The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably left many of us feeling flat and uncertain about the future. So it’s more important than ever that we look after ourselves and our mental health.
This information has been produced by Caring for People, a task-force made up of public and voluntary organisations in Orkney and charged with helping communities recover and build resilience in challenging times. It’s aimed at setting out some practical tips for self care, as well as outlining the local and national sources of help and information.
Let’s start with looking at ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ - five simple areas you can focus on to help take care of your mental wellbeing. Regularly practising these five ways is beneficial for everyone – whether you have a mental health problem or not.
Feeling close to and valued by others is critical to our wellbeing. Connect with people around you - family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Pick up the phone, video call someone or write a letter.
Being curious and seeking out new experiences in life positively stimulates the brain. Try something new, rediscover an old interest or take on a new responsibility at work. The Council offers community learning courses - visit www.orkney.gov.uk to find out more. Feeling ambitious? How about an open university course - www.open.edu/openlearn
Being physically active into only improves physical health - it can boost mood and wellbeing and decrease stress, depression and anxiety. Go for a walk or play a game. Step outside. Garden. You’re never far from a beach in Orkney, and remember the Pickaquoy Centre and Healthy Living Centres throughout Orkney offer group exercise classes and gym facilities. Visit www.pickaquoy.co.uk or www.orkney.gov.uk (check out the Sport and Leisure section).
Carrying out acts of kindness, whether small or large, can increase happiness, life satisfaction and general sense of wellbeing. Do something nice for someone. Thank someone. Volunteer your time - start by checking volunteering opportunities with Voluntary Action Orkney www.vaorkney.org.uk
Paying more attention to the present moment - to thoughts, feelings and the world around us - boosts our wellbeing. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment. Give one task or one person your full attention.
Clear Your Head by Healthier Scotland provides tips and advice on managing anxiety, low moods and stress visit www.clearyourhead.scot
Breathing Space - 0800 838 587 Samaritans - 116 123 (free call) British Red Cross Coronavirus support line - 0808 196 3651 Domestic Violence Hotline - Tel: 0808 2000 247 Childline - Tel: 0800 1111 Cruse Scotland – Bereavement Counselling - Tel: 0808 802 6161 (free call) Rape Crisis Scotland - Tel: 0808 8010302 Mind provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Visit www.mind.org.uk
Worried about friends, family or colleagues?
Speak to your GP or call 999 if you feel the situation is life threatening. Get ‘psychological first aid’ training to help people you care about cope with the emotional impact of COVID-19.
The NHS Grampian Resilience Hub was set up in response to the pandemic. Orkney residents - including children and young people -can access it. Services include a short course to help manage feelings. The Hub is open Monday to Saturday and anyone can self refer using a referral form on their website - go to www.covid19.nhsgrampian.org
Voluntary Action Orkney - 01856 872897 - Directory of community support services and volunteering opportunities in Orkney. - www.vaorkney.org.uk/information-hub/
Orkney Blide Trust - 01856 874874 - Personalised support and activities for people who have or have experienced mental health concerns - and their carers. - www.blidetrust.org.uk or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Age Scotland Orkney - 01856 872438 - Information and services to help everyone love later life, through supporting independence and combating loneliness. - www.agescotlandorkney.org.uk
Orkney Citizens Advice Bureau - 01856 871568 - Help, advice and advocacy on many issues from debt, benefits, housing and employment to relationships and legal matters. - Email: email@example.com
Orkney Rape & Sexual Assault Service (ORSAS) - 01856 872298 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Women’s Aid Orkney - 01856 877900 (Monday-Friday 9am to 4.30pm) or 07538 786885 outwith these hours. - Email: email@example.com