The NHS in Leeds is reminding Leeds residents of the importance of staying connected with others, while staying apart, for the benefit of our own mental wellbeing.                                                                        

Connecting with others is one of five key steps that can help improve your general mental health and wellbeing. The key steps are:

(1) Connecting with other people
(2) Be physically active
(3) Learn new skills
(4) Give to others
(5) Pay attention to the present moment (Mindfulness)

Dr Gwyn Elias, GP and Clinical Lead for Mental Health for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is easy to feel lonely and sad in lockdown as we are cut off from our friends, family and colleagues. This can have a real detrimental effect on our mental health and general wellbeing.

At this moment in time we can’t physically connect with other but we can stay socially connected. Feeling disconnected from others can affect our sense of belonging and self-worth. Check in on how your friends and family are feeling, they may be feeling lonely too and it can feel very rewarding for you too to be there for someone. You could also check in on a neighbour to see if they need any shopping or just to see how they are.

You could also arrange weekly video calls with your friends or even arrange a family quiz. You could also try online groups and learn something new with others.

As well as staying connected, I strongly urge people to stay as active as possible, and be aware of the present moment. It can be as simple as going for a walk and being aware of the sounds, smells and what colours you can see.

Finally, if you are struggling with feeling of loneliness it is important to reach out and speak to someone about how you feel. This could be a friend or family member, or a professional.”

Here are some tips from the NHS in Leeds on how to stay connected while staying apart:

  1. Video calls with family and friends (like Skype, Zoom, Facetime)
  2. Check in on your neighbour to see if they need any shopping
  3. Bake some goodies for your neighbour
  4. Get in touch with family and friends on social media (but try and limit the news where possible)
  5. Some technology might be difficult to use for some family members, so just make a phone call if needed
  6. Make the most of local online groups, maybe you could learn something at the same time
  7. Try and be as kind as possible, this will make you feel good too!
  8. Get support if you need it
  9. Make time for members of your own household, turn off the TV / phones and play a game together
  10. If you’re working from home, check with your colleagues with regular video catch ups
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