Happy World Mental Health Day!

What is World Mental Health Day all about? Well, it aims to spread awareness, educate and reduce the stigma that is sadly still associated with mental health problems in society.

The event provides a great opportunity for people to share knowledge, talk about how to take care of mental health, and also deal with society’s misconceptions.

So in this blog post I just want to focus on one element of this, and that is how to take care of our mental health. Caring for our mental health is so important, and never more so than after the past 18 months or so, and the collective sense of fear and overwhelm we have all experienced – never mind the individual stresses we may have been under during this time.

So how can we do this? Firstly, tell someone how you are feeling.  Talking about our feelings to a friend, partner, relative or therapist is so important and really helps us to process and make sense of what we have been through collectively and personally. When someone listens, understands and validates our feelings it really helps normalise them, and often minimises their impact.  So reach out and talk to someone!
Another great way to take care of your mental health is to be physically active if you are able. Find something you love to do so its easy to stick with it . . . I’m going to be heading off for a walk with the dogs after I’ve written this; its a gorgeous sunny Autumn afternoon and I know it will improve my mood to be walking in the sunshine. Exercise boosts serotonin, one of our so called ‘happy hormones’ and really helps our mental health.
Making sure we are getting all the right nutrients to feed our mind and keep it healthy is another vital part of caring for our mental health.  I don’t know about you, but when I eat too much unhealthy food (e.g. sugary snacks and highly processed foods) and not enough fruit, veg and wholegrains I can definitely feel the effect on my mood.  
The same goes for alcohol, which is, of course,  a depressant.  So it really is worth trying to avoid booze or keep your intake moderate for optimal mental health. There are some lovely alternatives on the market these days, including kombucha which has the added benefit of providing us with lots of healthy bacteria for our guts – also super good for supporting our mental health.

Covid-19 and the lockdowns that have gone along with it have really affected many peoples’ willingness to be sociable and see their friends. Its as though all the time we have been forced to spend at home has made some of us slightly hermit-like and reticent about re-connecting with people.  Whilst many of us are, I know, delighted to be able to be out and about again, others are struggling with low-level anxieties and a kind of social apathy, a feeling of ‘can’t be bothered’ to fully embrace life again.  In some ways this is no bad thing if one’s diary was too full and this was causing stress, but some contact with people and activities that lift us and make us happy is so vital for our mental health. So if you have got abit too used to staying home and being a bit isolated, maybe now would be a good time to give yourself a gentle push off the sofa, and think of something you could do that involves getting out into the world a little and reconnecting with friends and loved ones, or getting involved in some volunteering perhaps? Helping others is another great way to improve our own mental health.

Having said that, now that Autumn is here its the perfect time to slow down and make time for gentle acts of self love as we prepare for the coming Winter 🍁🍂 

My next blog post will be all about how we can do this. In the meantime, I wish you positive mental health ❤️


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