Look after Yourself on World Mental Health Week07/10/2016
In Ireland MHI (Mental Health Ireland) are going all out to raise awareness for mental health, by organising 92 regional events across the country that will raise awareness of Mental Health Week 2016 at a community level.
Whether you are concerned about your own mental health, or the health of someone close to you, there are five steps that you can follow to help support the campaign. They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. Here are some ideas for each pillar of support that might inspire you during World Mental Health Awareness Week and beyond.
These days we’re on our phones and internet-connected devices more than ever, so, do we really need to connect more? Well ask yourself this — would you be as willing to share any struggles you might have with your mental health on Facebook or WhatsApp? Understandably most people don’t. So with this in mind make sure you reach out to those closest to you the old fashioned way, with a call or a visit. By nurturing these relationships your support net can strengthen over time, get out a physically meet your friends.
Healthy body, healthy mind! Staying active can help with mental health in a number of different ways. You might be surprised to know that exercise can provide a natural energy boost and help improve your sleep. As you get more involved in exercise, perhaps by joining a sports club or by setting yourself goals and target, you can benefit from an increased feeling of achievement and feel an improved focus in life and have better motivation.
How active do you need to be? You don’t need to me competing for medals or become an instant athlete. Just start walking for just one hour, three days a week. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try any new sports that you think you might enjoy.
If you’ve watched as some of your friends, family or colleagues have caught the ‘running bug’ and seem intrigued, then take a look at this 5L running programme for learners. It’s designed to get complete running novices up to 5K level at a practical pace. You can find it here.
Take Notice/ Mindfulness
Taking notice is about practicing a mental calmness over the everyday stresses of life. Whether it be dealing with stresses in your job, your family life or something else, practicing mindfulness can help you continue on with your life without being overwhelmed by negative thoughts or difficult situations. You can learn more about mindfulness in our blog post Living the 7 Steps of Global Wellness Day.
For those looking to get started with mindfulness for the first time, without having to join a group or class a great way to get started is with the Head Space app.This introduces people to guided mindfulness and is free to trial. It takes 10 minutes per day and is a great starting point for beginners. Find out more here.
Learning new things can help keep your mind sharp and your time full while giving you a great excuse to interact with others. The great thing about this pillar is that it’s very flexible, meaning you don’t have to go and start a degree or masters course if you’re not in a great frame of mind. You can go and start a new arts and craft class, take beginners lessons in a new language or even try your hand at cooking new cuisines. Challenge yourself, expand your horizons and most importantly, have fun doing it.
Exactly what it says on the tin! Giving is just that — opening yourself up to support others while also accepting in return. Give an ear to a friend, family member or colleague if they’re going through a difficult time, or maybe get a group of friends together to volunteer to help a local organisation in your community. This concept of giving can cause a trickle on effect and encourage more people to help each other. It’s also a great way to keep active and stay connected.
Mental Health Awareness Day Special Focus
This October 10th, the World Health Organisation is putting a special focus on psychological first aid on World Mental Health Day. The organisation hopes to raise awareness of mental health among those people who find themselves in the front line when it comes to supporting the mental wellbeing of others such as health staff, teachers, firemen, community workers, or police officers and more. If you fall into any of these professions or are close to someone who does, why not have a chat with them about mental health awareness this October? You can find out more here.
Mental Health Awareness week runs from October 9th to October 14th.