Going about my normal business this weekend, I was puzzled by the number of joggers I saw, out braving what was an unusually wet and windy Sunday morning.
It was only when I checked Facebook later that day I realised that there were tens of thousands of runners up and down the country running their own London Marathon.
Their efforts were inspiring and reminded me of the impact exercise and physical health have our mental wellbeing. Something I have certainly neglected over the last six months. Yes, we all have mental health. Some are in better health than others. It is a fact that most of us at some point in our lives have had a time of diminished mental health.
On October 10th 2020, World Mental Health Day is a chance to remember that this is a vital part of our lives too. A chance to have a wellness check on your state of mind. Or to reach out to a friend or colleague whom you think might need a little help.
Ways to look after your mental health and wellbeing
Before you get stuck in, remember a few simple guidelines. It would be best if you only did what feels comfortable. If you do something that leaves you feeling out of sorts, then you have gone against your wellbeing!
It would help if you took a little time out to reflect upon what you might want to try. It’s not a race, and you want to find what works for you. And, once you find out what you want to try, don’t expect to be a master overnight. Please take it in baby-steps and find what is achievable.
If things do become too tiresome or hard, it is OK to ask for help or guidance. Or stop. You wouldn’t have failed at anything. You have found something that isn’t for you.
6 ways to improve your mental wellbeing
First of all, find something that helps you reduce stress and relax. This could be as simple as a bath, with your candles, relaxing music, soothing aromas. This can often be challenging to manage if you have young children. They seem to find a way to need the bathroom as soon as you get in the tub. Ask your partner to take the children out for the evening, or a friend or relative to take them. It is essential to find this time. Whatever you choose, set the alarm, then ignore the world for that 30 minutes or hour. Don’t look at your watch; this time is yours and yours alone.
How about something creative? Can you draw? Make a felt doll? Writing, or scrapbooking can be a great way of relaxing and can give such a sense of achievement when you complete a piece of art.
- Return to Nature
A walk in the woods or by the sea has therapeutic value. Humans originated in nature, return to our roots and spend a little time in a green space or some countryside. The silence, or rather, the country noises such as bird songs remind us of what it is to be alive.
- Connect with Someone
While it can be a great way to relax on yourself, connecting with others can also be a great healer. Meet for a coffee or a walk. That could kill two birds with one stone. Just don’t hurt any real birds! We are social creatures by nature, and a conversation can work miracles, even ease some stress or find a solution.
- Get Active
As the opener had suggested, grab your running shoes and go for a run. If you cannot run, a walk can make you feel so good. Spending about 30 minutes, about three times per week, elevating your heart-rate can have a significant impact on your mental wellbeing. Please consult a doctor if you want to start something new and have concerns about your physical health.
My favourite; get enough sleep! Whoever said that sleep is a waste of time, was lying to you. Sleep is crucial for the brain to back-up the day’s thoughts. It also needs time to recharge and for the body to rest too. Make sure you change your mattress every eight years and sleep in a comfortable place. This can be hard if you have young kids who like to get you up at 5 in the morning!
Just work on 1 of these things. If you focus on one thing, you are more likely to find success in promoting your mental wellbeing.
For more information how you can look after yourself on World Mental Health Day, visit: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day