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What wellbeing means: County Durham COVID-19 Resilience Team

The COVID-19 Resilience Team is a county wide specialist community-based service for individuals 18 years or over, living or working in County Durham, whose wellbeing and mental health has been affected by COVID-19.

You know about the service, now it’s time to meet the team! We asked all of our team members what they do to boost their mental wellbeing...

What boosts my wellbeing:

  • Making plans for things to look forward to

  • Going out for afternoon tea

  • Re-watching a film that makes me smile or laugh

  • Connecting with people I care about

  • Sharing and celebrating happy moments or memories

My self care:

  • A nice soak in a scented bubble bath

  • Making a tasty meal from scratch with lots of colourful ingredients and favourite flavours

  • Sharing with people around me when there are lots happening in my life that could be overwhelming

  • Sitting doing nothing except listen to songs I like

  • Having a lie-in when I’m not working or have plans

  • Reading an actual hard copy book with a lovely warm 'cuppa'

My wellbeing and self care is very important to me and I find that if my wellbeing is good then everything around is good. I support my wellbeing by spending time doing things that make my mind and body feel good, this can range from swimming in the freezing cold sea at silly o'clock in the morning, paddle boarding in the local rivers to listening to a motivational audio book, also hiking in the Lakes, as much as I love been around people I also love to spend time in my own company. My self care is also important to me and I take care of it by simply by spending time with loved ones, eating healthily most of the time, and exercising and by this I don’t mean sweating in the gym, this could range from a family walk down the beach or a nice bike ride to a boxing session, I also remember that we are only on the planet once so we need to enjoy it so a cheeky take away at the weekend washed down with a glass of wine is absolutely fine.

For my wellbeing I make sure I have a good work/life balance, I tend to use my spare time at the stables out in the fresh air, or with my friends and family, whether this is going away for the weekend, going shopping or eating out! (Which I do a bit too much) For my self-care I like to have some chilled time to myself by going for a walk then having a nice hot bath and a pamper.

It’s so easy to regularly pour our energy into others that at times, we forget to look after ourselves. The thing is, we cannot pour from an empty cup, so keeping a journal of the things I’m doing to look after me, helps me to stay well and keeps my wellbeing a priority as I continue to support those around me. I enjoy walking with my little boy (aged 4). We go out every day, in all weathers and often have more fun when it’s raining! Being outside in nature really boosts my mood and helps to get those important steps in, so my physical health benefits too. Win, win!

Self care for me can vary and depends with what is going on in my life, for instance if I`m busy with work and family it's usually grabbing moments to myself such as sitting for ten minutes with a 'cuppa', relaxing in the bath or reading a book.

If I have more time I really love to go for a walk, walking gives me the time to reflect on things, clears my mind and helps me to be in the here and now. Whilst walking I try to be mindful of my surroundings, things I can see, things I can hear, feel and smell - it helps me to relax and feel grounded.

I also find practicing gratitude is a big part of my self care , thinking about what I am grateful for and what I have in my life helps to ground me and helps me to focus on the here and now, which helps me focus on the positive rather than the negative.

Spending time with my family is a big part of my self care, this can be as simple as sitting around a table enjoying a meal, a relaxing night in front of the TV or a walk out together.

Self care for me is made up of simple things, it helps me to reflect on what’s going on for me helps me to focus on what is important, it helps me to feel grounded.

For my self care and wellbeing I've always found exercise helps me destress, recharge and allows me to have some "me" time. I'm a keen the gym user, but I also love outdoor hikes with friends and family. Whilst hiking you get to experience the different seasons, which is something I've always loved.

I absolutely love nature and enjoy going for long walks in the woods and along the beach! Hiking and mindfulness also help with my wellbeing!

I find that going out for a long walk with my gorgeous dog, Chester, and snuggling him boosts my mental wellbeing. Also, the CALM app for mindfulness and meditation is amazing for helping me relax and unwind on stressful days. My go to self care routine is to have a hot bath with a facemask and bath bomb, journaling before bed, burning candles and meditation. Finishing off with a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows.

To boost my wellbeing I take part in a dance class every week. I love being outdoors in the fresh air and doing fun activities with my young children as well as catching up with my friends and family over dinner.

I enjoy going for hikes and playing fetch with my tiny Chihuahua puppy. I find taking the time out of my day to breath some fresh air helps to clear my mind and boosts my mood. I also make sure to plan in time with the people I love whilst also planning in down time to relax and unwind with a good movie.

  • Walking the fur babies everyday and then obligatory snuggle time.

  • Listening to acoustic music, occasionally leading to a dance around kitchen.

  • Going for a run.

  • Watching a feel-good movie or sport endurance documentaries.

  • Home workout online yoga session

  • And I love a good declutter!

So I am someone who works as a mental health professional, supports someone with mental health issues, and has had significant mental ill health in the past.

I actively work to maintain my physical and emotional wellbeing but during the dark Winter days and during the Lockdowns this has been even more important.

  • I started doing yoga at age 18 (for my mental health), and started to teach it when I was 22. Age 64 I still teach yoga, relaxation and mindfulness as an evidence based intervention to help around a dozen people keep mobile and manage their stress levels. This was originally provided to the community and is now part of the COVID Resilience Programme. Someone called it an ‘oasis’ of calm in their week. During first Lockdown I learned to use Zoom and we held a weekly class throughout the 15 months. After a break because of Omicron yoga returns to face to face on 1st February.

  • Dogs are important for me. I try to get out each day and walk with my dog. During the Lockdowns I could walk my dog and stop to talk to others with theirs. I carried dog biscuits and this encouraged people’s dogs to stop.

  • Daylight helps raise mood and encourages sleep. It is good to get out to walk, to see the sky, already the snowdrops and aconites are coming through, I have been in my greenhouse for a quick look. My office is dark so I don’t stay in it too long. If I sit at my desk too long my back hurts so I make sure I keep moving.

  • I like to paint. In particular painting or ‘sketching’ with watercolours from life outside. My art club used to do this in the Summer months but with the pandemic some of us paired up and went outdoor sketching in January. Yesterday my husband went beating for a pheasant shoot in Richmond, North Yorkshire. (He is 71 but doing this has allowed him to be outside all day walking the hills and he is now much fitter). I went and sat and painted in the freezing cold sunshine and watched the sun going down behind the hills, my friend took photographs and I have painted from them at home. Painting at home is great but the outdoor sketching is almost meditative, totally absorbing.

  • I take antidepressants and have for many years. I see managing my emotional wellbeing as needing a multi facetted approach. I have had some difficult times in the past three years regarding family. Expressing my spirituality, for want of a better term, is part of me and my attempts to cope with what life throws at us. I light a candle every evening and pray for those in emotional and physical pain. I think we all have a peace of the divine mind in us and we have a responsibility to do our small part in putting the world right.

  • I don’t drink alcohol, for me it doesn’t help. I do like tea and biscuits.

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