Tips to boost mental healthSeptember 28, 2021
As we approach October, it’s important to take some time and recognise Mental Health Month.
Mental Health Month is celebrated each year in the month of October in NSW. This month encourages all of us to think about our mental health and wellbeing, regardless of whether we may have a lived experience of mental illness or not. It also gives us the opportunity to understand the importance of good mental health in our everyday lives and encourages help seeking behaviours when needed. It an ideal time for people across Australia to reflect upon their mental health and take time to better their own wellbeing.
With the COVID lockdowns causing much isolation and loneliness, people have felt the effects of underlying mental health disorders that may have been dormant. Others who may have been on top of their mental illness were set back by the uncertainty of job loss, routine changes, anxiety, fear about sickness, and social isolation from friends and loved ones. The ongoing stress and anxiety that has resulted from COVID are similar to dealing with trauma.
Parents are also concerned about their children as they deal with the uncertainty around HSC. It puts an added load on their shoulders with homeschooling, while the children are forced to manage added burdens. How can families deal with these issues so they are not too overwhelmed? Here are three strategies on how you can improve mental health even in difficult situations.
Even though it may feel easy to let up on yourself and give in to depression, make an effort to practise self-care every day. It can be small acts or larger acts, as long as you are doing things that promote your wellbeing. You could relax with a bath at the end of the week (or day) or making sure you eat nutritiously. Maybe you want to pamper yourself with a special treat occasionally to celebrate getting through another month of taking good care of yourself. When you are well, you are better able to care for your friends and family.
Reaching out to help others will inspire you and make you feel happier. For one thing, it takes your mind off of your own struggles. You will also get an uplift to your mood when you see how your actions have helped someone else. With the COVID protocols, you may not be able to do as much as you’d like, but there are different ways to brighten someone else’s day. You could send a card or note to those who are shut-in. There may be ways you can volunteer if you check with the proper authorities. Also, you can always make someone’s day special by helping them through this difficult time.
As difficult as it might seem, be thankful every day. This may take some practice because everyone is feeling overwhelmed and downcast. You might have to reach inside your mind and think about it for a bit, but there are surely some things that you have to be thankful for. Being thankful will have more positive power on your mental health if you write it down or say it aloud. You could make this a daily practice with your family or write it in a daily journal. You could come up with two or three things you are thankful for each day — or you could even do it once a week. Cultivating a spirit of thankfulness has been proven to bring your mental health and mood up.
As Mental Health Month draws closer, take time now to put into practice these steps for better mental health. Your wellbeing is vital to those around you. When you are at your best, then others may catch inspiration and take hope too. Way Ahead offers some clever tips here.
Do you have a problem that you just can’t solve on your own? We can help via our range counselling and allied health supports. Call 1800 324 924 or visit www.catholiccaredbb.org.au for more information. We’re open to everyone and are here to talk through options and help you think about strategies.