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Guest Blog: “Your Mental Health is your Wealth” by Annette Kelly from Little Penny Thoughts

Popular wellbeing advocate and owner of Little Penny Thoughts, Annette Kelly, provides a guest blog where she shares her point of view on how best to protect our mental health at the moment, along with some useful tips on essential self-care too.

02 February, 2021

Popular wellbeing advocate and owner of Little Penny Thoughts, Annette Kelly, provides a guest blog where she shares her point of view on how best to protect our mental health at the moment, along with some useful tips on essential self-care too.

With the uncertainly of the future and the present challenges we are all facing, we understand that this is a difficult time for everyone. It’s so important to look after your mental and financial wellbeing.

Your Mental Health is your Wealth

It has never been more apt that “your health is your wealth.” We know this to be true. Whilst this may be alluded to physical health, your mental wellbeing must be a priority at this time as well.

There are many ways that we can be kind to our mind, especially during these current times where you may be feeling frustrated, fearful, or disconnected from how life used to be. I am a big believer of “controlling what you can control” … I know there are many things beyond our control at present, but let’s talk about those that you can.

Disconnect to reconnect

Do you find yourself in a “scroll hole” from time to time? Constantly scrolling through your phone, jumping from social media to news apps and back again. Take time to disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with yourself. Try simple things such as going for a walk without your phone and getting some well needed fresh air. If you are working from home and spending a lot of time on devices and video calls, it is important to take time away from the screen to clear your head.

Perhaps make a habit this week of eating your lunch away from your desk or computer. Little changes like these can improve your mindset.

Embrace nature and fresh air

Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air each and every day is something that I really look forward to at the moment. In the past I didn’t really value it, now it is one of my non negotiables.

Each day, hail, rain or snow, I dress accordingly and go for a walk. Do I always want to go? Absolutely not! Do I feel the benefits? Totally! It has been a game changer for my mind as of late.

Sometimes the hardest part is lacing up the trainers. My top tip would be to get them on and get moving. Not only will it improve concentration levels, it helps towards your daily dose of Vitamin D, whilst moving your body and raising that heart rate a little. Win win!

Talking is key

It is perfectly natural to feel worried and anxious about the current restrictions extending. I am sure many of you are thinking, “When will this ever end?”

When people feel worried and fearful, they sometimes avoid talking to others, and try to hide away from their problems. So many people care about you and want to help. Reach out and speak to someone if you feel anxious about any aspect of your life.

Also, if you notice someone withdrawing or appearing to be low in mood, reach out and ask the important questions: “How are you really?... “How can I help?". We need to reassure each other.

Financial wellbeing

Money and income can trigger major stress at present. If you're worried about debt, get advice on how to prioritise your outgoings, ask for help and support from a professional and open up to someone you trust. If money becomes a worry or you are struggling to pay the bills seek professional advice from a trusted organisation such as The Consumer Council or Advice NI.

If you are able to, putting some money into a savings account every month can both ease pressure and stress during uncertain times, and allow you to work towards a goal, such as a holiday… when we can finally enjoy travel again! Knowing that you've got some savings to rely on if a rainy day comes along helps prevent financial anxiety.

Self-care is the best care

One of my favourite quotes is “Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s essential”.

The thing about self-care, is that no one can do it for you. Ensure you are penciling in time for you. Self-care to everyone looks different. For me, it’s getting my teeth into a good book, enjoying a warm long soak in the bath and even taking time to enjoy a cup of coffee (that first sip hits different).

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that mean the most. Make self-care a priority in your life. Schedule in things during the week or at the weekend that help you to relax, unwind and reset. You deserve it!

Adopting an attitude of gratitude

It isn’t always easy to see the good. We can’t always simply “be positive” or “be grateful”. However, what we can do is to remind ourselves of what is going right in our lives, instead of focusing on what is going wrong.

Try to shine a light on the good and appreciate the little things. You can do this by simply writing down three things you are grateful for each day. I often write my simple gratitude list at night-time as I reflect on the day. This means I go to bed with optimistic thoughts, rather than negative thoughts.

Please remember there are lots of sources of support and advice for the many challenges we face throughout life, including worries about our finances and our mental health.

If you are worried about your mental health you should speak to your GP. They can advise on appropriate support that is available in your local area. If you are in crisis or distress please call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000, specially trained counsellors are available 24/7. You can also find other sources of support and information on Action Mental Health’s website:

The following are some of the organisations you can contact for free, confidential and impartial debt advice:

You may also find helpful information on the Financial Conduct Authority website.

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