by Justin Standfield
From 10th to 16th May 2021, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme for this year’s campaign is #ConnectWithNature. In a similar way to 2020, this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week comes at a time when our daily lives remain disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The past 14 months have brought many challenges for all of us and we know that everyone is living through a very difficult and uncertain experience right now, so it’s more important than ever to look after our mental health as best we can. At the start of the pandemic in Spring last year, I launched Incendo’s free programme of 12 webinars, Mindfulness In The Mayhem (MitM). This programme was just one of the ways Incendo has provided free support to people and organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m pleased to say that we had 100 participants on the MitM programme.
A major focus of our work with corporate clients during 2020-21 has been resilience, employee wellness, compassionate leadership and developing ‘coping’ strategies. We recently created some video content on wellbeing, recorded a personal development podcast and designed a booklet of mindfulness tools for young people. I thought I would recognise 2021’s Mental Health Awareness Week by using the Incendo blog to share some tips on how to de-stress during this difficult period of time; these ideas come from a range of organisations who are doing great work in this field.
There’s every chance that you’ll have seen some of these tips on other websites or in articles recently, because those of us who work in people/organisational development and wellness are giving out similar messages to continue supporting people during the pandemic. Like me, you could sometimes wonder “what else is there that I could be doing to lower my stress during all this uncertainty?” and perhaps assume that there’s an elusive, magical approach out there that would be perfect for you…but you haven’t discovered it yet. Again like me, you might be somewhat fatigued with the samey lists that encourage you to get good sleep, do some exercise, think positive, eat nutritious food, reduce your nicotine/alcohol intake and above all else…be mindful.
Here’s the thing – the reason that we keep seeing all of these similar suggestions is that they work. Research tells us that they’re effective, the evidence is clear. But I know that they only work for me if (a) I remember to do them and (b) I open my mind to the possibility that they could work for me!
Before I signpost you to some of the great resources on other people’s websites, remember that Incendo has published several wellbeing-related blog articles over the last few years. In keeping with the theme of #ConnectWithNature, you might like to check out my blog article Bring your awareness back to nature, which I wrote for Earth Day earlier this year.
There are dozens of articles in our blog, but I’ve selected the following six to highlight for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 as they offer insights and ideas on stress, mindfulness and wellness for individuals.
There are some fantastic resources out there that are made freely available on the the following websites:
Mental Health Foundation
The Mental Health Foundation website has information on how to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Mind’s online resources contain practical advice for staying at home and managing your mental health.
Rethink Mental Illness
In order to assist their supporters and staff, Rethink have set up an online hub to provide practical COVID-19 support and information that’s useful for people living with (or supporting people with) mental illness.
Among other things, their website explains the common symptoms and causes of some mental health conditions; it also looks at some of the practical ways you can reduce stress during the era of COVID-19.
Their advice page is very useful for young adults and children who are struggling with self-isolation or the impact that coronavirus is having on their mental health.
The UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health has a new section dedicated to the pandemic, with an emphasis on looking after yourself.