Getting ready for World Mental Health Day: 7 tips for taking care of yourself
Every year on October 10, World Mental Health Day brings together mental health professionals, people struggling with mental health challenges and all those who want to improve their well-being from around the world.
The topic of mental health is associated with social stigma and countless misconceptions. Even though people’s perception and understanding of mental health issues improves every year, there is still a lot we need to talk about.
World Mental Health Day 2021 is a great opportunity to learn about mental health or to try therapy. If you don’t know where to start, you can read more about therapy online and its benefits.
What is World Mental Health Day? A little history
World Mental Health Day was established as an annual activity in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health. There was no specific goal behind this day initially, and the main goals were to raise awareness and educate the general public about mental health issues.
At the time, there were many problems associated with the treatment of mental disorders in different countries. In France, mental health professionals struggled to secure public funds to treat patients, while in New Zealand there was a big problem with inhumane treatment.
About 971 million people around the world suffer from some kind of mental disorder, which is about 13% of the world’s population. Given the general ignorance surrounding the topic of mental health across the world, World Mental Health Day has helped raise awareness of mental health and address the stigma associated with mental health issues.
World Mental Health Day 2021: Mental health in an unequal world
Since 1996, every Mental Health Day celebration has been dedicated to a specific theme. For example, in 2003, this day was devoted to behavioral disorders in children and adolescents, and in 2010, the theme was a link between mental health and chronic physical illness.
This year, the World Federation for Mental Health decided to focus on the issue of inequalities in the context of mental health. Inequality is a systemic problem that affects the most vulnerable social groups. According to Mental Health Europe, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, women and members of the LGBTQIA + community face higher death rates and are often unable to receive adequate treatment.
The discrimination that exists at the structural level becomes an even more difficult problem due to the lack of information and the poor accessibility of mental health care. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a significant imbalance in access to mental health care.
While people with mental health issues had previously struggled to access therapy and support services, the COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse.
In addition, people from vulnerable groups often face a lack of trust within communities, which can be explained by:
- Social stigma
- Language barrier
- Financial difficulties
- And the fear of being subjected to involuntary treatment.
All of these factors translate into a tendency for marginalized groups to be less likely to seek professional help. As a result, many people with serious but preventable conditions face worsening symptoms because they don’t get treatment early.
The coronavirus pandemic has not radically changed the mental health situation, but has highlighted issues that have been present in this area for a long time, including the growing need for adequate, affordable and accessible mental health care. It is becoming evident that mental health should be considered as important as physical health.
Looking ahead to World Mental Health Day 2021, mental health organizations and authorities are focusing on the following goals:
- Guarantee equity and respect for human rights in mental health care, in particular by moving from biomedical to psychological approaches;
- Ensure that all people have access to the information they need to know how to maintain good mental health and practice self-management;
- Invest in activities that can help improve mental health literacy;
- Develop long-term strategies to deal with the consequences of the pandemic for people with mental health problems.
Since educating the general public about mental health has always been one of the key goals of World Mental Health Day, now is a great time to consider some helpful tips on self-management. mental health.
How to take care of mental health
1. Set goals
When you reach your goals, you can feel how your self-esteem is growing. No matter what you want to accomplish in your life, set clear goals and move towards them.
If you want to get promoted at work, save enough money to buy something expensive, or lose a few pounds, you need to state these goals clearly. For example, you can write them down and keep them where you can see them.
Another good practice is journaling. You can write down all of your short-term goals and daily accomplishments. Make sure your goals are specific and realistic. It’s good if you set ambitious goals for yourself, but you also need to properly assess your abilities and make sure those goals are achievable.
You should also keep in mind that all goals require that you devote enough time and effort to achieve them.
2. Develop self-compassion
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be aware of the difficulties you are having in your life and don’t let them destroy your self-esteem. For many people, it’s easier to recognize someone else’s fight than their own. Imagine talking to each other like you would your best friend.
Would you tell them that they are ugly, talentless, lazy? If they told you about their failures, would you say they will never succeed? Oddly enough, this is how many of us treat ourselves when we face challenges or fall short of our goals. Self-compassion will help you better understand your needs and reduce your stress level.
3. Get enough sleep
This is one of the most important mental health tips. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how important a good sleep is for your mental well-being, especially when you work a lot. You might not have enough time for your favorite TV show or hobby, so you might be tempted to sacrifice a few hours of sleep so you can spend that time in a more engaging way.
While such an approach may make you feel good in the short term, the lack of and poor quality sleep can have a significant negative impact on your mental and physical health. Sleep is an important mechanism that helps your brain process information and deal with the stress you have been through throughout the day.
Everyone knows that physical activity is important for physical health. However, exercise is also very beneficial for your mental health. Exercise improves your blood circulation so that your brain receives more oxygen and nutrients. Therefore, physical activity can be beneficial for your cognitive performance.
Exercise also stimulates the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, thereby improving your mood. These endorphins can also help you balance adrenaline levels, thereby reducing stress. Hit the gym, start your day with a morning jog, or try yoga. Physical activity can also help you feel a sense of accomplishment and boost your self-esteem.
5. Feel the moment
And after? What could you do better? What if? It’s easy to focus on such matters, being unable to focus on your current tasks, or just enjoying the moment. According to research, people who are constantly thinking about things that are not happening right now are less happy.
Mindfulness is not just a buzzword, but a very useful practice that can help you with various mental health issues. Simply put, mindfulness involves being present in the moment. Instead of thinking about things that have happened in the past or that have not yet happened, focus on what is happening right now.
Enjoy your cup of tea and the song that is playing on your playlist. Concentrate on your physical sensations and your surroundings. Feel the present moment and stay present instead of letting your mind wander into the unknown.
6. Eat healthy
If you want to maintain good mental health, you need to make sure that your brain is functioning well, and its functioning depends directly on the nutrients it receives. Therefore, it is important to stick to a healthy diet, ensuring that your brain is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Avoid processed foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar. Sometimes you might not have enough time to cook, but try not to make fast food a habit. Make sure your meals include enough vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you find that it is becoming more and more difficult for you to cope with stress or that you start to experience symptoms of anxiety or depression, the best solution is to speak to a counselor or licensed therapist. .
If you don’t have enough time to visit a counselor’s office or if the in-person counseling is too expensive, you can try online counseling on platforms like Calmerry. Online counseling offers flexibility, and it’s also a more affordable option.
World Mental Health Day is a great opportunity to learn more about mental health and think about your mental well-being. If your job is too stressful, you can talk to your boss about your mental health. If you are having trouble with your relationships, you can try couples counseling with your loved one.
Mental health is as important as physical health, so it deserves your attention. We hope our simple tips will help you start taking care of yourself and staying healthy, both physically and mentally.