TOMORROW is World Mental Health Day, and a good opportunity to reflect and make promises to ourselves about our own well-being.
One in five Australians will experience mental health challenges this year and almost half of us during our lifetimes, so the Mental Health Council of Australia is asking every Australian to do just that.
Make a promise. Short, achievable and meaningful. If you can’t think of one, jump on the organisation’s website and take a look at a few on the promise wall – they’re simple and realistic.
Be gentler to myself; use exercise and gardening to release stress; give to others; be open and hear people’s stories without judgement; help my daughter love herself for who she is and raise her self-esteem….. there are many, and simple ways put forward by others to help them remain mentally healthy.
We now juggle so many balls in the air – work, children, housework, giving to community, that we rarely take time out for ourselves. We all haves times that are a bit more challenging than others, and it’s okay to have those periods – as long as we don’t let them impact too much on our long-term well-being.
And really, it’s about choices.
Mostly, those choices relate to how we interact with others. Don't surround yourself with people who drain your energy or place little value on you. This applies for women in particular.
Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes professor of Women's Health at Monash University, correctly states that "We are great at looking after everyone else in our lives, but often put ourselves last''.
"We forget that for us to be able to keep giving to others, we not only have to look after ourselves, but we need to allow others to give to us, too.''
Jean Hailes for Women’s Health this week released some tips on helping women to reflect and recharge. They are:
Slow down: full days mean you find it difficult to relax.
Practice mindfulness: we are caught up in the doing, rather than just being. Be in the moment.
Set limits: buy time before you say yes to something new. You can’t always say yes.
Plan: this helps structure daily life and helps you set aside time for little things and plan big picture things.
Prioritise: does it need to be done today?
Make a choice to make time for you: it is important to do things that help you to feel re-energised or satisfied.
Reflect on how you feel: being busy means we avoid thinking about feelings, positive and negative. Reflect and understand why you feel that way.
Do something you are passionate about: you may not be able to change your work or personal difficulties, but doing something you are passionate about can help.
Connect with others: friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours.
And don't forget to make that promise.
An opportunity to reflect and make promises ... about our well-being.