“We have learnt that amid the anxiety, there is community, support and hope”

The coronavirus outbreak took us all by surprise and has created anxiety, uncertainty and stress.  

One positive thing we may have noticed, however, across the world, in our city and even in our neighbourhood, is that kindness is prevailing in these uncertain times.

Some people are coming together to sing on balconies in Italy, others are setting up groups to offer support to the vulnerable and there is hopefully a strong sense of community wherever you are. Across Leeds this Mental Health Awareness Week, we have seen blue squiggle artwork appearing in people’s windows alongside their NHS rainbows, with these people flying the flag for looking after mental health, and reminding everyone that they are not alone.

What this says to me is, that amid the anxiety, there is community, support and hope.

We are living in unprecedented times so self-care has never been more important. Since mental health is for life (not just for Mental Health Awareness Week!), think about what you can do today that will take you one step closer to your own self-care plan.

To keep my own anxiety at bay I have turned to mindfulness and am reading a good book called Mindfulness for Health by Danny Penman and Vidyamala Burch. I tried mindfulness in the past and stopped it as I didn’t see the immediate effects. This time around, six weeks in, I can feel its having a positive effect, and I’m glad I gave it another go. As the airlines say, “put on your own mask before assisting others” – only by looking after yourself can you be there to support someone else. 

Thank you to Lisa for her contribution to the blog. Here is the activity we’ve seen during Mental Health Awareness Week 2020: