Mental Health Awareness Week: How To Look Out For Yourself and Those Around You

Mental Health Awareness Week: How To Look Out For Yourself and Those Around You

“This past year has been hard” is something many of us are probably tired of hearing. But it doesn’t stop it being true. Now more than ever, we need to make sure we go easy on ourselves and also be kind to those around us. If there’s anything positive to take away from lockdown, it’s that even when the world is crumbling, we still have each other. And whilst Mental Health Awareness Week runs from May 10th to May 16th, we should remain thoughtful beyond this.Ā In this post, we’re taking a look at some of the ways you can look out for yourself, or check in on friends and family to help them in a time of need.

a problem shared is a problem halved

Reach Out

The biggest piece of advice we could possibly give anyone is to reach out. A problem shared is a problem halved. It can feel like the scariest thing in the world sometimes, but we can assure you that when you take that first big step, everything starts to get a little easier. And this isn’t just for those struggling, but also for those who feel like someone else may be struggling. Sometimes all someone needs is a “are you okay?” and a “are you sure?”. Sometimes all they need is assurance that you are there to lend an ear, completely judgement free. And if you are struggling but don’t feel like you have anyone you can go to, there is always someone. Sometimes it can even feel a little easier to pick up the phone to a complete stranger. Mental health charity ‘MIND’ has a wealth of contact options you can try.

Connect with Nature

This week Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on nature. Sometimes we just need a space to clear our minds. A peaceful escape away from everyday life. No matter how busy you may be, make sure you take the time to venture out into nature. It can be found even in the busiest of cities and is especially helpful for those who suffer with anxiety. Now that public places are opening up more, the outside can feel a little overwhelming. But as the beer gardens fill up, natural areas are getting quieter again. So why not have a quiet escape and take in the sounds of nature. Alongside this, exercise can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing. Never underestimate the power of getting out and about. You could challenge yourself to a little run, or look out for certain animals. Anything to focus your mind elsewhere.

Remember that progress is not linear

It can be easy to beat yourself up over what you deem as failure. It can be the case that just when you think you’re doing better, something knocks you down. Keep in mind that even slow progress is still progress. You are already doing better than you think you are and that everyday, you are one step closer to feeling the best you’ve ever felt. And if you’re looking out for a friend and struggling for advice, just remind them of how great they are doing.

Find a creative outlet

Finding a creative outlet can be a great distraction, and it doesn’t have to be anything complicated. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be art you deem as “good”. If you want to take up painting but don’t think it’s your strong suit, why not try abstract art? Give yourself some freedom to create whatever you want without pressure for it to be “good”. Then as time goes on, you can slowly build up your skills without even realising. Or if art isn’t your thing, you can even take up a little gardening, whether that be planting some flowers outside, or taking care of plants inside. Having something you’re responsible for can give you something to look forward to each day. Looking out for a loved one? Invite them for a trip to the park, bring some paper and colouring pens and get the creative juices flowing.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, then Mind, the NHS and the Mental Health Foundation all have excellent resources.

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