19th February

Yo Davies – Five things to consider doing to increase mental well-being

We can all have days when things seem to get on top of us or get us down. The Covid 19 pandemic and resulting series of lockdowns has been hard for most people but particularly difficult for some. At one extreme if you are isolated on your own or at the other extreme trying to work and home school children; life’s problems can seem overwhelming.

Many of you will know that I caught Covid in March 2020 and whilst I am now almost 100% better, it has taken a long time to recover. In order to have a positive focus I turned to research that has shown there are 5 things one can do to increase a sense of mental well-being. I found it very helpful.

Lent is a season when some of us give up something we normally enjoy but during this year when we are doing without many things, perhaps it might be a challenge to focus on the positive instead.

Here are the 5 things to consider:

1. Exercise: a daily amount of exercise. It doesn’t have to be a lot…a daily walk, a few exercises – sitting exercises are okay too!

2. Learn: Try to learn something new. I am learning Spanish but I don’t always feel like studying so maybe looking a word up in the dictionary, reading some history, reading a part of the Bible you are not familiar with, trying a puzzle in the paper or online.

3. Connect: Make a connection with people – by telephone, Zoom, letter, email, speak to someone you pass in the street. A simple “Hello” is a connection.

4. Give: Give something each day…It doesn’t have to be a tangible gift though it could be! How about thanks to someone who delivers to you, thanks to yourself for the completion of a difficult task, some food to the food bank, a treat to a neighbour, a brush to a pet!

5. Notice: Keep yourself alert to everything around you and changes there may be or anything that induces as sense of wonder. Flowers coming into bloom, birdsong, a beautiful photo in the paper, the taste of a new food, music.

The key thing is to try to keep these things in your mind and check them off each day. There will be days when you don’t manage 5 and that is not a problem. There is another day tomorrow and you have realised ( noticed !) that it isn’t so easy. That is one of the things to tick off!

I put my efforts onto Facebook and some kind people told me that they were helpful. It also kept me disciplined enough to keep trying. Writing things down does help.

Yesterday 5/2/2021 my list was as follows:

Exercise…a dog walk

Learn…about the process of inoculation by William Sutton, who preceded Jenner in the treatment of small pox.

Connect…on Zoom as it was a friend’s birthday

Give…a present to the same friend

Notice…a single rose still blooming on our wall!