Today marks the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s more important than ever for us to make sure we are taking care of our mental health, with so much uncertainty and most of us facing a world of change and anxiety, this week we remind each other to take a moment to be kind not only to others but to ourselves as well. It’s harder than ever living in a time of social distancing for us to be there for others in the way we are used to, but small acts of kindness can make such a big difference, just a phone call or text to check in on someone you care about can make that person feel less isolated. This week we will be posting something each day on the theme of mental health together with support and information. Take a look at Mind’s website, they have lots of advice, support and information. We all have mental health, in the same way we have physical health, lets make sure we are taking care of it.
We often talk openly about our physical health, it seems natural to ask someone who has been ill with migraines “how is your headache?” but much harder to ask someone who has been ill with depression “how have you been feeling?”. An important part of tackling the taboo surrounding mental health is to educate people and change the way we view it. Your brain is an organ, like any other in your body, and its your brain that controls your mind and your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Sometimes our mind gets sick, like any other part of our body. Think about how complex your brain and mind are? Think about how much we rely on them working and how much can be affected by a shift in the health of our mind. Mental illness isn’t a weakness or a failing, it’s just that, an illness. An illness that can be managed, it can be recovered from and its ok to talk about it.
The NHS have lots of support and information on how to look after your mind. Today, do something, one thing to care for your mind.
Kindness – being kind to ourselves and each other can have a hugely positive impact on our mental health. The world is a little upside down at the moment, and its times like these when even the smallest act of kindness can make a big difference to our mental wellbeing. While we can’t be there to support each other physically at the moment we can be there emotionally. Today do something kind for someone you care about, even if that’s just a simple ‘thinking of you’ text.
Mindfulness – Mindfulness is defined by mindful.org as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us” We are all capable of being mindful, but it’s also something you can practice and there are so many great resources to help with this online. Try taking a moment to focus on yourself, how do you feel? Scan your body, are there any parts of your body that feel tense? Are you for example tensing your shoulders, what happens if you take a moment to relax your body from the toes all the way to your face. Next time your phone rings, instead of rushing to answer it take a moment to breathe, teach yourself to control the way you react to things from the outside world. Being mindful means paying more attention to the moment and what is happening around us using all of our senses. What can you smell? Are you sat on the sofa reading this? How does the fabric of the sofa feel against your skin? What can you hear? Taking more notice of these kinds of senses can make us more aware of and enjoy the world around us, and more in tune with the way our mind works. Today try practicing some mindfulness for yourself:
Today is the last day of Mental Health Awareness week, we hope that you have had chance at some point this week to take a moment to be kind to yourself, to take a moment to be there for yourself, to be there for others in whatever small way you can. Times are hard at the moment, for all of us. No matter how alone or worried you feel there is always a form of support out there for you.