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Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

18 May 2020

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

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In 2020, the Mental Health Foundation has chosen to focus on the link between the quality of our sleep and the quality of our mental health for their annual Mental Health Awareness Week. We at Validium would like to widen this comparison by reviewing the mental health benefits of developing daily relaxation practices for our overall sense of wellbeing.

When the Mental Health Foundation alighted on their sleep theme for 2020, they would not have anticipated the coronavirus pandemic and its major impact on the population’s daily rhythms of life. Nevertheless, we at Validium believe the theme of sleep and relaxation could not be more pertinent in these days of coronavirus stress. Think of the difference in your day-to-day wellbeing when you are getting good quality sleep. It feels wonderful to wake in the morning rested and empowered to take on the challenges of the day ahead. However, we also know too well the feeling of tossing and turning all night and waking up feeling shattered before we have even stepped out of bed. Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation are not only physically exhausting but also mentally depleting. Coronavirus and the need to “Stay Home” have disrupted life’s normal certainties. Validium would recommend developing a good sleep routine and daily relaxation practice, as an aid to wellbeing. Quality sleep and daily relaxation practices are mutually reinforcing. If you take time to switch off from your anxieties in the daytime, it will most likely lead to a better night’s sleep. Relaxation practices, such as breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, and quality sleep not only reduce stress and boost mental wellbeing but also improve physical immunity

Here are our five top tips to help you relax:

1. Take up a new hobby which is mentally absorbing. Activities like knitting, cooking, gardening, or playing an instrument require full concentration and are therefore a great way of switching off.

2. Set a regular time for daily, formal relaxation practice to help produce a calm and relaxed feeling in mind and body. To see the NHS recommendations, please visit this website: https://www.cntw.nhs.uk/resource-library/ relaxation-techniques/

3. Follow Mental Health Foundation guidelines for Sleep: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/ato-z/s/sleep

4. Be more “kindful” to yourself: developing an attitude of self-compassion is key to giving yourself a break.

5. Reach out if you are struggling with sleeping. Poor sleep is a common issue and there are professionals and friends who would want to support you to get a better night’s rest.