A woman drinking coffee.

#EpilepsyMatters: Improving your wellbeing

Our Helpline Officer Uschi looks at wellbeing in a more holistic way and outlines some of the help that’s available to people with epilepsy to improve their wellbeing.

Wellbeing is such a buzz word. Everyone is talking about wellbeing just now.

For me, wellbeing is a very holistic term. I believe you cannot separate out your physical from your mental health.

So, if you neglect your physical health this may well impact on your mental health.

And if you have poor mental health, the choices we sometimes make as a result of our mental health struggles could impact on our physical health over time.

We all know we should eat better, sleep more, drink more water, exercise more, smoke less, drink less alcohol, and manage our stress levels better.

I am not a big fan of making too many drastic changes all at once because the chances of sticking to them are very slim.

It’s a bit like those New Year’s resolutions. Most of us will have fallen back into our old habits by now.

But it’s not just how we look after ourselves that impacts on our wellbeing.

External factors such as your financial or housing situation can negatively influence your wellbeing too.

If you are reliant on foodbanks to eat or your income or benefit payments barely cover your living expenses, you may have very little or no means nor energy to make changes.


Mental health and epilepsy

Many people with epilepsy live on a low income, often totally reliant on benefit payments because they cannot work due to poor seizure control.

Mental health struggles go often hand in hand with epilepsy.

Then there are the memory challenges, often poor sleep, and risks of injury from ongoing seizures. All of that impacts on their wellbeing.

It takes a lot more energy and willpower to make some changes in your life when you are struggling with seizures.

If you do want to make some changes, choose your time carefully. So, if you are dealing with a really stressful situation just now, that might not be a good time, especially if stress is one of your seizure triggers.

What I would say is pick something easier to start with, something you feel you could do without too much effort, for example increasing the amount of water you drink. It might seem like a small step but with a potentially big impact.

Increased hydration, for example can give you more energy, better sleep, an increased sense of physical and mental wellbeing, and you might even notice an improvement in your concentration, especially if you keep this up.


Reaching out for help

Or, how about reaching out to someone for help?

Many people I support started their journey towards an improved wellbeing by picking up that phone and calling our Helpline on 0808 800 2200.

For me, talking is one of the most empowering steps anyone can take.

I am a great believer in the fact that most of us can usually work out what we need to do next if we are being listened to and are given the space to talk without judgment. You will get this 100% from our helpline.

We can also refer you to our Check-in service, which offers weekly calls to check in on you.

Or there is our Wellbeing service for one to one support and access to counselling.

And, if money is a big worry just now, we can refer you to our Welfare Rights service for a benefits check and help with benefits application.

Even if you don’t know what you need or where to start, please contact us on our Helpline 0808 800 2200. We are here for you.