Emotional and Physical Wellbeing

The impact of the pandemic on our wellbeing is something that many of us are thinking about at this time. Feeling anxious or worried about our own health or that of family members, or finding it difficult to deal with daily life and the impact of coronavirus is understandable. Help and advice is available in many forms should you need it.
In these challenging times being able to take care of ourselves and look after our own mental well-being is important. These NHS 5 steps offer us ideas to help us think about ways to improve this:

1. Connect

There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to us functioning well in the world. Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing. So, with this in mind, do something different today and make a connection with someone. Talk instead of texting. Speak to someone new.  Ask how someone is and listen carefully to their response

2. Be Active

Try to do some regular physical activity.  Exercise is associated with promoting well-being and lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.  Find out more about how to get active with the NHS.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Take the stairs not the lift.
Walk to or from work or walk at lunchtime.
Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, when you get up in the morning.

3. Take notice

Remind yourself to ‘take notice’. This can strengthen and broaden awareness. Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being. Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

Get a new plant
Have a tidy up day
Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or what they are wearing

4. Learn

Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life. Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:

Find out something new about someone you know

Read the news
Set up a book club
Do a crossword or Sudoku
Research something you’ve always wondered about
Learn a new word or a ew language

5. Give
Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research. Research has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing. Get giving!

Managing your children’s worries and anxieties:

It is normal during these uncertain times for children, young people and parents to be anxious. If you don’t want to seek professional guidance at this time you might like to read these tips on ways to manage your child’s worries and anxieties:

Talk to your child about it and how they are feeling. Keep explanations age appropriate. Reassure them it okay to feel how they are feeling.

Limit coronavirus media. We need to understand what is happening in the country and how current rules might affect us. However, seeing or hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can extend our worries. The Child Mind Institute can offer some tips.

Develop new coping skills like mindfulness and breathing exercises. Chill Panda is currently being tested in the NHS. Chill Panda is for children and adults who want to learn how to manage stress and worry and feel better. The service offers a host of breathing and other relaxation exercise videos.

Worry times and worry bag offer children an opportunity for you to set aside time in the day to discuss their worries or to pop them in a bag to be discussed at an appropriate time. Methods such as these give children an opportunity to reduce the amount of time they worry whilst at the same time give the child confidence that their worries will be addressed.

Provide routines so that your child has a structure to help them cope with the ongoing changes. Have fun with games and play. Everyone has had to come to terms with a different way to live daily life but we still need to have fun with each other and spend quality time together.

Focus on the positive things. Children and parents have made huge adjustments and learnt to cope with many unexpected changes. Remind your child of all the good, practical steps they are taking to stay safe

The World Health Organisation has a useful story book to help children cope with aspects of the pandemic

Managing worries and anxieties

However, despite these tips many of us do still have worries and anxieties at this difficult time. Luckily, there are many organisations and resources that can help children, young people and families to look after their wellbeing. The following support groups vary according to the age group the service suits. The important thing is to talk to a professional – if you are struggling. Hopefully the following links will be helpful to our Pakeman school community at this time:

Islington Social, Emotional, Mental Health (SEMH) Services  are still operational virtually and available to support any young person in the borough of Islington who may be displaying difficulties with their emotional wellbeing and/or mental health. Referrals can be made if you click the link which will connect you with the relevant service.

NHS Go – covers a wide range of health topics including how to manage anxiety.

Kooth – is a free online counselling, emotional well-being support and information service for young people aged 11-18 years.

Islington Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) website provides information about their service.

Childline can be contacted online or by phone: 0800 1111. They also have lots of articles and message boards for young people from age 11.

MindSET is a weekly Body & Soul livestream session to help young people learn skills to manage emotional distress and prevent harmful behaviours.

Mind also have useful general advice.

NHS Every Mind Matters has ideas to help with stress, sleep, anxiety and low mood and the Mental Health Foundation has advice on looking after your mental health at this time.

Samaritans (tel; 116 123) any time for free, or write to them and they will respond.

iCope is an NHS service that provides free confidential help for problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia.


Coping with illness and bereavement

If someone in the family becomes unwell with coronavirus and your child is feeling worried, let them know they can talk to you. Talk to them about the fact that there are many experienced doctors, nurses and scientists around the world working hard to help all the people who are unwell with the virus.

Child Bereavement UK has useful advice, when you can’t visit someone who is ill.

The current situation has been particularly difficult for families coping with bereavement. The following two organisations are available should anyone wish to contact them:

Cruse offers bereavement support and has a Freephone National Helpline 0808 808 1677

The Childhood Bereavement Network has useful information about supporting bereaved children at this time.