Mental Health and Wellbeing in the UK

We write this during the times of the coronavirus where in the UK the death rate is high. The infection rate is quite high. We hope to learn a lot from the UK. The NHS has produced this 405-page long report and you can read it here.

Although the report was written in 2014 some of the statistics and factors are relevant to today.

Now the UK is known for its poor diet of fatty foods and puddings. But they have their fair share of problems such as disabilities which are mental and psychological. One of the factors listed in the report was changes to the economy in 2007. Again the rest of the world is going through a recession due to the global pandemic. And now we have another one: Coronavirus. Mental illness has increased in women and stayed stable in men. Young women are more likely to have mental health problems.

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The unemployed, people who have a disability or care for someone that does are the worst affected. People on the Autism spectrum, Attention deficit disorder are some of the higher people affected mentally and they would be during the pandemic due to the fact that carers wouldn’t be allowed to come to their house (that’s if you are under Stage four).

Suicidal is one of the main mental health factors in this pandemic.  This problem affects people that live alone or are unemployed. Most of the people that tried to self-harm were women in their mid to late forties. What we mean by self-harm is: cutting yourself, burn yourself, swallow something you shouldn’t, or another way to self-harm. About 50% of people tried to self-harm and then they got help from their GP.

Now that the virus has hit.

We need to better look after those that are more vulnerable such as the elderly and those that are without work. We need to be able to provide some safe and suitable employment for all ages. Employers should not discriminate based on age, race, or disability. People with a stable job are those that are happiest.

This is also a good time to think about health coaching. Health coaches are able to teach people about stress management and you might just learn a thing or two from this experience.

We all need to look out for each other. If you see someone in distress do try and reach out to them. They might thank you one day for saving their life. Don’t be afraid to call Lifeline if you cannot help them yourself.

Most businesses are upskilling on mental health to help everyone cope with the aftermath of the pandemic.


Managing anxiety throughout Coronavirus times

We talk about managing anxiety for autistic during the Coronavirus pandemic when we are all in lockdown and the carer might not be there to assist you.

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I know of several friends who are autistic and would have a hard time managing anxiety. I know of one who misses the city so much. Pre pandemic he used to visit the city every day. Now we are in a lockdown.

For normal people anxiety is not such a huge issue for them. But for people who are autistic and cannot access their carers it can be. Not seeing extended family and friends can be a lot harder for them. Even seeing the high numbers can be a bit of a challenge.

Yenn Perkis has shared some of her strategies with us:

She says that some deep breathing strategies should be used. Meditation is one such useful strategy.

Mindful body awareness is another way of dealing with the anxiety of the challenge. Mindfulness helps as it is a meditation technique for anxiety and there are many apps to help with that. Headspace is awesome

Distract yourself with various fun things to do at home (or work for that matter). I know we’re allowed to leave the house for exercise. If you can do that, explore various paths in your local suburb/postcode (you can be the Karen of Brighton in this instance).

Seek help if you really need it. There are online services that counsel people with autism. Do have a look on Google.com to find your local one and remember that they can do telehealth in times of Coronavirus. Talk to friends online and seek help from your family. Your carer might be able to help if you have one.

This is one of ours. Try and stick to your routine as much as you can as this might help with your anxiety. Things are always changing on a daily basis but if you have a routine, it might help try and settle you.


An open letter to anxiety

Dear anxiety,

I know you are not really present during normal situations. But this is not a normal situation and I sometimes feel anxious when I hear that we have high numbers of the virus. We have a lot of high numbers in Victoria and now I get so anxious. The high numbers means that I might one day catch the virus even though I don’t want to.

The high numbers also mean worrying about whether or not we all have jobs at the end of this. It means that some of the businesses might not be able to cope with the low patronage. It means tougher restrictions. I worry about these tougher restrictions as it would mean the end of some jobs and business.

I worry about my friends and the fact that they might not have jobs at the end. I miss all my friends. I worry about them getting COVID and that our hospital system will be overrun.

But its not the end of the world. I know that I need to learn to cope with a new normal and that will take some time. We all just have to keep playing our part and staying the course.

I hope that I can cope with this for a while,

x Not anxious


Four simple ways to reduce anxiety

We all have anxiety sometimes. We all need time to unwind and we should reduce anxiety. If we have too much anxiety we gain weight and we don’t sleep well. Too much anxiety can affect our way of life including our relationships with people.

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Reconnect yourself

If you reconnect yourself you can feel when you are hurting and comfort yourself. Comforting yourself might be journalling or cooking, whatever you like to do. Or it can be talking to a friend.

Have some downtime each day where you do nothing.

For me I love to watch Youtube or go outside for a walk. I love to watch those WWYD videos as they give people hope and give me some hope too. It inspires me to help other people.

Having downtime is important for relaxing the mind and the body. Without it we do not function well and we run like a well oiled machine but with a part or two missing.

Start a gratitude journal

Journaling your thoughts is a great idea and can help you express your feelings. You can know yourself a bit better. You can do it electronically or in a physical book. A physical book though is a lot more fun and there are some nice books that you can buy at Typo.

Learn mindfulness and befriend the mind

Mindfulness is about being in the present and not dwelling on the past. The mind can do wonderful things for us. The mind can think of wonderful things rather than negative thoughts. Here we can meditate and just relax. Just focus on your breathing.

