This week (18th – 24th May) marks Mental Health Awareness Week and the University of Bedfordshire’s community is being reminded to look after their minds and wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the importance of self-care and mindfulness during lockdown, Jo said:
As we go into Mental Health Awareness Week, it is increasingly clear that many people are finding the current Covid-19 pandemic very stressful and worrying. The changes to our lifestyles and our perception of a lack of certainty and control can increase our experience of stress and start to impact on our mental wellbeing.
Taking care of our mental health is particularly important during the current climate. Jo has highlighted four key things to consider in order to help reduce anxieties during lockdown:
“Avoid engaging too frequently with social media – if possible, take a break altogether. Try to limit the amount of news you read or watch. Although there is a need to keep up-to-date with the news, there is also a danger in becoming too immersed in it and worrying unnecessarily or deliberating about it.”
“Maintain a routine and talk to others regularly… Get up in the morning as you would normally and go to bed at a similar time each night. Plan a list of priorities for the day ahead. Eat healthily, drink plenty of water and limit your alcohol intake. Exercise if you can and get as much fresh air as possible.”
“Do not be hard on yourself. Do nice things. Try things that are challenging to help occupy your mind or practise something creative which makes you relax or feel calm. Distract yourself with activities such as crafts, jigsaws, baking or gardening – you can get lots of new hobby inspiration from YouTube, Netflix and podcasts. Generally be kind to yourself and others.”
Carol found that our virtual Crafternoon was a welcome break from all that's going on at the moment.— Mind (@MindCharity) April 28, 2020
Why not join us for our next one this Friday 1 May at 4pm? Do something creative, take some time for yourself and fundraise for better mental health. > https://t.co/pJWs7FSYgN pic.twitter.com/nWpu0posDs
“Struggling to sleep is often an indicator that something is worrying you. Don’t ignore this, try to reflect on what might be happening – is there a deadline coming up that you are concerned about, are family members not getting on, are you feeling isolated and lonely or missing friends and family????
“To help alleviate sleep troubles, try to go to bed as you normally would in terms of timings and pre-sleep routine. Try to remove caffeine from your diet or at least avoid it several hours before bedtime. Avoid scary or negative TV, books and films just before bed to help prevent bad thoughts from creeping in. If you have a shower or bath in the evening do this an hour or more before you go to bed – this will allow your body temperature to return to normal before you try to sleep.”
Practising mindfulness is another useful tool to help identify emotions and improve mental health. The NHS has created a Mood Self-Assessment ‘quiz’ which allows people to figure out the type of support they may need, dependent on their present feelings.
The University’s student support team also offers mental health advice and information for any students who may have concerns or questions about their wellbeing. The team can be contacted by emailing [email protected] or via the website: http://www.voltasgec.com/student-support/mentalwell/
University of Bedfordshire Senior Scriptwriting Lecturer Toby Norways has been named one of five winners of the national screenwriting competition ‘Twisted Tales in Lockdown’.
Emergency funding to help support local artists has been successfully secured from Arts Council England (ACE) thanks to a collaborative effort by the University of Bedfordshire, Luton Borough Council and a number of creative charities.
Ahead of the International Day of Yoga on 21st June, University of Bedfordshire’s Get Active team are celebrating a 94% uptake of their online yoga offering since lockdown began.
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