How do you think about yourself, the world and other people? How does what you do affect your thoughts and feelings?
Every year we are reminded of World Mental Health Day. Charities come together to talk about this key issue that will affect each of us in our lifetime. From anxiety to grief. Mental health is real and something we need to be talking about and taking care of. For the month of October there are a number of health awareness campaigns, and working as a full time professional in the health sector, I believe in the importance of raising key health issues on my blog. This year I am proposing something different. To write a letter to your future self. To make a conscious choice and include tips to help you make your mental health a priority and read this next year on World Mental Health day. In addition to finding virtual Tea & Talk sessions that you can log into and connect with other people if you need to.
How are you? 2020 has been a year like no other. The beginning of a new decade that held tons of promise and expectation. But too soon the world was gripped with news of a virus and people became pressured by the uncertainty. As scientists and medical doctors started to reveal more about this virus, people became anxious, realised they would not be able to socialise and connect with others. Cutting beneficial links. There was talk about lockdowns. And the rest we are all now living with.
Mental and emotional health is so important because the power of our thoughts is key to how we think and who we become. What we think about produces a result and this can make us healthy or ill. From normal everyday matters to dealing with loss and grief.
- As we journey through life, this is a process where we need to be aware of the habitual patterns we are creating by ensuring we aim to live free from negative and harmful thoughts and replace them with Godly thoughts. (Philippians 4:8)
- One thing we cannot do is choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we think about things. What will you colour your mind with? Health, optimism and enthusiasm? Because everything we do will be defined by this. (Proverbs 4:23)
- The medical field tells us that negative thoughts can weaken our immune system. That means negative thoughts towards yourself, others, and situations. So, let’s remember to pray about everything. And believe that with God’s help we can take control of negative thoughts that poison our thinking and opt for a more positive approach. (Philippians 4:6-7)
31 tips for the month of October, to deal with the pressures and problems while slowing down to deal with this process
1| Start today, start now, to make healthy choices. Begin in small ways, it can be saying no to negative thoughts that filter through your mind or eating junk food instead of healthy greens.
2| Make the conscious choice to refuse to stress yourself over things you cannot control or change.
3| Being mentally well is a priority, which makes your happiness essential and ensures self-care is necessary.
4| Next time you feel tempted to beat yourself up, remember that taking care of your mental health is a lifelong journey, repeated every day, one step at a time.
3| Enact gratitude by noting 3 things you are thankful for today.
5| Nothing begins your day better than a cup of your favourite beverage. Something good for you like a superfood turmeric latte or if you prefer coffee. Appreciate a few moments as you sit down to a nice cuppa.
6| Take a five-minute break every hour to stretch your muscles. Starting with practicing smiling. Yes smile!
7| Make planning a priority. The night before – pack your lunch and choose your outfit for the next working day.
8| As the days draw in, when the sun is shining. Wrap up, take a short walk in the sunshine and delight in the vivacious autumn colours. Even if it is only to stretch your legs. Vitamin D top ups can boost your mood.
9| A problem lands on your desk. Count to 10, breath, try not to react until you have taken time to calm down and not allowed the problem to overwhelm you.
10| Boosting your vitamin levels in the autumn months is vital for health and well-being. Consciously opt for healthy options that hold more nutrition rather than quick junk food that temporarily fills a craving.
11| Getting a hobby is a great idea to help you relax. Even better if you can turn an exercise into a hobby like swimming.
12| Let’s talk about it. The most important part of this is finding a trusted community to talk and share life with. Follow me on my Facebook page and Instagram for extra motivation and inspiration. Let’s link up and talk about what’s bothering you.
13| Take a minute to write down 3 areas you want to work on. This is part of devising stress busting tools. It could be how to boost your confidence or cope with pressure.
14| Talking about breaks, sometimes the best break we can take is from social media, or watch less television as binge watching everything about COVID19 can cause more anxiety and is not constructive for our mental health.
15| Writing down how you feel is an instant way to get on top of your emotions. Pretend you are talking to a therapist. Right now pull out your notebook and scribble away.
16| Look out for signs by asking yourself pertinent questions. Such as are you feeling under pressure? Are you sleeping properly? Are you finding it hard to focus? Then seek additional help if you need to by contacting your local GP.
17|Trying to maintain a normal routine of sleep and diet and keeping in touch with loved ones, as much as you can during this pandemic, while adhering to government guidance.
18| With repeated discipline – you can change those unhelpful thoughts and detrimental self-talk.
19| Starting a to do list everyday can help you focus, stay on track and find balance in addition to systematic problem-solving.
20| It’s time for a break, either a stroll, a brisk walk or a hike. Getting out in natures woodlands and parks can increase your energy, reduce your anxiety and give your overall well-being an instant lift.
21| Why not get practical – let’s practice a few things like learn a new language or how to play an instrument or just being kind.
22| Do something you are good at, you have that one thing you are a master at like cooking or gardening. Savour those moment spending time each week doing that.
23| Try new things, the only way you can move out of the comfort zone you build around yourself is to try. Start off small and then as your confidence grow, step out and make room for excitement and adventures!
23| Doodling and colouring is also another instant distraction when you need a quick interval and don’t have a lot of time. 5 or 10 minutes can help you mind map or problem solve a conflicting situation you might face.
25| Send a text to all your contacts. Set up private chat groups and increase communication with friends. You check in with them and in time you will have started your own connection link.
26| When you feel helpless, the one thing you must try to avoid is using an addiction as a coping strategy. Distract your mood swings to do something positive on this list instead of turning to something detrimental.
27| It’s ok to realise that our emotions can be influenced by friendships, social media, how others treat us, divorce or a bereavement. Forgiving yourself and then learning how to forgive will help you more than you believe.
28| Enjoy the present. This moment is meant to be mindful of. And that really means not losing focus and being aware of right now. Which is why it is important to practice taking a break where you can enjoy some time without the phone ringing, having to respond to emails and just enjoy looking out the window.
29| Now it’s fall or autumn, find seasonal themed self-care tips to help you take care of your mental health and emotions. That include decorating, sprucing your wardrobe, trying new recipes and use the colours of the season to help revitalise your mood and bring encouragement to your home and life.
30| As the days draw us in, don’t feel bad if you find yourself curling up and reading a book or watching a film. You are allowed to find time to simply nurture yourself.
31| Prayer is so important, and a time to soak. Listen to some worship music and simply close your eyes and allow God to inspire and renew you. It might be at the end of a busy day or hectic week. But slotting that time into your schedule habitually to spend time with God is more than crucial to your mental well-being.
COVID19 is a crisis we all might be struggling to understand. Feelings of sadness or fear are normal. The most important take away today is to avoid speculation. While you cannot anticipate your distress, you can learn how to manage what the media filters through to you and keep yourself safe and well in the middle of this pandemic.
Share your thoughts…
You are important, so safeguarding your mental well-being is essential – what ideas do you use to pre-empt the slump and stay well during the autumn months?