mental health 900x600 - My wellbeing, a pandemic and changing seasons...

10 November 2020

Here is a blog written by our head of counselling, Sheridan, as she shares her thoughts on entering a new season whilst still dealing with a pandemic and what is best practice for our mental wellbeing moving forward.

I remember the slight feeling of apprehension and excitement of working from home back in March, thinking, well, this will be different for a couple of months! I look back now and think how naïve I was, but maybe this was also a way of coping with the strangeness of the world found ourselves in. We will all have our unique experience of the pandemic and what it’s meant for us on a personal, professional, community and world level. Collectively the situation we have found ourselves in has had levels of highs and lows and much in between. Adapting to change, living with uncertainty, managing a ‘new normal ‘are often a cause of stress and anxiety. How we experience this will be different for different people. You might notice you feel more anxious, sad, hyper vigilant (for example checking the news frequently) your sleep might be affected, as well as your appetite.

And so as the seasons change, it feels as though as individuals and collectively, we are trying to continue to adapt so we can nourish and sustain ourselves, and those around us over the coming months.

The YMCA focuses on the Body, Mind and Soul. Focusing on each of these areas each day will help to sustain you over the coming months. Each of the areas overlap of course but here are some ideas to support you.


  • Taking a walk every day is a great way to support your physical and emotional wellbeing. If you can be amongst nature even better. Try and vary your route. Look up at the sky, it can give a different perspective to thoughts and of the world.
  • Try to be boundaried if working from home. It may not be possible to have a separate working space, but tidying away at the end of the day or putting things away can make a difference. Maybe changing clothes, also helps to distinguish work and leisure time.
  • Working from home allows no transition and unwinding that you used to have from your work place to home. Can you build some of this into your day? Half an hour of listening to music, podcast, watching something in the TV, reading can all help.
  • Take breaks during your day. Building in a 20 minute break every 90 minutes can have a positive impact on your productivity. Take a break for lunch too.
  • Switch off for at least one day a week, so that the days don’t merge and you have work days and weekend distinction.
  • Ensure that you stay hydrated during your day.
  • If you notice you are checking your phone more frequently, try to extend the amount of time when you are not looking at it. Start small so it’s realistic and achievable, increase by 10 minutes until it is at a level which feels more comfortable, maybe fitting in with your breaks.
  • Avoid starting and ending the day with your phone. Allow at least 30 minutes from waking before looking at your phone.
  • Stay connected to people. Pick up the phone for a chat if meeting in person is not possible at this time.
  • Put time in your diary for your wellbeing, in the same way as you would schedule meetings, a food shop, cleaning. Make time, whether 10 minute slots or an hour or two, mixing the length of time, but ensure you have things planned for the short and long term.
  • Be aware of what you can control and what you can’t. Try and focus on the here and now.
  • Talk to others about how you are feeling. You are not alone, and by talking to others may also allow them to be more open.
  • These are suggestions – you will also have your own ideas and things that help you. Write them down, and put them somewhere prominent you can see, but also don’t give yourself a hard time don’t always manage to achieve them. Know you can come back to them at anytime and give your own wellbeing the same time and value as you do to other areas of your life.
  • YMCA services, such as Release Counselling

We are currently offering one to one sessions. We are also in the process of planning to offer groups remotely. If you are interested in attending one of these please let us know if you would like an evening or daytime group. These groups are likely to be for 6 weeks with up to 8 people and will have a theme. I there are any topics you would like these to focus on please email: