Restrictions may be easing, but looking after your mental health is as important as ever

Date published: 30 June 2020 15:31
Dated: 30 June 2020 16:23:47

South Yorkshire Police officers and staff have shared how they have looked after their wellbeing during lockdown ahead of the further easing of restrictions this weekend.

With hairdressers, restaurants and pubs permitted to open from this weekend with the necessary measures in place, it may start to feel like we are on the way back to ‘normality’.

But life in lockdown is still very different to what we are used to, and it remains important to look after both your physical and mental health.

Barnsley-based PC Mike Senior has spent lockdown getting to grips with new hobbies, online learning and a mission to get fitter and healthier after his father was sadly lost to Covid-19.

Mike said: “Going into lockdown, I was eight weeks onto a weight loss and health regime. Mind over matter has prevailed through lockdown and with an achievable daily step goal and a new relationship with food, I have lost almost four stone.

“Like many others, I’ve also been busy with a list of home improvements and DIY. I have a new love of gardening, and have created an oasis of green on my patio, which means I can enjoy the outdoors and have lunch in the fresh air while working from home.

“As a family, we sadly lost our father to vascular dementia, and ultimately Covid-19. My activities and focus have been the glue that kept my mental health buoyant and above water. Without these I would have really struggled.”

Category manager Pam Roebuck works in regional procurement. She ran a socially distanced half marathon on 23 May, raising £135 for St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds. She has also started a new volunteering role with a cancer awareness charity.

Pam said: “The hospice is where my brother-in-law died last year and the staff were truly amazing. I was supposed to do an organised event, which of course was cancelled, so I thought I’d run it anyway. It was a bit weird and tough without the crowds to cheer you on.

“I’m also now a Leeds Cancer Awareness Project digital ambassador. This has become increasingly important during lockdown as there was, and still is, a fear that people aren’t getting checked out if they think there is something wrong.

“I volunteered because although I’m still working I thought it’s something I can do from home and maybe it might just save someone.”

Amid the pandemic, you may be feeling isolated or lonely; you may be struggling with a loss of routine if you are working from home; or maybe the loss of a job has created additional financial pressures.

Whatever your circumstances, it is important to remember that it is OK to feel this way. But please don’t suffer in silence; there is lots of help and support out there.

The NHS’s Every Mind Matters page has some fantastic tips on some simple things that you can do at home to boost your mental wellbeing.

These include:

  • Keep in touch with friend, family and colleagues, whether through social media, phone calls or video calls.
  • Talk about your worries or concerns, whether with someone you trust, or a helpline.
  • Look after your body – our physical health has a direct impact on our mental health.
  • Don’t watch too much news – keep to a couple of trusted sources such as GOV.UK or the NHS website  and limit how often you access them.
  • Keep doing things you enjoy – make time to pursue your favourite hobbies or even find a new one.
  • Take the time to relax – this can help you deal with difficult emotions and combat feelings of anxiety.
  • Look after your sleep – good quality sleep has a big impact on wellbeing.

In addition, there is lots of support available if you are struggling with your mental health.

The NHS mental health and wellbeing advice pages also have a self-assessment, as well as audio guides and other tools you can use while staying at home.

If you are a parent or caregiver for a child or young person, Young Minds has guidance on talking to your child about coronavirus.

If you need urgent support, Samaritans offer a free 24-hour listening support service. Call them free on 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for people in the UK who are down or have hit a wall for any reason. Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)

They also offer a free, anonymous webchat with trained staff.

If you are under 35 and feel that life is not worth living any more, call the Papyrus HopelineUK from 9am to 10pm weekdays and 2pm to 10pm on weekends.

Call HopelineUK on 0800 068 41 41, Text 07786 209697 or visit the Papyrus website

PC Mike Senior has been keeping busy during lockdown

PC Mike Senior has been keeping busy during lockdown

Pam Roebuck completing her solo half marathon

Pam Roebuck completing her solo half marathon

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