October starts with World Mental Health Day on October 10th
And although you might not necessarily think that mental health affects you, we all need to be aware of how our mental health can affect our view on life, our ability to perform in our job and the impact it can also have on our overall physical health.
The global pandemic has had a clear impact on our mental health in multiple ways, whether you suffered with mental health problems before the outbreak or not. mentalhealth.org have done some great research into the effects of COVID on mental health and broken it down into mini waves of our journey through this pandemic. In the Wave 11 study across multiple research units at British universities from 18th June to 2nd July 2021, it was noted that “restrictions are easing, people are relaxing but resilience is still being tested amongst vulnerable groups”.
• Anxiety and worry due to the stress of the pandemic has continued to decline significantly from 64% in March 2020 vs 36% in June/July 2021
• However, levels of anxiety and worry amongst those with a long-term physical health condition have not declined as quickly with 41% still anxious
• Those with a pre-existing mental health diagnosis are also recording higher levels of anxiety and worry (51%)
So what can you do to boost your mental health on a day to day basis to safeguard your emotional wellbeing? Here are 5 options for you to try:
Release Your Inner Child
What did you love to do as a child that you can bring back into your life right now? Think about the things that bring joy to your life and how you might be able to bring them into your day to day routine to boost your mindset. Taking time to enjoy yourself and get caught up in an activity can help reduce stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem. Focusing on a hobby can be a great way to be in the present moment, help shift your mood and mindset and bring a sense of calm and balance to your life.
Reducing Negative Chatter
This may seem a small tip, however it can be super powerful. If you find yourself struggling with your head racing ten to the dozen about everything you need to be doing today, or perhaps negative thoughts of not being good enough or “I can’t do this”, then try this out.
Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Imagine you have a rev counter or speedometer from a car in front of you. Currently you’re at the highest point on the dial, a 10 out of 10 in hectic, negative noise.
Take a few deep breaths and visualise that rev counter slowly moving down. The arrow on the dial moving downwards as you breathe in and out calmly. With each breath visualise this movement as this calms your mind, clearing the chatter and reducing the negative noise. Practice this throughout the day until you reach 0-2 out of 10. Practice it as you need it and have it in your tool kit for tougher moments in life.
Let’s Get Physical
Everything in life is interconnected so although this is a tip about boosting your mental health, it comes from boosting your physical health. Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Therefore regular exercise can boost your self-esteem, increase your positive mindset and help you sleep and feel better. Everything comes together to play an important part in both your physical and mental health. Exercise also keeps the brain and other vital organs healthy.
When it comes to exercise for mental health it doesn’t have to mean training for a marathon, hitting the gym or attending a weekly boxing class. Find ways to bring exercise into your day to day life in a way that you enjoy so that you can practice consistently, enjoy the process and clear your mind at the same time. That might come from gardening, tidying the house, taking the dog for a walk or walking to the shops to help a neighbour with their weekly shopping.
Journal Your Thoughts
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health, it’s a great way to take charge of your wellbeing but sometimes we don’t feel we can talk to others as easily as we would like so journaling your thoughts can be a great way to process them. Journaling can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Opening up by writing out all your thoughts can be a great way to get clarity of mind, stop the cycle of mulling over your thoughts too much and can be a great way to move forward from things that feel like they are holding you back.
It’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. If you can’t think of one word, use lots, free writing is a great way to get thoughts out of your mind, onto paper and you can choose to read over them again or through that paper away in a symbolic process of cleansing your thoughts and getting clearer in your mind.
Using a prompted journal can be a great way to build a healthy habit. You can use it as a tool to help you start each day with a positive mindset and to encourage you to identify obstacles so that you can be aware of them and then move forward in a powerful way.
Take time to focus on self care to boost your mental wellbeing
You know that feeling when you get to the end of the week, a friend asks how your week has been and to be honest… you just can’t remember?! So often we let life pass us by in a blur. We get stuck in a routine, we have so much focus on in our business or career, trying to get work/life balance and dealing with what everyone around us is doing; that we forget to be present in our own life and this can have long term effects on your own wellbeing. Think of your self care as a savings account. When we save, we put a little away each month for emergencies or adventures. Daily or regular self care will add up. Putting good things into your self care account will help you build resources to ride out the tough times.
Contact us to enquire about how We Are Wellbeing can help provide your staff and colleagues with techniques to boost mental health.