Think Tank

Looking after our mental health: Guest spot by Victoria Poole from Mind in Somerset

We all know that the last few months have been different; resulting in an extraordinary change in the way we live our lives. Everyone will have their own unique experiences during this time and has been affected differently.

One of my favourite quotes recently is; ‘We are all in the same storm, but we are not all in the same boat’. This sums up everything I am feeling perfectly, and I hope it resonates with you. It has been a testing time for everyone, with unexpected highs and lows.

Unknowingly our mental health may have suffered.

Through all of this we must remember that it really is okay not to be okay. There are many resources that can help in a number of ways and little things that we can all do to help ourselves.

28th July 2020

The sudden and radical change to our routine and lifestyles has heighted feelings of fear and anxiety for many people. The ‘new normal’ of working from home, juggling family and dealing with isolation can lead to feeling out of control, especially when your coping mechanisms are no longer available.

This can be an opportunity to develop new ways of coping, trying that one thing you’ve never had time for before – dare I say the cliché of learning and perfecting the art of sour dough. A change to your existing routine can also bring new joys.

Joy and happiness mean something different to everyone and can be triggered by different things. About 40% of our happiness is based on the activities we do and the relationships we have with those around us. This is why during lockdown it has become so important to focus on those things that make us happy, even if that means finding something new.

1. Be active

We are all aware how good exercise is for your mental health, as well as your physical health. Whilst gyms are still closed, you may find yourself joining the new world of virtual exercise classes, finding your new favourite work out. Alternatively, you may go for a walk, concentrating on the beautiful sights and sounds around you.

Exercise helps us sleep better as well as improving your overall mood and mental wellbeing, so give something new a try, you may be surprised!

2. Stay Connected

Social interaction and relationships are fundamental to our wellbeing. Which is why even introverts have found this long lockdown a trying time. Those locked down with large families may find  themselves craving time out, but not time alone. This is completely normal, we need variety!

Simply using social media is not enough to meet that need, they are too superficial and can lack meaningful connection.

Why not try video calling? It doesn’t just need to be for meetings for work they can also help connect friends and family, simply seeing a smiling face can help you smile, they are also contagious! Make it an occasion, that friend you normally meet for a coffee. Why not have your coffee break together on video? Or even evening wine time!

3. Keep learning

Boredom can be as destructive to wellbeing and happiness in isolation. Watching Netflix or scrolling on your phone can leave your brain idling and although you are doing something, are you really engaged or is it habit?

With fewer distractions and more time, now is an excellent opportunity to learn a new skill or start that tricky lock down project you’ve considered tackling. This can lead to engagement and a sense of achievement, lifting your mood.

There have never been more opportunities to learn online, so take advantage! Even learning coping strategies, information about mental health or wellness will help you feel engaged whilst also helping you through out your day. Mind in Somerset offer a wide range of free virtual training courses for anyone who would like to explore these subjects and help themselves.

4. Be Present

In our normal busy lives, we are often rushing from task to task, juggling and feeling a sense of guilt in many aspects of life. Always worried that if we slow down, we will fall ill or miss something.

However, being present in the moment, being mindful, has countless benefits. From reducing anxiety and stress to simply boosting your mood and even having a positive impact on relationships. Mindfulness is a crucial way of dealing with new emotions and new situations.

Let yourself be in the moment, feel your emotions and the world will become lighter and clearer.

If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs someone else to talk to, remember we are always here. Our Mindline service is now 24/7 and our incredible team of call handlers are here to listen and help. It is okay not to be okay. You don’t need to suffer in silence.

Go to to see how Mind in Somerset’s Mindline service can help you, a friend or family member.

Victoria Poole. Mind in Somerset