Did you know that October is Mental Health Month? And across the globe, we recognise World Mental Health Day on 10 October.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. With a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, raising awareness about the importance of looking after your mental health has never been more vital.
Closer to home, Mental Health First Aid found that 1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness each year. Mental Health Australia released the “Look after your mental health, Australia” campaign, encouraging people to take care of themselves and others who may be struggling.
As a working parent, the quote, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, resonates strongly with me and helps me to focus on looking after myself so I can be the best version of me for my family… When we make a point to nurture ourselves, we can care for others in a more meaningful and compassionate way, too – it’s a domino effect.
At Workplace Wizards we recommend returning to and focusing on the basics to optimise both your physical and mental health…
Try to get some movement in this Spring! Exercise, at any level, is fantastic for your body and mind… and don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be an intensive gym work out for it to be effective! You can even fit small exercises in at work – taking a quick walk around the block during lunch, standing out in your backyard (if you’re working from home) or getting up and doing stretches at your desk; these can all provide the benefits of exercise and will give you a chance to step back and energise while at work.
NUTRITION & HYDRATION
According to smartnesshealth.com, the benefits of nutrition go far beyond losing weight. Good nutrition can help to reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis, reduce high blood pressure, improve your well-being, lower high cholesterol, improve your ability to fight off illness and recover from illness or injury, and increase your energy levels!
Further, in the hustle and bustle of work it can be easy to forget to drink enough water… or, if you’re like me, sometimes you’ll forget to drink water at all! Proper hydration – beyond being healthy – can really help to maximise your productivity and energy levels and can bolster your alertness, awareness and ability to perform at your best!
When you’re juggling a lot of responsibilities and deadlines, sleep time is often a common go-to source for ‘extra’ time, and it can seem like an enticing short–term solution…. However, a lack of proper sleep can have a myriad of poor effects on your physical & mental health, your mood and productivity. Aim for at least 7-8 hours per night… and go easy on the coffee!
Mindfulness is the practice of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment. By practicing mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, and increase focus and positive emotions.
PLAY & GRATITUDE
According to Headspace.com, many of us lose our sense of fun and play as we grow older, but it can be freeing and even connected to improving your physical health. Research also shows that laughing is linked to reduced stress, tension, and anxiety, suggesting that it’s a valid form of self-care all on its own.
By practicing gratitude – or being thankful and appreciative of what we have – we can experience positive physical and emotional benefits. When you practice gratitude, you feel grateful for something or someone in your life and respond with feelings of kindness, warmth, and other forms of generosity.
Speak to your friends, family, colleagues if there is anything that is weighing you down. Be it small or big, a problem shared is a problem halved. Your network can provide support that you never knew you needed to alleviate the burden that you may be experiencing. If you wish to speak to someone more anonymously, reach out in confidence to your employer counsellor/psychologist or to any of the free helplines run in Australia, shared below.