Mental Health Awareness Week (18th to 24th May 2020) is hosted by the Mental Health Foundation. It’s the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and inspire actions to promote the message of good mental health for everyone. The theme this year is kindness.
The changes we’re all experiencing during this current time will no doubt cause some levels of stress and/or anxiety. So, we are all having to work a little harder to look after our mental health and wellbeing. What things do you do to help?
Evidence suggests there are 5 steps you can take to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.
Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can:
- help you to build a sense of belonging and self-worth
- give you an opportunity to share positive experiences
- provide emotional support and allow you to support others
There are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships like:
- try switching off the tv and chatting or playing a game with someone you love
- eat dinner with your family
- call a friend for a catch up
There are lots of new and exciting innovations which have helped make interaction easier as social distancing measures are in place such as video calling platforms and apps galore to help you keep in touch.
BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE
Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness. Evidence also shows it can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- raising your self-esteem
- helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
- causing chemical changes in your brain which can help to positively change your mood
Staying physically active has become a little more difficult in recent weeks. But here are some ways you may like to try:
- make use of free online exercise classes (there’s even dance classes too!)
- utilise open green spaces in your local area (after all, the world is your gym!)
- cleaning and gardening are ways to work out without even knowing that you are exercising
Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:
- boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem
- helping you to build a sense of purpose
- helping you to connect with others
Even if you feel like you do not have enough time, or you may not need to learn new things, there are lots of different ways to bring learning into your life.
Some of the things you could try include:
- work on a DIY project
- learn or practice a new recipe
- try a new hobby that challenges you
- sign up for an online course
Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:
- creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
- giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
- helping you connect with other people
- It could be small acts of kindness towards other people, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community.
Some examples of the things you could try include:
- saying thank you to someone for something they have done for you
- asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and really listening to their answer
- spending time with friends or relatives who need support or company
- offering to help someone you know with DIY project
- volunteering in your community
TAKE NOTICE (MINDFULNESS)
Paying more attention to the present moment can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you.
This awareness is sometimes called "mindfulness". Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:
- Get a plant for your workspace
- Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
- Take notice of how the people around you are feeling or acting
- Take a different route on your walks
Remember, give kindness to yourself and others.
For more information and for useful links and videos visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/.