MindWell team member Gillian reminds us we’ve all got tools to help us look after our wellbeing and mental health.

A blue piece of paper with a bullet point list and a green pencil.

Our emotional wellbeing has been challenged over the last couple of years. Uncertainty, bad news and last minute changes have been something we’ve had to get used to.

Personally, I’ve faced moving home, an increase in my caring role and problems with my physical health, among the other issues we’ve all had in common during the pandemic.

I sometimes find it’s helpful to remind myself that I have a toolbox of strategies, techniques and actions that I can use to help me look after my wellbeing and mental health.

If you’re like me, you might find it’s easy to remember to have a pen and paper at hand during a phonecall or put a water bottle and some fruit on your desk at work or whilst studying. We usually remember to recharge our phone or carry an umbrella on a wet day and carry out lots of little, practical actions that can help us navigate daily life.

But what about coping with stress, uncertainty, grief or feeling low? How do we manage to calm our nerves speaking at a meeting in front of 20 people? What happens if we receive an upsetting phone call? What tools do we need to look after our emotional wellbeing?

This is when I remind myself about my wellbeing toolbox, so I can pause before answering the phone or take 5 slow breaths before standing up at a meeting. I sometimes use a mantra, like ‘I am calm and confident’, ‘I can do this’ or ‘Today is a good day’. I have a meditation app on my phone and also set reminders to check-in with how I’m feeling.

Some people keep a list of phone numbers to call if they’re upset, with friends or helplines that are supportive. Or pin a reminder up to take a break, have a rest or do an activity which helps them feel calm.

There are lots of tools we use without realising, so why not open your wellbeing toolbox and have a rummage, dust off some old methods, find new ones or have a chat with a friend or colleague about what they do?

Here are some useful places to look on MindWell:

We can have fun with our toolbox – it’s there to help us each day, whatever is happening. We can all learn new techniques or try different ways to look after our wellbeing, and it’s useful to remind ourselves what we’ve done in the past that has helped.