This week is World Wellbeing Week. Our Helpline and Information Officer, Uschi Stickroth offers five tips which may help maintain or improve overall wellbeing.
Restrictions, which stopped us from seeing friends and families for a long time, or coping with the loss of a loved one have all taken a big toll on our resilience and wellbeing. Add to that the recent diagnosis of epilepsy, and you have the perfect storm.
A new diagnosis can sometimes make you feel your life’s just been turned upside down even during ‘normal’ times, but coping with a new diagnosis during a pandemic when access to support has often been restricted, can have an even bigger impact on mental health.
If this is you, don’t be alone. Pick up the phone and speak to us on our helpline 0808 800 2200.
We can’t do anything about the pandemic but we can make sure you understand your condition, what it may mean for you and hopefully empower you to work on your seizure control and general wellbeing.
Also, have a look below at my five simple tips to better mental, emotional and physical health.
Look after your physical health
Never underestimate the link between looking after your physical health and your mental wellbeing.
Do some breathing exercises
When you are stressed, your breathing becomes shallow. Learning some breathing techniques can really help you let go of any tension in your body, improving your overall wellbeing and energy levels.
If you start to feel stressed, stop, and take some slow deep breaths, in and out.
It’s not always easy to recognise when you are stressed. Stress can be subtle and over time build up until you feel unable to cope.
Make time for daily regular breathing exercises to help you keep on top of stress levels before they become unmanageable.
Take time to relax
Many of us are constantly on the go trying to do too many things at the same time. It sometimes seems we are trying to outdo each other in terms of being busy.
A busy life is seen as normal, and those that put the brakes on are sometimes seen as lazy.
The fact is though that being busy all the time can put you out of touch with how you feel.
Set aside regular time to do nothing, this is as important than scheduling your next appointment.
Find ways to relax and unwind. This could be a walk in nature, learning to meditate, or going to yoga or tai chi classes.
So stop, do nothing for a change. Remember, we are human beings, not human doings!
Find things you enjoy doing
Take up a hobby or leisure activity. Try gardening, join a walking group, go dancing, play golf… there’s something for everyone to get involved in.
Joining in with others can also help with isolation and anxiety often experienced by people with epilepsy.
As restrictions are slowly lifting, we all have a lot more freedom again to get together and enjoy common interests.
Having epilepsy does not stop you from socialising and being active. If you are unsure whether a certain activity is safe for you, pick up the phone to your epilepsy specialist nurse, or at least have a chat with us.
Do something nice for someone else
This might not sound that much, but it can be empowering and boost your self-esteem to focus on someone else. We all like to feel needed at times.
It doesn’t have to be a big gesture, a chat with an elderly neighbour, a phone call to a friend you know is struggling can make a big difference to that person’s life.
There is nothing more precious than giving some of your time and full attention to someone else.
If you want to make this more a regular thing, why not look into volunteering? We are always looking for volunteers here at Epilepsy Scotland.
For more information on the connection between epilepsy and emotional wellbeing, please read our Emotional wellbeing guide by clicking here. If you want to talk to someone, call our freephone helpline on 0808 800 2200.