We feel much happier if we don’t dwell on the past.


Enjoying the little things in life

Its important to enjoy those little things in life whether it would be buying a new pair of shoes or exploring a new trail. Or it could be going to a wedding that is small and country like.

That way you’ll avoid feeling overly stressed at work and in the lead up to Christmas we are all busy as office workers. As office workers we go to the many Christmas gatherings as well as having too many things to do at work to round out the year.

As office workers we obsess about weight. Weight doesn’t really matter in life. When we obsess too much we don’t sleep as well and our immune system gets weaker instead of stronger. It’s how you enjoy life that matters and the things that you do each day. Sometimes each day can be a struggle but we learn to enjoy just the littlest things such as eating a piece of chocolate or smiling.

I enjoy

  • Lots of outdoor activities- such as running, outdoor BBQs, nature walks.
  • Spritz during the summer months
  • Alfresco dining in the warmer months
  • Green tea
  • Compliments from people about anything and everything

We should not want more and be happy with what we have got. That is the best way to enjoy life. If we don’t enjoy the little things and want the grander things, we will get overly stressed and overwhelmed.

A lot of people want more in life and at work but sometimes its not achievable. We should be grateful for what we have each day and try to see the best in people.

We should live in the present and not the past as it creates a stress free life. People that live in the past can be prone to anxiety issues. We should be thankful that we are alive and well.


Loniliness

We all feel loniliness at some time whether its after someone died or you lost a job. But you can get back on your feet and there are ways to do that.

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Loniliness makes us do crazy things and its one of life’s killers. Other than smoking. When you are lonely you feel depressed and anxious. Some people also become suicidal and we lose people because of that.

You could join a club or start one yourself. Why not start a book club if you like to read books or start a running club and they meet a few times a week? Or you could be kind at this time of the year and give back to people, whether it would be a charity or two. There is always another lonely soul down there at this time of the year.

If you lost your job try and find another one. Or start one yourself and then hire people! The more the merrier. The government won’t do anything to try and help low income earners to find a job.

Or you could join the gym and make it a social thing. You could go to the group classes and get to know people before and after the class

Whatever there is, there is always something you could do to get out of this hole! You won’t be in this hole for long!


Its ok not to be ok

Mental health is such a huge issue in today’s society and it is often talked about a lot on Facebook.

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Guys it’s ok not to be ok sometimes.  And it’s ok to ask for help. Depression and anxiety are common in workplaces and universities. Many people don’t seek help because they think that mental health is taboo and in actual fact it is ok. Many people are scared of being fired from their workplace because of speaking out.

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As I visit my old place in RMIT some of those memories of students being excluded haunted me. Myself included in 2013. At that time RMIT was going through a huge change, excluding students when they want to and not offering a listening ear. RMIT’s policies were going through some major changes. In particular, they were changing their exclusion policy and making it stricter for students. At that time RMIT was also cost-cutting and getting more casuals to do the jobs that the full time lecturing staff would do. So, in the end, most of the students with learning difficulties had a hard time understanding what the staff wanted. I have a learning disability so I found it really hard to understand diagrams.

Because of the DLU’s recommendations, I also found it hard to get help from the staff when it’s needed particularly with online courses and understanding the submission process

At that time the Tivoli building was going through some major changes. And the disability unit was nonexistent. I couldn’t really talk to them about what was going on. Nowadays they are not there in the new building (or if they are, they are hidden) But I still have friends there and have moved to a new part of the building. I sometimes get anxious around going and dread going there.

In 2014 I had gained some weight. Part of it was due to the anxiety and depression that I experienced. And I took all that burden up myself. I ate way too much food at dinnertime and I did not have a lifestyle goal in mind. I also was not sleeping well.

At that time I thought that not being ok was not ok. Fast forward to 2018 and not being ok is alright and mental health is rife.

But luckily for me, some of the staff at the student union are still my friends on Facebook. We don’t speak much because I’m so busy but I should. These days I’m more focused on health and welfare and running marathons. And doing Precision nutrition’s course which I’m happy about. They have an easy way to submit things and there is a Facebook group to ask questions on. Nowadays there is also Grammarly to help with the spelling mistakes.

Guys if ever you have a problem just speak to someone about it and don’t hold back. There are many wonderful counselors and you can also talk to Beyond blue. They help thousands of people.


Moodiment week!

This week was to support Beyond Blue at my local Fitness First. Here members can bring in one guest for free

It was an open house to support Beyond Blue. Look there were times that I struggled with anxiety and had it had not been for the gyms and marathons I would not be able to conquer all. This week was time for some anxiety awareness.

There wasn’t a lot of activities at my Fitness first but many members brought in a guest and there were some new memberships. Most new members wanted to lose some weight and wanted to give the bikes a try.

During this week I went out for many runs and ate a lot of good food. It was the week before the holidays so everything was pandemonium at work. But I managed to steady myself in the process. And I managed to stay on top of things that week.

That week I went to my local free dinner and mingled with the other people. It was their birthday and there were balloons around. Now you might know that I am scared of balloons and loud noises. But I managed to conquer all by not thinking about it.

Then Thursday was RU Ok day and here I talked with my friend. I also fit in another run as well as stretching at the gym.

And then Friday was more stretches and fun before the weekend.