Be kind…especially to yourself during Mental Health Awareness Week

Most people I have spoken to are dealing with lockdown and the pandemic with varying degrees of success. There are definitely good and bad days for everyone – despite what social media may portray.

But as we start Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18-24) I think it is worth remembering the changes and challenges we are all dealing with, because it is easy to forget how well you are actually doing when your day does not go according to plan. We rarely stop and acknowledge our achievements when life is ‘normal’ so the chances of us doing it now are pretty remote!

The theme of this special week is kindness and one way to get through lockdown and acknowledge your successes is to have a routine that includes taking time out every day to be kind to yourself and write about how you are feeling and what your plans are. It is OK to have plans! We don’t HAVE to wait until lockdown is over to start a Life Edit, in actual fact this is a great time to make a start because we have all been looking at our priorities, trying new things and adapting to a new routine because we have had to.

Here are some of the things that we have all been coping with over the last few weeks and have probably forgotten or not even noticed:

  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Feeling out of control, lost and unable to focus
  • Feeling that we can’t make plans because it is somehow selfish
  • Being scared for our health and the health of our loved ones
  • Coping with mental health challenges – both existing ones and those that have developed during this time
  • Feeling lonely and sad and fed up
  • Lacking motivation and energy to do anything
  • Feeling OK one day and really not OK the next but not being able to understand why
  • Worrying about finances and money
  • Worrying about work
  • Feeling anxious about going shopping or going out
  • Finding relationships and family time hard
  • Feeling fenced in and suffocated
  • Dealing with the stress of home schooling
  • Dealing with working from home – possibly for the first time
  • Missing friends and family and socialising
  • Not knowing what is really going to happen next
  • Being out of our usual routine
  • Being reliant on technology

There are 19 different emotions and circumstances on that list and there are probably more. If you look at that list I am sure there are many that resonate with you and yet I am also sure that you haven’t given yourself credit for dealing with them at all.

Lockdown wasn’t our choice, it was forced upon us for very good reasons. But we will not be in lockdown forever and we should still be making plans for the future. The plans we make now will shape the next phase of our lives and many of us actually have time to do that now. We have become super reliant on technology and its undoubted efficiency is something that we are all grateful for – we need to maintain our connections and tech makes that happen.

However, we can still turn it off for just a few minutes every day to give ourselves a rest, a breather and a pause away from screens and keyboards. When lockdown started I ran a project called Turn off the Tech for Ten Minutes to encourage everyone to just step away from the endless news feeds and social media updates for a few minutes each day. It worked and people readily embraced it, using the time to write about how they felt and what they would do when lockdown ends. Some of the those people have now come on board as clients and I am supporting them into the next phase. They are making great progress and it all started with just ten minutes a day of focused, intentional writing.

So this week as we embrace the theme of kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week, of course be kind to others but start being a bit kinder to yourself too and take some time out each day to write, in whatever way you want to. Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect or neat, it can be a list, a mind map, a scrawl a scribble, a doodle, a recipe, a short story …it can be whatever you want it to be. Just pick up a pen, open your notebook and make a start. Who knows where it might lead?

If you want my help to make a start then I can help you in the following ways:

Join my online coaching programme

Buy a copy of my book The Life Edit

Just get in touch and make a start !

Sarah x