On Thursday May 27, Walk in My Shoes’ award winning social media campaign, #MindYourSelfie, will be asking people to share how they’ve learned to look after their mental health over the past 12 months.
#MindYourSelfie Day was initiated in 2016 by Walk in My Shoes, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services’ flagship mental health awareness and education campaign, to encourage people to start conversations about positive mental health on social media using the hashtag #MindYourSelfie.
Now in its sixth year, this year’s #MindYourSelfie Day will mark what has been an extraordinary year by:
· Asking people to share stories and pictures of the people, places and things that have helped them through, using the hashtag #mindyourselfie, with the aim of creating a ripple effect of uplifting and hopeful messages across social media
· Sharing tips and advice on how to stay resilient and cope with changes as we readjust to life after lockdown across Walk in My Shoes’ social media pages
· Hosting an online event to explore the impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health, with contributions from some of Ireland’s leading youth advocates.
To keep the positivity going, everyone who takes part on social media will be entered into a draw to win a gift voucher. They just need to use the hashtag #MindYourSelfie in their posts and tag Walk in My Shoes’ social accounts on the day to get involved.
Director of Communications and Advocacy at St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Tamara Nolan, said: “Our world has changed so much in the last year, and while we’ve lived through numerous lockdowns and many us have faced feelings of fear, loneliness and social isolation, we have also learned a lot of new and positive ways to protect our mental wellbeing and practice self-care. This year’s #MindYourSelfie campaign is a timely opportunity to reflect on all of these learnings and how we can continue to use them as we prepare for life after lockdown.”
CEO of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services, Paul Gilligan, shares some advice for those who are feeling worried or anxious about restrictions easing over the coming months:
“The easing of restrictions will bring new, and much anticipated, opportunities to reconnect with friends and family. It may also create feelings of anxiety about getting back to socialising and being outside of the home. This may be especially likely for those who have experienced anxiety related to social situations before the pandemic.
We have all had to adapt rapidly to varying levels of change. Control over our own lives has been significantly reduced since the start of the pandemic, and we will need to rediscover our confidence and preparedness to take risks. For anyone who is finding the anticipation of increased social activity stressful, please be assured that this is normal, and that the psychological journey to recovery will take time.”
Walk in My Shoes wellbeing tips - managing anxiety and worry as restrictions ease
1. Adjust at your own pace
Set achievable tasks for yourself each week to adjust your current routine. This may mean saying no to others’ requests at times, or asking to do things differently. This will also give you the space to build confidence in being around others more.
2. Talk to friends and family about how you’re feeling
Talking to friends or family about feelings of anxiety is a vital part of looking after our mental health. It is especially important if those around you are more at ease with relaxing restrictions. If you still feel more comfortable meeting friends and family in a socially distanced way, being open about this will let them know what to expect of you during this time.
3. Recognise what you can control. And what you can’t.
Recognising what is and isn’t part of your control is an important part of managing anxiety, and something that we must re-establish for ourselves as we move forward with an increased sense of freedom. For example, things that we can control include seeking information from reliable sources and sticking to the recommended guidelines for each phase.
4. Reflect on what has been beneficial
We all have an opportunity to readapt with a new focus on what we value. Some of the changes in our lives have been positive, for example, the benefits of reduced commuting times; spending more time with immediate family; finding new and creative coping mechanisms. Holding on to, and drawing on, these positive changes will be essential as we move toward creating a balance between where we are now and where we want to be.
5. Be kind to yourself
The challenges of recent months naturally will have affected us in different ways. Many of us may feel less productive than we usually do, and perhaps need more rest and downtime. While opportunities will open up to do different things and go to different places over the coming weeks, it’s just as important to remind ourselves of the continued need for self-care during these challenging times.
6. Look forward with confidence
We are all a bit out of practice when it comes to social interaction, and what may feel daunting now will likely be much easier than we anticipate. Be confident that you will once more realise and enjoy the benefits of socialising and intimacy which are so essential to our wellbeing.
A #MindYourSelfie webinar exploring how young people can stay resilient and readjust to life after Covid-19 lockdowns is being hosted by Walk in My Shoes on Thursday, 27 May and will be available online for schools at a later stage to use as an educational resource. Speakers include Caroline O’Sullivan, Director of Services, Irish Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children; Timmy Hammersley, Head of Engagement and Participation, Spunout; Mary Mooney, Coordinator, Comhairle Na Nog; Sinéad Kane, Communications and Advocacy Manager, BelongTo; Amanda McArdle, Project Manager, Walk in My Shoes; Dr Aideen O’Neill, Clinical Psychologist, St Patrick’s Mental Health Services; and Brian Boyle, Coach, Shelbourne Academy. The panel discussion will be moderated by Transition Year student Ryan Klatt, a graduate of the 2020/2021 Walk in My Shoes TY programme.
For more information, visit www.walkinmyshoes.ie
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