The Covid-19 pandemic was an unsettling and strange time, with parts of ‘normal’ life being taken away and long periods of isolation. Even now, the impact of that time is still being felt, many still struggling with their mental health.
During that time, we also talked more about the inequality and unfair treatment faced by black people and other ethnic minority groups across the world, as well as right here in the UK.
And now, many are facing the new hardship of the cost of living crisis and the insecurities that come with that.
Reaching out and being in touch with others is really important in times of crisis. To find out more about the support available from Chiva, including hardship support, click here.
You all know about the importance of HIV medicine for your physical health, but how can you try and look after your wellbeing more broadly? There are lots of things that can help.
Try to keep in regular contact with friends and family, and stay connected. Our summer support camp is a place for young people living with HIV to meet each other. If you have already taken part in our events, try to stay in touch with the young people you’ve met, and reach out when you’re struggling.
Staying informed can be helpful, but reading the news too often can become overwhelming. Try limiting how often you read, watch or listen to the news. Perhaps try keeping it to certain times of day.
Exercise naturally helps to lift your mood. It can be difficult to find the energy if you are feeling low, but even a short bit of exercise can give you a burst of energy and will make you feel a bit better. You could also try an activity with friends or family members to help motivate each other. See the Chiva Support Camp yoga sessions below!
Sleeping too much or too little can affect your mood. It is important to try and stick to a routine where possible as it will help you and give you more energy. Find more information on how to improve your sleeping habits here.
Trying to stick to a healthy diet and regular meals times will also help your mood. Of course it is ok to have the occasional treat and snack but sticking to regular meal times and having a varied balanced diet will ensure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay well. There are lots of cheap and simple recipe ideas around if you want some new ideas, try here.
Doing things you enjoy
Try to make time for the things that bring you joy and energy, and make you feel relaxed. That could be all sorts of things such as dancing, computer games, reading, baking, drawing, writing, or crafts. If you don’t know where to start, try 10 fun things you can do at home or the different games and breathing exercises on Calm Zone.
Feeling trackers can help you to connect with how you’re feeling. They can also help you to focus in on the present and what you are feeling right now. Rather than being focused on the past or maybe worrying about the future, focusing on the present can help when you’re feeling worried or anxious.
Feeling trackers help you track your feelings and mood change across a day or a week, which may also tell you what makes you feel happy and calm, and maybe what triggers more difficult feelings. Colouring is also a calming and ‘mindful’ activity which can help you feel calm and relaxed.
Make a self-soothing box
This can be a great way to manage your feelings. Collect some things together that help you feel more grounded and relaxed (e.g. positive affirmations, fidget spinners, photographs, something that smells nice, mementos with good memories associated with them). These boxes can really help if you get a feeling of panic, anxiety, or low mood. To learn how to create a self-soothe box, click here.
What may work one day, may not work another. Whilst doing the above can help your wellbeing, it is important to be kind to yourself and go easy on yourself if you are not able to stick to a routine.
Chiva Yoga and relaxation sessions
This is Liz, our fantastic Chiva support camp yoga teacher, who has recorded some short yoga sessions for you that can easily be done at home.