Mental Health Day – 10 October 2022
Today I want to invite you to reflect on the topic of mental health. Similarly to how we forget to water the plants at our homes sometimes, how many times do we overlook and disregard our mental wellbeing? Just like a sponge, our mind retains and absorbs the emotions from every moment we live through. Every good event that happens or any trauma we go through gets imprinted in our mind without us even noticing it, which then impacts positively or negatively our mental wellbeing. As we are being witnesses to the continuous escalation of worrying events such as wars, climate change, hate speech, digital unsafety and other issues, it is needed nowadays more than ever to prioritize our focus on our mental health. It is crucial to not let it get degraded and not let others influence it negatively. However, it is not only our own mental health that we should lookout for, it is also crucial to be mindful of other’s mental state. We should try our best not only to avoid affecting someone negatively, but also to recognize when somebody is suffering with mental health issues and understand what are their needs and how to offer help without overstepping or creating more damage.
How can we improve our mental health?
NHS proposes five steps that can support mental wellbeing, as it is important for us to discover what will influence our mental health for the better, so we can take care of it in the best way possible:
1. Build and maintain strong relationships
- Save time for those who are important to you (family, friends…)
- Switch off from technology to talk and enjoy your time with others
- Show support to your friends and family
- Use the technological tools available to stay in touch, especially for long distance relationships
- Try not to rely exclusively on social media to build and maintain relationships
2. Be active physically
- Find enjoyable activities to help you get fit and make them a part of your life
- Find out how to start engaging with physical exercise
3. Find a new skill or hobby
- Try learning something new (cooking, DIY, sign up for a course, learn a new language, gain a practical skill…)
- Try taking on a new responsibility at work, or improving your current skills
- Try new hobbies that challenge you but that are still enjoyable and do not cause more stress
- It’s best to find activities you enjoy and make them a part of your life
4. Be kind and give to others
- Practice small acts of kindness towards other people
- Practice active listening and show support and help to those who need it
- Volunteer in your community, such as helping at a school, hospital or care home
5. Live in the present moment (practice mindfulness)
- Mindfulness includes your thoughts, feelings, body and the world around you
- It can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better
- It can positively change your take on life and how you approach challenges
- Read more about mindfulness, including steps you can take to be more mindful in your everyday life.
Regardless of not being visible, mental health issues silently grow stronger every moment while not tackled. Our minds are similar to a plant that we can’t forget to water with good practices, so we can keep it healthy and fuel its growth. So be kind, be aware, be conscious, and never stop taking care of your most precious asset: your mind!
Written By: Joana Branco Coelho