Make time to clear your head

Mental Health Minister, Clare Haughey

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The coronavirus pandemic has changed life for everyone in Scotland and had a real impact on how many of us are feeling.

Not being able to see friends and family over the past few weeks, the loss of livelihoods and for some the pain and loss of health and loved ones, has understandably resulted in feelings of anxiety, grief, worry and frustration.

Some people will have felt low whilst coping with the necessary restrictions, maybe struggling with their emotions for the first time and finding themselves angry or upset for no reason.

As the nation moves into the first phase of easing lockdown restrictions, the coming weeks may bring a mixture of different feelings and emotions as people start to think about going outside again – but there are things that can be done to make it easier, with help and support available.
The Scottish Government’s Clear Your Head campaign provides practical tips on the things we can do to feel better, reminding people that what they are feeling is alright.

Supported by SAMH, Breathing Space and the Samaritans, the campaign website – clearyourhead.scot – also provides sources of help for those who need to talk to someone about how they’re feeling.

Whether it’s dealing with the pressure of juggling childcare with work commitments, facing continued isolation at home, or feeling anxious about returning to work, there are things you can do every day that will help you through it.

Keeping to a routine as much as possible, by sleeping and waking at the same time and eating at regular times can give your day structure and help you feel more in control.

Now we’re able to go outside more than once a day, making time to go for a walk, jog and cycle can help boost self-esteem, energy levels, and importantly help us sleep better.

Staying connected has never been more important, particularly if you’ve had a bad day or are feeling stressed. A problem shared is a problem halved and a phone call or video chat with family and friends can lift your mood, relieving tension and easing worry. And if you are feeling good, sharing that with your loved ones can be really positive.

If you find yourself feeling anxious when you’re outside, taking deep breaths and focusing on something still until your breathing has calmed can help. Make a plan for what you’ll do when you head out, and don’t put any pressure on yourself – take things a day at a time.

Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said: ‘It’s never been more important to look after our mental health, and this campaign highlights the things we can do every day to feel better and stay mentally healthy.

‘It’s important that people know what support is there if they need to speak to someone. We appreciate everyone’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, and hope this campaign helps people to take care of themselves over the coming weeks.’

Tony McLaren, Breathing Space National Coordinator, added: ‘Mental health has a huge impact on our thoughts, behaviours and emotions. It’s so important to prioritise our mental health, particularly during times of stress. The Breathing Space phone line is available in the evenings and at weekends, to provide listening, advice and signposting to anyone who is struggling.’

For tips on how to clear your head and feel better, and details of helplines that can offer support, visit www.clearyourhead.scot