In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, never has there been a better time to pay attention to our own mental health and we can do this by tiny little acts of connection. Alongside the crisis, there is a no less potent crisis surrounding our own mental health. Increased anxiety, stress, isolation and economic uncertainty are creating a storm that is challenging our own wellbeing.

It’s crucial that we look after each other and by doing this we are helping ourselves. Self-care is essential every day but more important at the moment.  Nailing some of the basics is key to getting through the days during this crazy time. Some days I am rocking the positive attitude and other days I lack motivation and any positive thinking. Alongside the things that we can do, as social creatures, we crave human connection. We can act collectively, with others and for others. We crave connection and collective action.

Being at the helm of a large community, I am seeing a lot of amazing stuff happening for the greater good. By connecting with others, we are helping ourselves. Sounds like a cliche but it works.

Here are some top tips that have worked for me:

  • Switch off your phone for different periods during the day and connect with nature. The world won’t end if you do this. We spend so much time on our phones. Connecting with the digital world for both personal and business use is important. I’m not saying don’t do it. But too much has a negative impact on our own health and mental wellbeing. Connecting to the natural world is just as important. Everything outside looks greener and brighter. The sky is bluer. The sound of the natural world around us is louder. A couple of days ago, I went for a walk along the river. The vista was stunning. It was like a freshly painted oil painting. The colours were so vibrant. It was breathtaking. Even if you are having a bad day, get outside. Take a breath and look around you. Connecting with nature is incredible right now. I get up early and do some work before the rest of my house is awake so I can have periods where I am not digitally connected during the day. I actually wrote this blog post before 6.30 am this morning! I check into work 2 or 3 times a day. I am spending much less time connected to my phone and laptop. My own mental health is in much better shape because of this.
  • Pay It Forward. During April I hosted free online networking sessions. They were incredible, positive, uplifting, fun sessions that connected women together. It made me feel good to know that I was doing some good and it was wonderful to see energized women leaving the sessions. What can you do to support your community/network to feel connected?
  • Eat well while connecting with small businesses. By supporting local businesses, we are not only helping to keep them in business but we are also supporting the wider independent producers and suppliers across the UK. This includes farmers, dairies, bakeries and other independent shops that are now selling food items directly to consumers. I have been using a local fruit and veg delivery and a local bakery. This is something I intend to carry on doing even when this is over. It’s rather nice to receive a lovely big box of goodies on my doorstep. Not only do we love receiving the delivery, it’s also keeping us supplied with healthy food which does make a difference. When we eat good food, we do feel better and this has a massive impact on our mental health. When there is a big bowl of fresh fruit in the kitchen, we are more inclined to eat something healthy rather than diving into some chocolate or biscuits! By connecting with and supporting local business owners, we are making a difference to them and ourselves.
  • The tiny revolution of connection. It’s definitely the small steps that form the bigger foundation of connection. The small stuff ripples on to have a much bigger impact. My daughters have been creating postcards and little charm bracelets and necklaces and have been sending to their friends. Not only does it give them something to do, but it also makes them feel good because the recipients love the surprise and the fact someone else has been thinking about them. I’ve started painting small stones and pebbles from my garden with positive words and I’m going to leave them in random places next week when I am on a walk. These small acts of connection will make you feel better and the people you connect with. What creative and thoughtful act can you do?
  • Connection is an antidote to fear. Feeling powerless is a massive cause of stress. When we are anxious about something, making connections is one of the things you can do to make yourself feel better. When we connect, we feel empowered and less alone. Connecting with others helps to create positive thoughts and actions. It also shows us that there are good things to celebrate too. Get closer to people that are creating positive stuff and get connected with them. If you need a big dose of connection, get involved in this community. I promise it will help. If you know of a project or community that brings people together let us know about it.

As human beings, we need to come together. We need to find ways to connect with others and for others. We can do this remotely too. Despite lockdown, we can still work together and connect with each other. Our own mental health needs us to do this. Let me know what has worked for you and share any ideas you have in the community.

Love,

Amanda x

ps if you want to join one of our online networking sessions, you can find out more here.

Amanda Ayres

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