Kettering therapist's top tips for mental health during festive season and Covid

Thomasin James says the most important goal is to be mental health aware

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 10:30 am

A Kettering psychotherapist has shared her top tips for mental health in the countdown to Christmas under the new Covid restrictions.

Thomasin James, founder of Makepeace House, a new Kettering-based psychotherapy service, trained at the Leicester Centre for Psychodynamic Counselling and at Goldsmith's, University of London.

The mum-of-two has been in clinical practice since September 2019 and Makepeace House is opening its doors this month.

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She said: ‘Sleep, diet and exercise are key to staying mentally healthy this Christmas.

"We all know that Covid-19 can have a devastating effect on our physical health. More and more people are coming forward for counselling as they struggle with issues such as bereavement, redundancy, relationship breakdown, isolation and anxiety; looking after our mental health has never been more vital.

"I am opening Makepeace House to meet the growing need for people to find someone to talk to, as the effects of coronavirus make themselves known.

"With Christmas approaching, many people feel under pressure to be having a good time.

Thomasin James

"However, this is not going to be a usual Yuletide, with many of us struggling financially, or unable to spend Christmas with our loved ones in the traditional way, this festive season is proving particularly stressful for many people."

Makepeace House has put together the following helpful guide for how to look after yourself this Christmas and New Year, while adhering to the restrictions.

And remember, it’s never been more important to talk to someone.

Top tips for mental health:

Get out in the open air

⚫ Sleep: aim for at least seven hours’ sleep a night to lift your mood the next day, enabling you to focus clearly and cope better with whatever life throws at you.

⚫ A balanced diet: fresh fruit and veg boost mood. Simple carbohydrates like rice and potatoes also release serotonin, the key hormone for a feeling of well-being.

⚫ Drink plenty of water: if headaches are getting you down, up your water intake. Dehydration can lower your mood and energy levels, so keep sipping through the day.

⚫ Exercise: even though many gyms have closed and may remain so for a while, there are plenty of options online, including yoga, pilates and keep fit. Joining an online community helps you to feel encouraged and motivated.

⚫ Get outside: press reset on your mindset and get a change of scene. With many of us suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the winter months, getting outdoors boosts Vitamin D levels, which tend to slump in the darker months – taking your mood with them.

⚫ Meditate: if you haven’t tried meditation, then there are lots of great apps out there to help you take a few minutes each day to focus on yourself, your mood and find a positive mindset.

⚫ Talk to someone: whether it’s a friend, a family member or a professional, keep social contact up, even if you’re isolating. Don’t let corrosive loneliness eat away at you.

⚫ Journal: take time each day to reflect on what you have done and what you are grateful for.

⚫Do something for someone: there’s nothing like giving back to make us feel grateful for what we have. It also helps to build relationships and connections in these anxious, isolating times.

Thomasin added: "If all the above fails, here is the crux, know yourself. We all know when we’ve got a cold brewing. For some of us, it starts with a sore throat. For others, it’s a sniffle that’ll have you reaching for the Lemsip.

"The key to looking after your mental health is to spot your ‘sniffle’. For me, it’s not opening the mail. When I start to ignore the post, I know that my mental health immune system is struggling a bit.

"For others, early signs might be avoiding social contact with friends and family. Or it might be wanting to stay in bed all day.

"Whatever your ‘mood sniffle’ is, know it and reach out. Talk to your GP, or seek support from a counselling service, such as the Samaritans or Mind, both of which are free of charge. Or, look us up at Makepeace House. We run covid-secure therapy sessions, online from the comfort of your own home, at our local practice, or through our walk and talk service."

Currently working from home, conducting walk and talk work in local parks including Twyell Hills and Dales and East Carlton Country Park, from January 2021, Makepeace House will be based in Market Harborough.

To find out more about Makepeace House click here .