Mental Health Awareness Week: What Have We Learned?

A couple of weeks ago, it was Mental Health Awareness week where celebrities and charities came together to try and break down the stigma of mental health. It is a shame, in a way, that we need specific weeks to highlight this as the stigma should be well and truly broken by now. Suicide amongst young people is on the rise, depression and anxiety seem to be becoming more prevalent as social media usage increases, and people continue to lead busier and busier lives without taking the time to reflect and take some time out. It’s vital that we learn to talk about our mental health more and focus on our well being. By taking some time out of your busy schedule, you can improve your mental health.

Get Outdoors
While you might not want to go full on tree hugging, spending time outdoors is great for releasing the happy hormone dopamine, and getting your body clock back into a decent rhythm. If you've been burning the candle at both ends, heading outside for some fresh air will do your brain the world of good. Head to the local park for a picnic with friends, just take a short stroll around the block, or make it your mission to spend at least twenty minutes of every working day outside when taking your breaks. Having an overbearing boss and working ten hour days can be stressful. While heading outside won’t make your anxieties disappear, it can help you reflect, clarify your thoughts and think about something else for a short while. This lowers your blood pressure, gets you away from your desk, and allows you some space outside of the office.

Do Something For You
Being stuck in some sort of rut is tough. It might be financial, it might be at work, it might be in the home, or it might be the monotony of every day that has you feeling low. During mental health week, there were lots of TV shows and public initiatives that advocated the idea of doing something just for you, and being a little bit selfish. Many people dedicate their lives to their kids, their parents or their pets, only to lose themselves and their identity. Do something for you. You might want to head to the salon for a new hairstyle. You might fancy browsing and getting some new lingerie to boost your self esteem. Or perhaps you want to head to the gym, and start working out again. Whatever it is, find the time and do it. Anything that boosts your confidence is good for your mental health.

Mental Health Awareness Week by has shown us that there is still a need to break down the barriers surrounding our mental well being. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and society is slowly getting their heads around this notion. While we might need a few more Mental Health Awareness Weeks, the stigma is slowly breaking down, meaning people feel freer to talk about their problems, unburdening themselves and making them feel less isolated.

Positive mental health begins with you. Be proactive, get yourself out of the rut, focus on your needs and confidence, and get outdoors to enhance your mental well being.

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