tips for better mental health & coping with anxiety

Looking after our mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever right now, but isn’t always as easy as we would like it to be. With so much happening in the news and on social media, many of our anxieties have been exacerbated which takes a toll on how we are feeling day to day.

To help you through this period and keep your mind feeling a little better, we’ve curated some of the most helpful tips for better mental health and for coping with anxiety. We’ve also included the apps we’re using to help us through this time.

5 tips for better mental health

1. do things that make you feel good

Being able to do the things that make us feel good are always beneficial to our mental health. Focusing on things we enjoy also provides our minds with a distraction with some of the negative or obsessive thoughts that might be making us feel low.

From organising cupboards to dancing to virtual quizzes with friends or watching films; anything that makes you feel good is on the list. If you have little ones, try to find some time everyday to do something for yourself, and never feel bad about what you’re doing - you don’t need to be productive all the time.

2. curate your social media feed

Even though social media helps us to feel connected, it can also become a source of stress and negative feelings. You might find that you are becoming lost in a world of Instagram posts about what you should be doing at home or with your children, and they might not be helping your mood.

Anything that doesn’t make you feel positive and good can be unfollowed for the time being - you can always refollow that person in the future. You get to chose your social media feed, so make it a possible one.

3. look after your body

You’ll see this one mentioned time and time again, but it really is important to better mental health.

Not only will regular exercise (outside if possible and allowed by Government guidelines) and eating healthy benefit your mind, but both help keep you feeling fit & healthy, which is very important during these times.

All you need is 30 minutes a day of exercise and you can get your little ones involved with this too! By eating healthy you can better your immune system, and keep your mind feeling good - why read our 7 foods to boost your mood.

4. spread kindness amongst others

During a period like this we can often become distraught with the fact that we cannot help people and that there are others in awful situations. If you’re feeling like this and it’s playing on your mind, then why not spread a little kindness?

You can make a donation to the NHS, provide a shelter with food, help to source vital supplies for hospitals or drop a care package outside for an elderly neighbour.

5. be open and honest

Something that really helps to alleviate some of those thoughts going around in your mind is sharing them with others.

You don’t have to go into the details if you don’t want to, but even just reaching out to a friend and letting them know you are not coping can make the difference. So many of us are struggling right now, but together we can support one another and help to remind one another of something that will make us smile and feel a little bit better.

So be open and honest about how you’re feeling.

5 tips for coping with anxiety

1. focus on the things you can control

One aspect of anxiety is not being able to control things that are happening and that allows us to feel like we’re losing grip of things.

During this pandemic there are many elements that no-one can control, and therefore it’s important to focus on the things that we can control instead.

You can take steps to keep yourself safe by staying home, washing your hands and following guidelines. Anything you can control should be your focus.

2. stay connected with friends and family

Being isolated at home can feel frustrating and bring a sense of anxiety, but by staying connected that sense of loneliness can be alleviated a little more.

Staying in touch with family and friends can give you a way of always knowing how people are doing, that they are safe and doing okay, and that they are still there no matter what happens.

3. be kind to yourself

As a parent we are often overthinking everything and wondering if having a bad day is impacting our children. As long as you are doing what you can, then you shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone else and what they’re doing or how they’re coping.

We never know what others are going through or feeling so it’s best to focus on yourself and your family. Be kind on yourself and remember that there is no right or wrong way of feeling or doing anything.

4. limit alcohol and other substances

Even though we all turn to our crutches in times of need, this can often make our emotions worse and not for the better. If you’re struggling with anxiety or low moods at all, it’s generally recommended that you try to lower your intake of alcohol as it can often be a depressant. You could opt for alcohol free alcohol or choose other beverage treats that you like.

5. don't keep reading the news

Something that really increases anxiety and feeling worried about the current situation and the future can be reading the news.

Even though helpful and informative, there can also be a lot of frightening stories out there that make us feel overwhelmed and completely out of control of what’s happening.

If the news is making you feel like this - then avoid it for a few days, turn off your notifications and ask someone you trust to give you relevant updates if you need them.

5 of our favourite mental health & anxiety apps

1. Expectful

If you’re trying for a baby, pregnant or a parent, you might often find you are struggling with mental health, anxiety and also sleeping well. Expectful is an app designed to provide you with selfless self-care with meditations that help your mind and body, and give you a better night’s sleep.

2. Cove

Music is often used as a way to relax our minds and take us to a more positive place. Cove app is created to help improve your mental health by getting you to create music. It’s currently being used by the NHS, and has glowing reviews from The Guardian. You can create music to channel your emotions.

3. Moodfit

This app is designed to help you keep track of your emotions and monitor how you are feeling on a daily basis. Moodfit allows you to track what elements in a day make you feel good or bad so that you can avoid triggers. You can also set reminders such as a breathing exercise or to write down something you are grateful for.

4. Headspace

For a better mind, Headspace is one of the most popular and downloaded apps out there. Focusing on mindfulness it has guided exercises, videos and articles which are good for mental health, stress, anxiety, sleep and healthy living. Headspace also have a children’s version which is perfect to keep the whole family feeling happy.

5. Stop, Breathe & Think

This app could be used as part of your daily homeschooling activities as it helps children to focus on activities that teach mindfulness, being quiet and promotes better sleep. Designed for children ages 5-10, it gives missions that help them feel calm and positive.

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