It’s been a long few years, hasn’t it? The Brexit deadline moved from March, to October, to January – and the day is finally here.
However you align politically, there’s probably one thing we can all agree on: we’re exhausted. So if ever there was a time to practise self-care and give yourself a break, it’s now.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Get the basics right
Dr Mark Williamson, director of Action For Happiness, previously told HuffPost UK that the first step of self-care should be looking after your body’s most basic needs. “We’re much better able to make wise decisions, help others and bounce back from difficulties when we get enough sleep and stay physically active,” he said, “even if it’s just a short walk to get some fresh air.”
Filling your body with energising food – such as porridge, whole grains, nuts, seeds and plenty of fruit and veg – should also be a priority.
Turn off those WhatsApp notifications
If friends or family don’t align the same way politically as you, there’s nothing you can do to change that. Getting sucked into a WhatsApp debate isn’t a good idea, because it’ll leave everyone feeling worse. Yes, it’s important to talk to those outside your own political bubble sometimes – but not all the time. Put your phone down and have a calmer conversation when you feel read to hear opposing views.
Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at mental health charity, Mind, suggests taking a break from technology altogether. “Try turning off news notifications on your phone or switching off from social media,” she says.
Consume news with caution
Being politically engaged is a positive thing, but everyone needs a break every once in a while. “Consider how much information and news you take in and reflect on how it’s affecting you. If you are getting angry or frustrated, reduce your intake of news,” the Mental Health Foundation advises.
If you’re finding the current news cycle overwhelming, it may help to seek out positive stories. HuffPost UK’s Humankind section highlights people completing kind acts in their communities to help others – have a read, it’ll brighten your day.
Reach out to help others
Numerous studies have linked volunteering with improvements in mental health, with the act of doing something seemingly selfless boosting happiness – so helping others has the added benefit of helping yourself.
If you’re worried how the election result might impact a certain community, research how you can help them – and sign up.
Ask for help if you need it
Remember, there is no shame in asking for help if you’re in need of extra mental health support. Nash says if you are struggling to cope, speak to your GP.
The Samaritans also offers emotional support 24 hours a day – in full confidence. You can call them for free on 116 123.
If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, such as suicidal thoughts or self-harm, you can access the Shout Crisis Text Line by texting Shout to 85258.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: email@example.com
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.