World Mental Health Day 2021: Prioritize and Take Care of Your Mental Well-Being
World Mental Health Day is celebrated every year on October 10th. Its primary goal, according to the World Health Organization, is to raise mental health awareness and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.
This is particularly beneficial in dealing with the stigma attached to mental health, which is making it harder for people to get help and engage in therapy.
What Is World Mental Health Day?
As previously mentioned, World Mental Health Day is the day for promoting general mental health education and awareness. It was first celebrated in 1992 as a yearly activity of the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH). It had its first theme in 1994, which was “Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World”.
The theme of this year is “Mental Health in an Unequal World”. According to the WFMH, they chose this theme because of how the inequalities around the world affected people’s mental health. This may have also been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought a lot of stress and anxiety into our daily lives.
WMHD as a friendly reminder: How to take care of your mental health
In honor of World Mental Health Day 2021, we are sharing several tips and strategies to take care of your mental well-being and maintain good mental health.
Taking care of yourself physically can strengthen both your mind and body. Healthy lifestyle habits can also help you deal better with stress and give you more energy in facing new challenges.
Here are some self-care tips for mental health:
Certain vitamin or nutritional deficiencies, like vitamin B12 and iron, can negatively affect your mood. This only makes it important to load on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources, instead of processed and junk foods.
It can also be helpful to cut back on caffeine if you’ve been feeling stressed and anxious.
Exercise causes the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins. These trigger positive feelings and help relieve pain and stress. You don’t need to spend lots of time in the gym to get its benefits. Simple exercises like walking, jogging, or even following an online exercise video can help.
Get plenty of sleep
A good night’s sleep is important for building immunity or making your body more resilient to sickness. It also helps you process all the things you’ve learned for the day and improve your ability to regulate your emotions. Aim to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night and follow good sleeping practices.
Do something you enjoy
Make time for your hobbies or the things you enjoy doing. If you, for instance, love taking walks, set aside time to do it. Letting yourself enjoy and have fun can give your brain a rest, which can then help relieve stress.
It doesn’t matter how trivial you think it is. Engage in activities that can make you lose yourself for a little while.
Avoid alcohol or drugs
While these substances can provide temporary relief, they won’t solve any of your problems. Their effects are also likely to wane off, which can make you feel worse than before.
Alcohol and drugs, moreover, can make it hard for you to think clearly and make you lose control. This can lead to damaging or harmful behaviors.
Connect with other people
Dealing with something stressful or overwhelming can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Connecting with other people or sharing your problems can help lighten your burden.
Having someone willing to listen and validate your feelings can also go a long way. That someone can be a trusted friend or a loved one, a clergy member, or mental health professional.
Quiet your mind
In this fast-paced and busy world, relaxation doesn’t come naturally for many people. This is particularly true if you’re a worrier, overthinker, or perfectionist.
Quieting your busy mind can help, especially in reducing stress and anxiety. It can make you feel calm and relaxed, which is important not just for physical and mental health, but also for emotional and spiritual health.
Practicing mindfulness is one way to do it. This means being fully aware of the present and your surroundings. It allows you to focus on the moment and acknowledge your feelings without any judgment.
Mindfulness also enables you to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings, which can help you understand them better. You can practice mindfulness with:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Journaling (or writing down your thoughts and feelings)
Talk to your boss about your mental health
It is always up to you whether or not you want to disclose your mental health to your boss. It is, however, helpful to talk about it to get the help that you need. This could include days off, flexible schedules, less workload, and others.
Sharing your mental health concerns with your boss may also help them understand why you may be feeling less motivated on certain days.
Here are a few tips that can help:
Find the right time
Pick a less busy time or moment to have the conversation. Contacting or getting in touch with your boss initially through text or email might be better, instead of opening about it casually or making a cold call.
Assess your needs
Before talking to your boss, ask friends or trusted co-workers if they notice anything off about you. This can help you see things that are not obvious to you, as well as realize what changes or adjustments could help you at work. It could be moving to a new cubicle or workstation or changing your shift or work schedule.
Practice the conversation
You can do it in front of a mirror to see your body language, or with a trusted loved one or colleague. It is important to be direct and honest while addressing your needs or requests. You can start the conversation by saying something similar to this: “I have been struggling with stress or anxiety lately. I would like to request a few days off to attend on my mental health”.
If you don’t have a good relationship with your boss, talk to someone senior or a colleague with a good relationship with them. They may give you pointers on how to talk to them or even help facilitate the conversation.
Be kind to yourself
Showing yourself kindness goes beyond self-care or attending to your physical needs. While these can help reduce stress and lift your mood, you should also practice self-compassion.
Extending warmth, kindness, and understanding toward yourself despite failures and shortcomings can improve your resilience and even promote happiness. It’s worth a try to:
- Acknowledge your pain and feelings. Don’t pretend that it’s okay when it is not.
- Learn to forgive. Don’t overly criticize or punish yourself when you make mistakes.
- See the world through a different lens. Try to adopt a new or less negative perspective.
- Speak to yourself the way you would talk to a trusted friend or loved one.
Seek professional help
While positive lifestyle changes are beneficial, you should also consider professional support if you can’t seem to untangle overwhelming thoughts and feelings. A licensed therapist can validate your feelings and help you understand and navigate them.
They can give you mental health tips to cope with stress and to work through your anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues.
The best part is you can do this at home or get help remotely through online therapy on Calmerry. This is beneficial if you’re already dealing with hectic schedules and social anxiety.
You can attend your therapy sessions without going out and choose the mode of communication you’re comfortable with. It can be through text, audio, or video messaging.
Let the upcoming Mental Health Day serve as a reminder to take better care of your mental health or get help when needed.
Don’t hesitate to consider online therapy at Calmerry if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the things happening around you or if you’re struggling with mental health issues.