This year the theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’. It struck a chord with many of us during the worst of the pandemic, when some said that we were all battling the same storm but from very different boats. Some of us had yachts, some a row boat.
How true. Such an impactful way to think about how the struggles we face day to day, pandemic or no pandemic, can hit us hard, and can hit some harder than others, or in different ways.
“Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”Noam Shpancer
Consider your own mental health
Now that mental health is so much more widely acknowledged and talked about, what have you noticed are the things that impact your mental health – positively or negatively? Something that’s a bonus for one person and helps them thrive can be a huge challenge for the next person.
Going back to the pandemic and lockdowns, we may have appreciated some changes to our day to day life. For instance, not having to do a challenging daily commute and instead working from home could have felt like a blessing. Equally, getting out every day to their workplace could be someone’s sanity.
But there doesn’t need to be a pandemic for us to take time out and think about what impacts our mental health. Or what we can do in practical terms to protect ourselves and be on top of this part of our wellbeing.
This recent challenging time is perhaps a real opportunity to give attention and thought to something that can easily be ignored in general day to day life. Having more conversations about looking after our mental health is hugely valuable. For everyone to be aware that mental health is part of our overall health is very powerful and has made people more inclined to either open up, or to be aware of others around them who may need to talk.
Everyone is different
What is it for you that really helps you stay on top of your thoughts and feelings? What helps you feel you’re really looking after your wellbeing? Here are some thoughts of mine, and things I like to actively encourage myself to do to feel I’m really looking after me.
- Get outside. Always a hugely beneficial part of daily life for me. If I ever get too busy to get out for a daily walk and just be outside, I really feel my wellbeing and headspace suffers. Being in nature, in the fresh air, and getting that movement for your body is vital to feeling good, both physically and mentally.
- It’s good to talk. Working alone can some days mean a lot of quiet time by yourself and not much chat! I love our coworking sessions for some company whilst working. Or if that’s not possible, calling a friend for a chat is an ideal break and helps you feel connected.
- Eat well and drink lots of water. This might not be something that initially comes to mind when we’re talking about mental health, but I think it’s hugely important. You’ve all heard the phrase “you are what you eat” and that can mean lots of different things. If our diet is poor and we’re not hydrated, that can have a big impact on how we feel, our mood, our ability to be positive and upbeat.
- Read. Reading keeps us learning, which is always a good thing. It also educates us on topics such as mental health, and gives us hints and tips on how we can keep ourselves feeling good. I love relevant magazines and books that hone in on wellbeing and the best ways to treat our bodies and minds.
- Be sociable. I love my own company, always. But I also gain a lot of energy from bouncing off of other people and experiencing those interactions. One way I struggled during lockdowns was the lack of contact with other people. Whether that was friends, family or the great connections of our networking and coworking events where you just get to chat and be surrounded by other brilliant women. It’s been such a fantastic thing to get back to these in person events and feel the lift on my energy of that part of life.
What are your things that help you maintain your mental health? Are you aware of them? We’d love to hear what you like to do, and perhaps these suggestions have given you food for thought. Looking after ourselves is also a key aspect of our membership community, so feel free to come along and get involved!