Mental Health Day at Kindred
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October every year. This year’s theme, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is ‘mental health for all’. In honour of this, we’ve rallied around the team at Kindred to give our own tips on Mental Health.
“While loneliness isn’t a mental health condition on its own, they can be connected. A mental health condition can make us feel isolated, and that feeling of isolation can further compound our mental ill-health. It’s a cycle that feeds itself and can be hard to break out of. Loneliness is not simply about being alone; in fact, many of us like to be alone from time to time. You can feel lonely even when you’re surrounded by the people you love. We don’t have all the answers about loneliness here at Kindred, but we wanted to create a community in response to an increasingly lonely population. For us, loneliness can be a little easier to manage when you’re part of an open-hearted community who wants to understand better who you really are, and cares enough to have the conversations that matter.”
“The pandemic has made us all take a long hard stare at our wellbeing: how are we ‘really’ feeling, what’s our diet like, do we get enough sleep, how does the stress and anxiety of the pandemic manifest specifically in our minds and bodies, are we happy? We are all learning how to ‘manage stress’ and feel more comfortable being uncomfortable (which is pretty damn uncomfortable) but in many ways, we are learning to become more resilient. This is a time to harness a new connection with ourselves. As a long cover sufferer, I’m acutely aware of what brings on my own anxiety and how it manifests itself through my breath. Self-discovery has been the key to my improvement which has led to me creating my own wellbeing action plan and you can make yours too. Grab a journal and ask yourself ‘how do I feel right now’ then ask yourself ‘how do you want to feel?”. For example, if you feel ‘stressed’, but you want to feel ‘relaxed’, make a list of the physical things that you can do to help you feel relaxed, after all, it’s our actions that can help or hinder us. We’re essentially asking ourselves, “what is it that that helps me to turn my body from the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) into the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxed state’). My own examples of relaxing activities include: having a magnesium salt bath to relax my muscles with a soulful Spotify playlist in the background, reading a book (currently ‘a liberated mind’), a walk in the park listening to ‘Oprah’s Soul podcast’, breathing exercises on the ‘flourish app’, listening to a guided meditation by Sarah Blondin on the app ’insight timer’, self-love rituals such as writing a list of what went well this week or what I’m proud of about myself, stretching on my yoga mat, talking about how I’m feeling with a friend over coffee (Kindred oat milk Mocha’s are divine), watching the TED talk ‘it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, here’s what to do next’, a pick-me-up film on Netflix, playing a fun game with friends (laughing=endorphins!), the list is endless.
We are all bio-individual so what works for you may not work for someone else. You hold the key to your own wellbeing and starting this journey of self-discovery is one that will empower you for the rest of your life. “
“We live in a world with 24/7 news cycles and access to information a mere click or scroll away. At the best of times, this can be overwhelming, and with 1/3 Brits saying they actively avoid the news because it’s “too depressing”, it’s tempting to ignore it altogether. This year, however, access to accurate reporting has been a matter of life and death, and the mainstream news has in some ways provided a national service in keeping us informed and holding those in power to account. It doesn’t make things any easier, but it’s important to differentiate between what news is NECESSARY ie “How does this help me?” / “Am I learning something new?” / “Does this help me cultivate an understanding for others that are not within my immediate social circle?” and what is SENSATIONAL ie “Do I feel fear or powerless when I read this?” / “Why should I care what this celebrity said or did?” / “How is this story taking up space from other more meaningful stories?”. We can’t rely on media brands to always have our mental wellbeing at heart – after all “bad news sells” – but we can control how much we take on board and our reaction to it. As a rule of thumb, I would also avoid absorbing news circulated via Facebook or Whatsapp. We need to be in greater control of the information we allow into our space and take a personal, balanced and critical view of what is currently unfolding.
As someone who writes and actively posts online about women’s health, feminism, and social inequality, navigating the toxicity of social media platforms has unfortunately become a regular part of my working life. That means that managing my mental health is important not only for my confidence but for my motivation in running my business and sharing information about important causes. I think it’s so important to remind ourselves that we exist and have value beyond the metrics we see on the screen and that our digital lives are something we ‘do’ rather than something that we ‘are’. It’s a process for sure in re-thinking how we want digital channels to be a part of our lives, and I’m definitely still learning — I’ve tried out making changes to my routine, for example, and thought more critically about my personal and professional boundaries. One piece of advice I can give for dealing with internet trolls is not to feed them — block or restrict harmful comments and then move on.
Research has found that the coronavirus lockdown has prompted a mental health crisis among the LGBTQ community. University College London (UCL) and Sussex University found 69% of respondents suffered depressive symptoms. 90% of those had experienced homophobia or transphobia. So, while being LGBTIQ+ do not cause mental health problems directly, LGBTIQ+ people are more likely to experience mental health issues. It can be quite triggering for those who are having to return to their family homes. This can resurface tensions and opposing beliefs between relatives. While it can be intimidating for some to be left alone with one’s own thoughts for too long, I think this is a perfect time to teach ourselves some resilience to prepare us for any mental health triggers we face. For me, it’s all about self-care. Practising self-care can sound like a cliché this point and while I will always advocate for lighting a soy wax candle and applying a face mask, sometimes it’s a bit more than that. Internalised homophobia, biphobia or transphobia might mean you struggle to be kind to yourself. But practising self-care can help boost your self-esteem. Remember, you deserve support and respect, whatever your identity or background. Mind.co.uk have a page on LGBTIQ+ mental health support, which covers lots of options. This includes more tips on self-care, seeking help and specialist LGBTIQ+ services.
When you’re living with a mental health problem, having access to the right information is vital. We’re proud to be supporting Mind UK as our official Charity partner. For more information about the brilliant work which mind do, click here.
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