBTQ+ Helpline operating via phone (0300 330 0630), email and text 10-10 every day. They provide a safe space for anyone to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health and emotional wellbeing. They support you in exploring options that will help you, and aspire to a society where all LGBT+ people are informed and empowered. No topic is off-limits with their mission, training and values centring around being non-judgemental, inclusive and committed.
is a supportive online community where you can be yourself. Lots of people know what it’s like to struggle sometimes, but here is a safe place to listen, share and be heard. You can log in online or via the smartphone app, chatting anonymously in a social network-style forum. Post photos, talk through issues, support others and make friends. Elefriends as a service will be replaced by a new platform (Side by Side) from the end of May but not to worry, Mind are working on the launch and will be migrating your conversations and posts to the new platform.
Look after yourself and look after eachother. We’re all in this together… Love, Team Nonchalant xx