So October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which according to the World Health Organization, has the overall goal of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and jump starting efforts in support of mental health. In honor of that, I wanted to share some thoughts about how we each can take small steps to take care of ourselves each day.
Why am I highlighting about mental health?
Number one- as a Social Worker, it is important to me to advocate for more awareness on the importance of mental health practices and support those who have mental health struggles;
Number two- in the black community it is still taboo to discuss mental health issues-especially seeking out formalized support-the trust of mental health professionals is still not fully there-that’s probably because there are still not enough mental health professionals who look like us and we feel comfortable disclosing very personal and sometimes scary feelings and thoughts we have (another subject for another time);
Number three-it is important for all of us to take care of ourselves not just in the physical sense, but mentally as well; we cannot neglect the mind as it is part of the body;
Many of us lead busy lives, but giving five minutes to as we say in Social Work: practice self-care can really make a difference. I know for myself, I deal with some heavy stuff in my research (my research interests focuses on trauma and community violence in black neighborhoods, specifically homicides), so sometimes I have to take a step back so that I can continue to do the work and not #burnout.
Hopefully after reading through these tips, you can latch on to one of these activities and make it a part of your daily self-care routine. So here are some ways that you can put yourself first:
- Start a compliments journal. Write down all the great things that people say about you and read them later.
- Practice meditation. I know you have probably heard this before, but it really does help. You can simply take five minutes and listen to calming music in the background, or your favorite song like I do, and just focus on your breathing and listen to your body. There are plenty of free meditation programs out there, I have included one that you can try from Headspace here.
- Three stands for three breaths! Take three intentional deep breaths five times a day.
- Take a quick nap. Even a ten to twenty-minute nap can re-charge your body and mind for the day.
- Try a pillow spray. Spraying your pillow or sheets with a calming spray can help you get a good nights rest. I am all for affordable, so here is an option by Mrs. Meyer’s, it’s a lavender spray that can be calming and help you get to sleep and stay asleep.
- Don’t live on social media. I am guilty of it myself and taking a break from social media (even if it is only 30 minutes for a day), can be a good way to decompress.
- Find five minutes to “play”. Yes adults can play too. Whether this is indulging in a novel you have been wanting to finish, or doing some sheets in an adult coloring book, find something that will stimulate your mind that is not work or school related.
- Educate yourself. Take the time to learn about something new.
- Pamper yourself. Why not? This can look many different ways for different people. You could take a hot bath or give yourself a facial or watch a re-run episode of your favorite tv show.
- Try something new. There is nothing wrong with doing something you have never done before. Take the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone.
I hope that these tips can help you and there are plenty more out there if none of these work for you. Remember to put you first and that mental health is a part of our overall health.
*I do not own the rights to photos used in this post.