• Susan Reynolds

A little kindness in 2021

The NHS reports that an initial dip in mental health appointments during the first lockdown has been replaced by an ongoing surge, with mental health services due to be under great pressure for some time to come. It’s easy to blame lockdown on the rise in anxiety and depression, but there are many other factors such as the economic downturn, grief after losing loved ones, or the emotional impact of being ill with the virus itself. On the other side of this lockdown, Dr. Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warns that the psychological impact of the virus is long-term, and that even after it becomes safe, it is going to take us a while to get used to being out and about again.

How do we protect our mental health over the coming months? Here are three thoughts:

Yes, eat healthily, but now might not be the time to impose strict regimes on yourself. Don’t eat and drink in ways that will impact your physical health, or your sleep quality. The same with exercise – get moving out in the fresh air, but you don’t need to transform yourself into an athlete right now.

Talk to someone you trust about your worries and sadnesses. Check in with friends and fam

ily often to see if they are OK, or need to talk.

Find your mental ‘third place’ – an activity that clears your head and enables you to stop thinking about the virus for a little while. Mine is reading, or watching a good movie.

Kindness is the way forward, for yourself, and for others.

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