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Compensation claims: looking after your mental health

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Posted by Jeanette Whyman on 12 June 2020

Jeanette Whyman - Medical Negligence Solicitor
Jeanette Whyman Partner - Head of Medical Neglience

There's no doubt that claiming for medical negligence can have a knock-on effect on your mental well-being. We will try to lessen the stress of the situation for you by explaining the legal elements and supporting you through the entire process. 

However, many clients find reliving the pain and suffering they have encountered undoubtedly affects them. While it is crucial to get the right level of compensation for your claim, that's our job; it's also paramount that you look after your mental health during this stressful and emotional period. 

We've put some pointers below, but if you are struggling, please let us know, as we do understand you may feel very worried about your claim.

"Self-care is the most common form of healthcare, and people need to be aware of more techniques that they can use." 

Sir Muir Gray

Switch off

If you're sat there thinking how much you'd love a day to yourself to sit back, relax, unwind and recharge, then you should. There's no need to feel guilty about having a "me day". Switch off your phone and your emails and give your body and mind some time to catch up. Having some downtime now could help to prevent you from feeling unwell in the future. 

Step away from your screens (all of them)

We have all done it. We have sat at home binge-watching a series on NowTV only to wake up in a fog the next morning struggling to remember what day it is. Try to avoid TV or any screen in the evenings for a few days. This will allow your brain to switch off and relax. Instead, read a book, tackle that DIY project, go for a walk or have a chat with a close friend. 

Holiday mode

There's something about stepping off a plane into the sunshine that instantly seems to melt our troubles away. We stop going to the gym and start taking long walks along the beach. Dinner is cooked for us, and someone else does the washing up and your ‘out-of-office’ handles any stress from work. So, why not take the same approach at home now and then, take a day off, go for a long walk, order a take-away and catch up with friends and loved ones in whichever way suits you.

Exercise

You don't need to run a half marathon to feel the benefits of exercise. It is well documented that exercise can boost your mood. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in your body and often help clear your mind. A brisk walk, cycle, swim or gardening will offer the same feel-good factor as high-intensity interval training, so do what you enjoy so that you will stick to it. 

Meditate

It may seem that this approach is only for people who enjoy yoga and self-discovery retreats, but meditation is proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. It's not about looking for inner strength and enlightenment, but just taking some time out for yourself to concentrate on your breathing which will help you to calm down and feel more relaxed. Start off slowly, try it for a minute, and build up the time, as you find yourself relaxing. 

Sweet as chocolate

You're probably hoping number six on the list is to eat more chocolate, but sadly not. Cutting back on added refined sugar won't directly affect your mood or mental well-being. Still, it will help to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel, which will mean your energy levels are balanced throughout the day. The importance of a proper diet shouldn't be underestimated. 

Sleep

There's a direct correlation between sleep and mental health. Quite simply, the value of good quality sleep should not be underestimated. If you are struggling with your mental health, you may struggle to sleep. If you are struggling to sleep, it may affect your mental health. While we are not qualified to discuss sleep disorders, there are a few simple steps you can take to try and ensure you have a good night's sleep. Turn off all screens a least two hours before you go to bed, reduce your caffeine intake from mid-afternoon, spray essential lavender oil on your pillow and ensure your bedroom is a comfortable temperature. And finally, try a drink of warm milk or Ovaltine, it may make you feel old before your time, but many people swear by it. 

You're not alone

We all like to think we are invincible, "I'm fine thanks" is a standard phrase we hear ourselves and other people saying daily. However, some days we are not okay; in fact, some days can turn into weeks and months. Thankfully the taboo around mental health is lessening, and people are seeking professional help when they need it. 16 million people in the UK will experience a mental health issue, so you're not alone. If you feel life is getting on top of you and you are struggling to cope, we would advise you to visit your doctor who can assess your needs and refer you to the most appropriate professional.

About the author

Jeanette Whyman

Partner - Head of Medical Neglience

Jeanette is head of the medical compensation team, specialising in medical negligence and personal injury claims.

Jeanette Whyman

Jeanette is head of the medical compensation team, specialising in medical negligence and personal injury claims.

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