With candidates spending long hours on the doorstep, Mind has reminded them to look after their mental health as we hit the midway point of the campaigning period.
The advice, which has been sent to around 2000 registered candidates in England and Wales, comes after several MPs spoke out about the negative effect the current political climate has had on their own mental health, and that of their staff.
In a letter to those on the campaign trail, Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, recognises the ”unique set of pressures” an election can create,.
With this in mind, the charity has issued the following tips to help parliamentary candidates manage their wellbeing:
If you know that a certain activity helps you feel more relaxed, set aside time to do it – whether it be mindfulness practice, being active by going for a run or swim, listening to music or taking your dog for a walk. Even five minutes of relaxation can help.
When you’re on the campaign trail at all hours this might seem impossible, but it can help you feel more positive and less isolated. Sometimes just telling the people close to you how you're feeling can make a big difference.
Stress can make it difficult for you to sleep, and you may develop sleep problems. However, being well-rested can increase your ability to deal with difficult situations, so it is important to get good sleep while campaigning. Making sure where you sleep is comfortable and relaxing before you go to bed, including having some tech-free time, can help.
When you're on the move, it can be easy to eat too much of the wrong kinds of food or to eat too little. But what, and when, you eat can make a big difference to how well you feel, and physical activity can be important for reducing stress levels too.
"As a society we have made huge progress in the way we view mental health but many of us still fall into the trap of forgetting politicians – including aspiring ones - are human too, with their own set of emotional and physical needs just like the rest of us.
"We know the campaign trail can be immensely gruelling on candidates. From long hours on the doorstep persuading voters, to the pressures of public hustings, candidates from all parties and their family and friends are feeling the strain. We want to remind them at this highly pressured time to ensure they’re looking after themselves.
“While it’s important that parties and their policies face public scrutiny, we must remember that all candidates are human. Mental health problems can, and do, develop in anyone. We hope our tips can help candidates if they need it.”
Mind will also send a wellbeing toolkit to all newly elected MPs in the New Year, after several parliamentarians spoke out about the effect the turbulent political landscape has had on their wellbeing.
Earlier this year, advice was issued by Mind to all MPs and their staff members during protracted Brexit negotiations.Parliament