JHPR teams up with charity to promote UK’s first live mental health event of its kind

We are extremely pleased to be working with Birmingham-based charitable organisation Be;Live, in the build up to its greatly anticipated, first-of-its-kind, live mental health event, taking place in Birmingham next weekend (2nd April).

We have a wealth of experience in the not-for-profit sector and have been appointed to provide digital PR services on a pro-bono basis for Be;Live — to build awareness and maximise ticket sales for the upcoming event.

Be;Live was founded by James Crystal who began the organisation after suffering abuse as a teenager which manifested into several years of substance misuse and criminal activity, eventually leading to a prison sentence and a diagnosis of PTSD and depression.

Now aged 28 and five years sober, James’ and the event’s aims are simple: to educate, inspire and empower people around the topic of mental health and ultimately contribute to reducing the UK’s stark mental health statistics.

Be;Live brings together not only professionals and specialists but also those with lived experiences, who have survived serious adversity, to share their stories, support and advice in order to change the way we all see mental health, providing tools for attendees to take the first steps in creating positive mental health.

Taking place at Gas Street Central in Birmingham on Saturday 2nd April 2022, the event – which can be attended in person or virtually – will feature a range of guest speakers, including former Sky Sports presenter, Simon Thomas and ex-premier league footballer, Clarke Carlilse among many others, who will be sharing their own personal stories around mental health.

The JHPR team have been busy providing publicity services to Be;Live by securing print, online and broadcast media coverage for the event, as well as influencer marketing services.

Georgina Mackintosh, our senior PR manager, said: “We are honoured to be working with Be;Live – James is a hugely inspiring and humble individual who, after going through traumatic events and facing mental health struggles of his own, is now striving to help others and let them know that no one has to go through hardship alone.

“As a midlands-based digital PR team, we are proud to be able to offer our expertise to help promote this unique and important event – which is open to everyone and free for students.

“Be;Live is an event unlike anything the UK has seen before and it will make a real impact on people’s lives, both those who want to improve their own mental wellbeing but also those who simply want to have a better understanding of mental health to support friends and family. We look forward to attending this year and for years to come.”

James Crystal, founder and managing director of Be;Live, said: “We’re overwhelmed with the amount of support we’ve had from businesses who are extending the work from our small team here at Be;Live.

“The team at Jennie Holland PR have delivered so much more than we could have hoped including an interview with Global and several PR pieces in press to help drive awareness of our event. It goes without saying, it’s the people behind these supportive brands who have understood how important an event like Be;Live is and we honestly felt Jennie and her team were just as passionate about our cause as we are. We’re eternally grateful for all of their support.”

Ticket sales and brand sponsorship of the event will raise funds for independent mental health charities who provide free mental health services on the front line.

In person event tickets start from less than £23, and virtual event tickets costs just over £10. Further information about the event can be found at www.belive.org.uk.

Optimising work space: The benefits of inviting the outdoors, inside your home

As the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown is now underway, we begin our journey back to normal life (again).

Although, this begs the question – what is ‘normal life’ going to be like? Whilst it’s evident none of us are sure on when our lives will resume as before, due to the ever-changing rules and restrictions, we need to continue adapting our methods of working, socialising and living whilst under these rules, ensuring we do so in a way that enriches our lives and well-being as much as possible.

Whilst the government has stated that employees will commence working from offices again in ‘a few short months’, a recent study found that 89% of participants in the UK would be happy to work from home for at least one day a week, if not more in the future.*

Since the pandemic hit last March, 87% of employees reported their businesses have adapted to hybrid working, and it’s looking likely that organisations will adopt a hybrid working model for the foreseeable, with the workforce divided between working remotely and in the office.*

We understand that sometimes, it can be incredibly difficult to self-motivate at home when in work mode, especially if you’ve been affected by the pandemic burnout. So, we’ve compiled a list of benefits to help you understand why inviting the outdoors into your inside working environment will set you on the right track to a more focused, calm and optimised mind set.

Letting light in

As we step into spring, the sun begins to grace us with its glorious presence. Letting the light into your home creates a more comfortable, breathable environment, allowing your area to feel more spacious whilst connecting us to the outside world. Therefore, our cooped-up space feels bigger and less claustrophobic.

So, open a window, draw those curtains back, and bask in the ambience of natural lighting.

Sunlight exposure

In addition to this, the sunlight also increases our serotonin levels, which provides us with copious benefits such as:  improving our sleeping pattern, helping us to focus better and making us happier. A recent study shows that since the start of the pandemic, 58% of participants sleeping patterns have been negatively affected, therefore exposing ourselves to a generous amount of sunlight is key to our psychological well-being.*

Earthy tones

Dulux’s colour of the year for 2021 has been voted for as ‘Brave ground’, a warming neutral shade inspired by the peaceful simplicity nature presents to us.

After spending a year indoors more than ever before, we have found comfort in being outside within nature, and quite frankly, we crave it.

