Take care

xmas3Our final message for 2014 is about taking care of your own wellbeing this Christmas. It can be a time of pressure or loneliness for many, so understanding what works best for your own wellbeing is important. Social connections are important to wellbeing but remember to be kind and good to yourself too, and make sure you top up your own inner resources rather than stretching yourself too far.

In much our research  we have sought to understand the different ways in which people manage their own mental health and wellbeing and how personal and individual this process can be. No one understands what helps your wellbeing better than you, however there are some evidence based guides that can help. Making a new year’s resolutions this year? Check out the suggestions for Six Ways to Wellbeing. There is evidence to show that these activities can improve your mental health. Some people donate at time during the festive season to complement all their present buying and entertaining activities e.g. Eleanor Mill’s story in the Sunday Times.  In 2015, we’re going to be looking in detail at some of the ways people are improving their wellbeing in Kent. Look out for our findings from that work over the next year.

Case study: “McPin foundation 2014 reflection – to take care”

Since we began our 10 days of pre-seasonal greetings, twitter and the media in general have been awash with story’s acknowledging how stressful and difficult Christmas can be, with messages on the importance of managing your mental health. For example the purple persuasion blog reflects on Christmas as a time of learning through the struggle of mental health crisis, and explains “depression and Christmas just don’t go” …. well together. This year has also seen the action for happiness movement grow – check our their 10 ways to make you happier list. We all know it’s not that easy – and everyone needs different things to maintain their sense of equilibrium, with distress creeping up on you from unexpected quarters as well as the more predictable routes such as work stress or financial pressures. The time to change campaign have provided us with tips on what to say to someone you are concerned about – are you ready to start your mental health conversation? Researchers are also looking at understanding how to help the nation “take care” of it self. Professor Lord Richard Layard and Professor David Clark have written “Thrive: The Power of Evidence-Based Psychological Therapies” in 2014, and we look forward to further wellbeing research in 2015 because prevention is hugely important in mental health, but too often gets forgotten in the mental health research agenda searching for new treatments. On Friday, we (the McPin Foundation through our Director) were fortunate in meeting Vince Cable MP and spoke to him about the liberal party’s commitment to mental health services and mental health research. We thanked him for this stance which as the columnist Dean Burnett reflects is pretty remarkable and a first in British politics; is it something the liberal leadership feel is very important personally? We think they do. Let’s hope the other parties do as well, and get a chance to read our manifesto from the Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders.

Our season’s greeting messages are in the post with the “take care” message scrawled inside – and we mean it. We are thinking of our friends and colleagues who find this time of year particularly difficult. Thanks to everyone for supporting our small charity this year.  We are committed to the search for answers to improve mental health and wellbeing – through research, evaluation and our engagement projects.  Best wishes for 2015 from all the team.

Shaping mcpin team photoMcPin Foundation team, 24th December 2014.

Practical tips

  • Be good to yourself: Physical activity, nutrition – healthy diet, taking time out for yourself or alternatively making sure you plan time to spend with family and friends, if that’s what helps your wellbeing prioritise time for it!
  • Encourage others to take care of themselves – some people find it really hard to find”me time” and actually take that time for themselves – they might need a little encouragement from you to put this into action.