World Mental Health Day and what it means
This year World Mental Health Day is 10th October. Of course, we should be Mental Health aware every day. I often write social media posts and blogs about mental health. I suppose that having a day to recognise it globally may bring it to the attention of people who do not usually think much about mental health and serves as a reminder to be kind to those whose mental health may not always be as strong as it could be – and that includes ourselves, of course. Mental health is on a continuum and we can all be at different places on that continuum at any given time. That is something that is worth remembering.
What is the theme for World Mental Health Day 2021?
The theme for World Mental Health Day 2021 is ‘Mental health in an unequal world’. This is set by the World Federation for Mental Health. At the current time, many people are still feeling vulnerable in their mental health due to the effects of Covid-19. The pandemic saw people being affected in this area disproportionately due to their particular circumstances. Factors were if they have an existing long-term health condition, whether they are single parents or if facing discrimination.
How the Mental Health Foundation are addressing this issue
Read how the Mental Health Foundation are addressing this issue with the launch of a new programme here: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day
The page suggests ways in which you can get involved in making others aware of mental health. We all need to look after our own mental health at all times.
Tips for looking after your own mental health
All of us need to look after our own mental health. Some of us will have found that we have experienced mental health issues for the first time during recent lockdowns. Others will have had their existing mental health conditions heightened during this period. Here are some tips that I have come up with to help us with our mental health.
I would recommend anyone with serious concerns about their own mental health or about someone they know to seek professional help as soon as possible:
- Keep physically active (if you can) – many of us know that physical health and mental health are closely connected, but don’t always appreciate just how much.
- Eat balanced meals – good nutrition will help you with both your physical health and your mental health.
- Drink plenty of water – this is something that I sometimes forget to do. If we don’t drink enough water we may feel sluggish and dehydrated. This is not good for both our physical health and our mental health.
- Keep in contact with people. This is particularly important for those that live on their own or spend long periods in the house on their own. Ideally, meet up with friends and family if you can. If you can’t meet up physically, there is always the phone, video chats using technology such as Zoom (free for the basic version), etc.
- Learn new skills. If you are feeling a little down there is nothing like learning a new skill or developing a new interest to help you feel motivated.
- Don’t dwell on the past. Many people, particularly those going through a difficult time, tend to do this. They find it hard to pick themselves up as they are reiterating negative thoughts to themselves. These thoughts will keep them feeling down. Become aware of your thinking as only then can you start to address the patterns of thinking that may be holding you back.
- Start to journal. Get your thoughts down on paper. If things are troubling you or you are finding it hard to make a decision about sometimes, it may help you gain clarity writing it down.
- Set small goals for yourself to help you take small steps forward.
- Factor into your daily plan some self-care activities. These can be going for a walk in a local park, meditation, yoga, reading a novel or whatever works for you. This is particularly important if you are someone who is busy looking after other people. Sometimes it is easy to neglect your own self-care.
- Try to have a laugh – with friends, watching a favourite comedy film or TV show – you know that they say that laugher is the best medicine.
- These are just a few tips to help you feel better in your mental health.
However, please do seek professional health if you need to and do it promptly. You deserve to do the right thing for you! If you struggle to feel positive, coaching or even counselling or other interventions may be able to help with this. Exactly what would be the best would be dependant on your particular needs. Please pick up the phone and seek that help now…remember, you are worth it!
Here are some other articles about mental health on this site.