Mental wellbeing can mean anything from how well-equipped you feel for dealing with your current emotions and circumstances, right down to just simply how you are feeling in that moment.
Here at CENS the mental wellbeing of our residents is always at the front of our minds. When someone arrives at our door for help, they are often at a very low point in their lives, with nowhere else to turn to. So it is vitally important for us to speak to them, listen to them and assess their situation. This way, we can understand what help and support they might need in order to take their first steps towards recovery and strong mental wellbeing.
Simple everyday activities, such as getting out in the garden, taking time to work together as a team – maybe cooking together in the kitchen, keeping active, learning new skills and taking time for themselves, all help strengthen the mental wellbeing of our residents. Connecting with others is also really important, which is why mealtimes are such a key part of our day. It’s a time when we can all sit down together, share stories, chat and simply enjoy being part of a group.
We have pulled together 5 tips from MIND for improving your mental wellbeing:
1. Connect With Others
Having positive contact with other people is key to helping build a sense of belonging and self-worth. Not only does it provide emotional support, but it also allows you to support others and to share experiences. Our staff members are always on hand to offer support or to just sit and listen to the residents. Communication between the residents themselves is also key – as sharing with people who have similar experiences and feelings can be really valuable.
2. Learn New Skills
Being creative can be a good distraction, but can also be rewarding and raise self-esteem. Many of our residents, past and present, have tried their hand at cooking in the CENS kitchen and the garden is a perfect place for them to test out their green fingers. Online learning also offers a huge variety of opportunities – and it’s not all about the end result – the rewards come from the action of learning and having some fun along the way.
3. Look After Your Physical Health
There are basic things we can all do to improve our physical health – drink water regularly, eat a balanced diet, keep active and look after personal hygiene – brushing teeth, taking a shower. This may seem simple and obvious, but these are often the first things that fall by the wayside when people find themselves homeless. We are so lucky to be able to provide all these basic needs for our residents. Regular healthy meals, private bathrooms and fresh toiletries are all part of the everyday routine at CENS and are the first step towards making our residents feel respected and valued.
4. Try To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
The value of a deep sleep can never be overestimated. Homelessness is a huge sleep-disruptor. Whether they are street homeless, sofa-surfing or in crowded temporary accommodation, it’s incredibly hard for someone who is homeless to establish any kind of routine or to wind down before bedtime. Over a prolonged period, this can take a serious toll on the mental wellbeing of a person. One of the first things our residents can enjoy when they arrive at CENS is their own private bedroom, with clean sheets and small but important home comforts, such as lamps, cushions and blankets. Within this secure environment, our residents have the comfort, privacy and space to get some good quality rest and to begin to benefit from everything a good bit of shut-eye can offer.
5. Get Active
Being active is clearly beneficial for fitness, but the mental benefits can be even greater. It can raise self-esteem, help you gain a sense of achievement and can actually cause chemical changes in the brain which bring on feelings of positivity. And you don’t have to become a gym bunny – just walking every day, doing some gardening, cycling or even dancing are all activities which can improve both your physical and mental wellbeing. Or you could try a team activity. Our residents recently took advantage of the sunny weather and organised a game of rounders – a great way to keep fit whilst connecting with others.