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Wellbeing message from Cllr Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council - 6 April 2020

I know many of you are feeling worried, confused and uncertain during these unprecedented times. I want to reach out to tell you that you are not alone and that your council is doing everything it can at this time to support our residents, communities, local businesses, voluntary groups and charities.

We have faced tough times before and we will get through this in the same way - by looking out for one another. I am in awe of the way communities are pulling together to support each other and raise spirits. It is heartwarming to hear stories about people cooking extra meals for elderly neighbours, postmen going to work in fancy dress to spread cheer, charities working around the clock to check on the vulnerable and a moment none of us will forget - the entire borough coming together to clap for our selfless NHS workers. I am truly proud of South Tyneside and the caring people within it.

I want to reach out to anyone who is reading this and struggling right now; please know that you are not alone. Life has temporarily changed significantly and if you are feeling anxious or lonely that is a perfectly normal reaction to an abnormal situation. The current lockdown will be affecting everybody differently and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been checking on family members, friends and people in the community. We may be unable to see each other face-to-face but we can continue to support each other in a safe way, whether this be via a phone call, social media or a rainbow in the window. All of these things can, and do, make a huge difference.

There is nothing we can do about the current situation of lockdown, we all must stay at home, but there are things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing whilst self-isolating.

Talking about your worries with someone you trust can help not only you but them as well. You may find that you are both experiencing the same concerns. If you do not have anyone you feel comfortable talking with there are a number of charities you can contact. Mind is one such fantastic charity which you can reach at Mind.

Daily exercise can be hugely beneficial. A simple 10-minute workout in the morning is an amazing start to the day and can help to clear your mind of anxious thoughts. Here is one suggestion: NHS: Home workout videos

For anyone who would like more information on how to deal with stress and anxiety related to self-isolation and the coronavirus, the following sites are extremely helpful:

Please be kind to each other. We are all facing our own difficulties during this time and a friendly ear can make all the difference.

When this is over, we will celebrate and, I'm sure, hold our loved ones closer and cherish those everyday things that we used to take for granted.           

Until then, stay safe and stay connected.

Cllr Tracey Dixon
Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for Independence and Wellbeing

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