We are all likely to experience mental health challenges during the coronavirus outbreak. Here are MindOut’s top tips for living with stress, isolation, anxiety and depression.
Ask for help: LGBTQ people wait longer than the rest of the population to ask for support, you don’t have to. Contact MindOut, your GP, friends, family, neighbours if you need any help to get you through.
Connect with others: Stay in touch with people you value and who value you. Depth of connection is really important, more important than frequency. Keep connected to people in your LGBTQ communities.
Be active: Exercise creates feel good chemicals in the brain. Do something active if you are able to, get outside if that is possible. Even light exercise can improve your mood.
Practice mindfulness: Unlock your inner Zen by practicing breathing and meditation techniques. If this is new to you, apps such as Head Space and Calm are a good place to start. Many yoga teachers are also offering classes online.
Get creative: Whether it’s drawing, painting, baking, writing, card making, knitting or making photo albums of Prides gone by, creativity focuses the mind and reduces anxiety.
Keep learning: A great way to occupy your mind is to learn something, whether that’s a new language, a practical skill or one of the creative pastimes listed above. Stimulation and distraction can help how you feel, as well as keeping you in the present.
Look up from the screen: Technology is a great link to the outside world, but staring at screens can contribute to stress and anxiety, take frequent breaks.
Read books: Reading books needs concentration, which can reduce stress and anxiety. Short stories are great. If you can’t read, listening to podcasts and audio books can be very soothing.
Eat as well as you can: Food plays a major role in mood and behaviour. It’s the perfect time to get creative in the kitchen!
Write a Journal: Writing whatever comes into your mind can help to process feelings. Include dreams, poems and just let the pen flow.
Give to others: There are many volunteering opportunities at the moment, including at MindOut! Contact us if you’re interested in helping us with telephone peer mentoring or online support.
MindOut for Each Other: Remember that when you reach out to someone, it benefits you both. LGBTQ mental health is a community concern more than ever and we need to be there for each other.
Contact MindOut: MindOut is there for all LGBTQ people who have mental health concerns, whether that’s related to coronavirus or anything else. Our online service is open every day, see www.mindout.org.uk or ring us on 01273 234839 or email [email protected]