Resolve to look after you this New Year

While the festive period over Christmas and New Year can be a fun and exciting time, it can also be particularly stressful and upsetting for some.

To help the NHS in Cumbria is encouraging everyone to think about making choices that will bring positive changes to their health.

New Year resolutions are a perfect way to welcome 2019 so why not think about being more active, stopping smoking or drinking less alcohol – all of which will reduce your chances of developing long-term health problems, such as diabetes and lung disease.

Dr Jim Hacking, local GP in Morecambe Bay and Executive Lead for Mental Health at Morecambe Bay CCG said:

“New Year is a great time to commit to making positive changes towards a healthier lifestyle, but it’s also important to think about what it is you want to achieve, set realistic goals and find ways to help you stay motivated.

“Introducing healthy habits and small changes to your lifestyle now could not only help you look and feel better, but it could have a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing.”

Evidence suggests that there are 5 steps we can all take to improve our mental wellbeing which can make you feel happier, more positive and able to get the most from life. Just working on a couple of these areas is a great start.

  • Connect: Connect with people around you, whether that is family, friends, colleagues or neighbours. Invest the time in developing these connections as they will support and enrich you every day.
  • Be Active: Go for a walk or a run. Step outside. Play a game. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
  • Take Notice: Whether you are walking to work, eating your lunch or talking to friends, be aware of the world around you and what you’re feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
  • Keep Learning: Trying something new like rediscovering an old interest or signing up to that course you’ve had your eye on for a while. Learning new things will make you more confident.
  • Give: Doing something nice for a friend or a stranger, thanking someone or volunteering can have a positive impact on your mental health. Seeing yourself and your happiness linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and helps create connections to the people around you.

Help is also available for people suffering with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. We all need to look after our mental health and wellbeing and to keep an eye on those who may be struggling. First Step is an NHS organisation that offers support for people in the county who are experiencing mental health issues.

Richard Thwaites, the clinical lead for the First Step service, says:

“Christmas can be a difficult time for people who are already struggling, whether it's people who are depressed and find themselves comparing their Christmas to others and being self-critical or people with social anxiety who find some of the social demands of this time of year even harder than usual.

“For some people it might be a good time to think about whether they need to seek help.”

There are a number of options through First Step such as online therapy or face-to-face counselling. You can find out more information on First Step on their website:

https://www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/our-services/mental-health/our-mental-health-services/first-step

For more information on the Five Ways to Wellbeing visit: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-yourself/five-ways-to-wellbeing/