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OCA wellbeing: What’s in your wellness toolkit?

With social media awash with Mental Health Awareness last week, it prompted me to take some time to tackle a wellbeing checkup I’d been putting off. MHFA England created this handy checklist a couple of years ago, and in the midst of the current pandemic, I’ll admit, I’ve slipped!

It’s a challenging situation we find ourselves in, and I realised that all of my usual ‘wellness tools’ are unavailable to me owing to the restrictions in place, so it’s no wonder even little day to day issues feel more difficult.

The things I usually do to keep myself well all involve leaving the home for a start – under government guidance I am ‘shielding’ at home. Prior to this, four hours of my week were usually spent playing roller derby – a full contact sport which is, understandably, cancelled for the foreseeable. PE with Joe and the kids is no substitute! My kids love him, but it’s also the group support aspect that has really left a hole for me.

I’m not about to suggest becoming a chess champion or learning three languages. Marvellous as that is, some of us won’t have the time or energy for this in this ‘current normal’. I’m looking for small, sustainable things we can do to help ourselves stay well now, and beyond.

Being aware of our mental health is really important, now more than ever. That’s why over the coming weeks I’ve asked some of the lovely team at OCA to share what they’re doing to keep well during this difficult time. It would be lovely to hear from students too! I’m sure many of you have some great wellness tools in your ‘toolkit’ that might help others who don’t have access to their usual methods. You can reach me at liaharness@oca.ac.uk

In the meantime, to get us started I know that we’ve seen lots of individuals and companies step up with support during this time. Headspace has a free section at the moment called Weathering the Storm, and CALM has some similar resources available which I’m finding helpful. And of course here at OCA we are regularly releasing creative content and challenges every week. Please do reply and share anything else that you have found useful.

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Posted by author: Lia Harness
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