Many of you would know we’ve just had World Mental Health Day recently and October has been set aside as a month where Mental Health matters!
What better way to have a fresh reminder and to do a retake on what’s important currently? Global issues with Covid-19 still affect us all in varying levels or ways. However, a big thing remains prominent……that we all face challenges fighting isolation and remaining connected.
It’s important to have some strong yet simple strategies in place that help us deal with what can still be an onslaught of many emotions during this time.
We thought we would highlight what we feel are simple but key strategies to apply. These have been developed by Dr Danny Cheah, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and head of youth mental health services at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne Victoria.
1) The first is to actually….Stop….and do that retake! Take time out to pause and tune out to the problems that may surround us even if it’s just 10 minutes to focus on your breathing or listen to some music that you love or something you know really relaxes you!
2) This brings us onto Dr Cheah’s second tip…yep, say it again…..Relaaaaax! Just like taking that deep breath or listening to that music that you love, you’re engaging those amazing smell and sound senses. Along with sight, touch and taste these are 5 of our amazing senses that can be engaged to deal with managing stress and anxiety. Soaking in a warm bath takes on a whole new meaning hey? Don’t forget that laughing is good medicine too. So find or do something that makes you really laugh…….even those deep belly ones or those that make you cry laughs !! It causes amazing changes to our brain chemistry and gives us a natural high, just remember those pelvic floor exercises when you need of course! Simple self-care steps that go a long way to helping us feel better!
3) Speaking of the…..Feels…… is the next important strategy! It’s really healthy according to Dr Cheah to acknowledge the different feelings that you may have. Naming your feelings such as fear, sadness or anger and even talking with a trusted friend can help you get things out and process these important feels.
4) Routine, routine and routine! Though some of us genuinely don’t like to have them, these sticklers for things that are regular and consistent are also really healthy for us….and Dr Cheah is not just referring to the structure of work or study. It includes those productive things but also those enjoyable activities like your hobbies. Sleep and exercise are proven to be really important parts of our routines too….even those nanna naps when we need them!
5) Some things have really exploded in upon our lives like we’ve never ……ever…. experienced before this year! We’ve all been continuing to reach for ways to cope or manage ………..with some of these maybe not so good!! It’s good to keep that focus on what we can control with all the above! Tune out when we need and know this is just like one of the 4 weather seasons that will pass. Holding onto hope for the future and seeing this time as an opportunity to learn as much as we can, about yourself and others, really helps! Keeping grounded on the now holds us in good stead for our future…..
6) Keeping it real by staying in touch with friends and family is so important. Even if it’s still virtually or with social distancing measures in place. Being creative in this connection is a must. We were built to be connected. Feeling love or care and giving back the same……..it’s what makes us thrive and be human. So, make every effort to keep connected consistently with those important networks that provide some level of goodness, as well as help you feel especially safe and secure during these times!
7) Giving back is one of those profound universe big picture principles that really does help get our eyes away from any of our own problems and know that others may need some care through a listening ear or some practical help. Channeling our energies into helping others at times is another healthy perspective changer that does wonders to assist us learn and even heal ourselves for the better.
If you or someone you know is struggling now, then reaching out for some support is the best thing you can do.
If talking with friends or family is not easy then see below for some trusted help from reputable Mental Health Organisations