By introducing warmer earthy tones throughout your house, enables you to create a calming ‘sanctuary’ for yourself, whilst helping to uplift your spirit as a sense of connection to the outside world is created, all in the comfort of your own humble abode.

Sage greens, inky blues and pastel pinks are key shades to help create the perfect palette.

Houseplants

Not only do they add to the aesthetic appeal of a room, houseplants actually provide us with an abundance of benefits in terms of our well-being. It’s been found that house plants improve the air quality around the house. Not only do they transform the carbon dioxide around them into oxygen, but they also increase humidity levels – which is perfect if you’re an allergy sufferer.

Houseplants also increase our productivity levels as air purifying elements help us to balance the levels of CO2 within our bodies.

Finally, if you’re finding yourself suffering from headaches after the end of a tiresome day, houseplants have been found to help reduce levels of ‘formaldehyde’ in the air – which is a chemical found in many indoor environments and is often a common cause of headaches. So put the paracetamol away, and pot the plants instead!*

Natural materials

By introducing natural materials such as wood throughout your household, without even knowing it, you are in fact reducing stress and blood pressure, whilst increasing levels of creativity and productivity.* Who knew?

Ultimately, spending time within nature is the remedy we all need for a rejuvenated lifestyle, but whilst it’s not always feasible for us to enjoy the delights nature presents to us due to hectic work schedules – there are certainly adjustments we can make to our environments, allowing the exposure to enhancing assets that nature poses to us, as much as we possibly can.

Contact us today at Jennie Holland PR – as your PR agency, we can adapt and implement new strategies, strengthening your brand and business.

References –
Stats – https://voxeu.org/article/working-home-revolutionising-uk-labour-market
*VoxEU, 2021.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/27/coronavirus-boris-johnson-workers-will-return-to-offices-in-a-few-short-months
*The Guardian, 2021.
https://news.microsoft.com/en-gb/2021/02/15/research-reveals-how-we-really-feel-about-working-from-home/
*Microsoft, 2021.
https://www.realhomes.com/advice/benefits-of-houseplants
*Real Homes, N/A
https://www.creategiftlove.co.uk/blogs/blog/natural-materials-and-biophilic-design#:~:text=By%20incorporating%20natural%20materials%20such,while%20increasing%20creativity%20and%20productivity.
Create Gift Love, N/A

Life after lockdown: How can we look after our mental health now and in the future?

After marking one year since the UK first entered lockdown, we wanted to explore one of the hidden consequences of the isolated lives we’ve all been leading over the past 12 months – the effect it has had on our mental health and wellbeing, and what steps we can take to ensure we continue to cope and thrive through challenging times.  

It has been reported that as many as ten million people in the UK now require new or additional mental health support as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James, predicting that the lasting effects of the pandemic on our mental wellbeing will be felt for years to come.  

As many of us faced uncertainty in 2020 – be it over our health, employment, living and working from home situations, or through concern for family and friends, the pandemic has understandably sparked a wave of national anxiety, as we grow increasingly eager to return to normality.  

But just as we had to adjust to lockdown life, we will also have to readjust once again when restrictions are finally lifted. Though not an officially recognised mental health condition (yet?)Post Pandemic Stress Disorder is a term being used already.  

Lockdown has presented us with some valuable learnings and opportunities tooin terms of revaluating our lives, identifying our priorities, putting things into perspective and setting new goals for ourselves 

So, what can we do to continue to remain strong through the remainder of lockdown, and get ready for returning to normality?  

We’ve shared our top recommendations to help with moving forward, to ensure we’re prepared.

Work-life balance 

As many workers made the transition from the office to home during lockdown, we adapted and developed new daily routines in order to continue our work from the safety of our homesA stressful time for businesses both large and small, as a flexible and fast response was required to keep companies running smoothly despite the upheaval that closing offices caused.  

Working remotely, though challenging, has revealed some of the qualities that are needed to do it effectivelyIt strips away all of the other ‘stuff’ that goes along with being in an office – the commute, what you choose to wear, the vending machine chit-chat, making sure you shout loudest about how busy you are – instead, it just boils down to the work, and the quality of work, that you achieve in a day.  

This change highlights the importance of a work-life balance, which has become a hot topic of discussion over the last few years, long before the pandemic hit.  

Learning how to switch off at the end of the day and not worry about all the things you have to do the next day, is a real skill – and one that is vitally important to your mental health.   

Little things like switching off your phone, or not checking your emails outside of office hours, will allow you to reclaim some valuable me-time that you can spend how you wish.  

Reach out to loved ones 

Lockdown life meant that many families were separated, unable to travel to visit one another and were reliant on telephone and Skype/Zoom calls to connect. 

The isolation we’ve all experienced from friends and family members can be used as motivation to reach out to those we haven’t spoken to in a while – as a lack of social interaction can remind us how important it fundamentally is to us, as humans. We are sociable creatures, so once lockdown ends, we will all be more grateful than ever to meet up with familiar faces once again.  

