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By Bridget Walford, Counsellor and Director at The Eaves

With it being reported that nearly one in three of us were feeling anxiety, depression or psychological distress in April 2020, it is not surprising that nearly 2 years on mental health continues to be a focus for so many.

Our NHS Mental Health Services are understandably under pressure, the WHO (World Health Organisation) states that ‘the pandemic is increasing demand for mental health services. Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety.’

At The Eaves, we have seen a month-on-month increase in direct referrals for anxiety, OCD, depression, disordered eating and relationship difficulties. These come from people across all ages, all genders and all demographics within Surrey and across the UK (for online sessions). With waiting lists for NHS Mental Health Services for children and adults becoming ever longer, many are seeking private healthcare to be able to access professional services sooner.

 

How can I look after myself (and others)?

Working from home can be a great advantage for many. However, shorter winter days can lead to more isolation, not going out in the daylight and neglecting self-care, such as dressing for work, socialising, bathing and eating well. It could be an idea to draw up a timetable for a ‘good day’ (i.e. wake at 7am, half-hour walk or maybe yoga, 7.45am good breakfast, shower, dress for work, and so on). Aim to include the main elements each day,  especially a decent bedtime and nighttime routine.

For some, online resources can help. There are a wealth of CBT resources, mindfulness and relaxation videos and even yoga and pilates. There may be online forums and Facebook groups that encourage a hobby or interest of yours whilst allowing social interaction. Use this time to self-educate and learn more about what interests you.

Remember, a ‘not so good day’ gets wiped out by sleep and you get to start new!

Since the pandemic, you may have more time to talk with others. Even if this is not in person, try to really focus on them when you do – turn the tv off! The latest social media trend suggests that we ask once, and then ask again. Often people will say ‘I’m fine’ when they are really not. Try not to give instruction, advice or encourage others to be inauthentically cheerful and upbeat. Let them know it’s ok to not be ok. Perhaps try and meet up when you feel comfortable doing so.

 

If you feel like you’d like to talk to someone about what concerns you, or worries for those around you, please contact The Eaves Client Services Team. You can call us on 01483 917000 or send in an online request form via our website. We also have limited availability in our low-cost service for those on a limited income, please state ‘low cost’ when you call.