Since lockdown has helped to put aspects of our lives into perspective, it may also be the perfect time to reconnect with those you’ve lost touch with – school friends or estranged family members for example  or if you know anyone who has a history of mental health issues, reaching out with a simple message to see how they are doing can be a very powerful way of reminding them that they are remembered and heard.  

Make time for yourself 

Similar to creating a healthy work-life balance, making time for yourself will allow you to enjoy that all-important me-time.  

Instead of sitting on the couch scrolling through your phone or watching your favourite streaming platform, decide to spend your time in a slightly different way. Self-care comes in many forms, and really depends on what you enjoy doing, what relaxes you and what fills you with passion.  

If you have a hobby, or have something you’ve always wanted to get into, take steps to make it happen and spend some time on it each week. 

If you’ve always dreamed of painting – paint, if you’ve always wanted to try pottery – take steps towards making that a reality, whether it’s purchasing a beginner’s kit, or booking a class once they’re (hopefully) open later in the year.  

Set your own goals 

It might not be a new year, but the plan to relax lockdown restrictions over the spring and summer months feels like a reset – a chance to start again. With that in mind, setting goals for yourself for what you’d like to achieve professionally and personally will be a great way to stay focused, work hard and look after yourself.  

There is little point in creating too many goals, as you’re bound to set yourself up for disappointment (how many New Year’s resolutions do we really successfully stick to?) – instead, choose two or three things that you’d like to change or work towards.  

It can be small or large – go for a walk at least once this week, spend two hours studying an online coursetry a new recipe once a week, give up meat on Mondays – it’s up to you, but achieving your goals, no matter how small, is a very rewarding experience and helps you practice self-discipline. 

Celebrate your resilience 

The past twelve months may have taught you something new about yourself or your life – you might have realised you don’t enjoy your job; you need a new car or a new home, you want to start a family – whatever it is, using the time we’ve had in lockdown, staying at home and reflecting on what’s taking place in the world, may have helped to put some things into perspective for you. 

Remember – you’ve made it this far, faced uncertainty and anxiety and that shows true strength. What would the current you say to yourself 12 months ago, having lived through lockdown? Celebrate your resilience, and with hindsight and reflection, allow yourself to realise that you’re stronger than you think.

Useful charities, helplines and websites: 

  • Mind – providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.  
  • Samaritans  free confidential helpline, 24/7, offering support for anyone wishing to talk about problems or concerns they’re experiencing.  
  • Shout UK – free confidential texting service, 24/7, offering support for anyone in crisis. 
  • CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably  a leading movement against suicide, offering support and advice.  
  • The Mix – a leading support service for people under the age of 25 experiencing mental health problems.  
  • Rethink Mental Illness – helping people with mental health issues through local groups and services. 

How to avoid pandemic burnout 

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year, huge aspects of our lives have been affected, forcing our routines and processes to change. Days begin to feel like weeks and months can feel like years, with no confirmed endpoint in sight.

As the UK navigates its way through a third lockdown, unpredictability and uncontrollability is causing heightened frustration, and an increasing percentage of the population is currently suffering from pandemic fatigue as a result of this, which can eventually lead to pandemic burn out.

We’ve compiled four steps to help combat the widespread feelings of fatigue and burnout during this time, to ensure health and mental wellbeing are top priorities. 

  1. Identify what the symptoms of burnout are

Working from home stress and the pressures of home-schooling can lead to a lack of motivation, increased loss of memory and poor sleep – which are the symptoms of burnout and should not be taken lightly. Working during a pandemic with limited options of enjoyment outside of work can leave you feeling overwhelmed, and you may not realise that what you’re feeling is down to pandemic burnout. Understanding and addressing your feelings can be the first step in finding ways to improve your mood.

  1. Structure your day

Creating a routine and allowing time for frequent breaks can help improve organisation and reduce overwhelming feelings. Making an effort to get dressed in the morning can help you start the day with a positive mindset, and incorporating at least 30 minutes of exercise into your day can do wonders for physical and mental health. Research shows, those who exercise regularly have a 30% lower risk of depression.

  1. Switch off

This step is often easier said than done, but is important to avoid burning out. Take the time to switch off from work at the end of the day. When remote working, try to move to a different area of your home to ensure there is a change of environment and a chance to relax.

Prioritising self-care, pamper sessions, reading a book or watching your favourite shows on Netflix, can make all the difference when trying to disconnect, and getting a good night’s sleep is also very important to allow the body to reset, improving mood and immune system health.

  1. Get help when you need it

Don’t be afraid to reach out to those closest to you when the pressures of the pandemic become too much, they may be able to help in more ways than one. Receiving help with childcare within government guidelines may help you feel less stressed, by giving you more time, and speaking to an employer if you feel overstretched with your workload, may mean better structures can be put in place to help create a healthier work/life balance.

 

When feeling cooped up or cut off from usual hobbies and socialising, life can seem very difficult, so we hope you find these tips useful in helping to prevent pandemic burnout, and remember that your mental health and wellbeing is very important.