World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 and, this year, it comes at a very significant time in our history. With everything going on in the world, many people are experiencing heightened levels of anxiety. When so much in life feels uncertain, it’s essential that our mental wellness be a priority. I know firsthand how easy it can be to let focus slide, but I’m hopeful this special day will be a reminder that your mental health is deserving of your attention, now more than ever.
Mental health is something so many of us aspire to achieve each and every day. Although it should never be considered a fad, it’s wonderful that we have an entire day dedicated to collectively celebrating and raising awareness around the importance of mental health all across the world. Yes, we have been put to the test, and challenged in more ways than one over the past several months, but that means now is the time to take ownership of our own mental health and well-being.
There is never a wrong time to make positive change in your life and World Mental Health Day feels like an ideal time to get started! I’m sharing a few things you can begin doing this weekend as you launch your personal journey towards mental wellness.
3 Ways You Can Begin Prioritizing Your Mental Health
Be Mindful: Learn to recognize what your body and your mind are telling you. Our minds and bodies will always tell us when “they” are not happy. Building up mindfulness is a great technique to help you stay in tune with how you are feeling both physically and emotionally. Stress and anxiety will manifest itself differently in every individual. If we aren’t able to recognize the signals that our bodies and minds are sending up as a result of stress, we are more likely to throw ourselves into exhaustion, become overwhelmed, and even burnout.
Identify Your Support and Coping Mechanisms. Who or what is it that helps to relieve stress and anxiety in your life. Again, this will look different for everyone. Some may turn to hobbies, or fun pastimes, whereas others may turn to fitness or exercise. It is important to identify healthy coping skills vs. unhealthy coping skills while you are in this discovery process to be sure that you are choosing activities that are actually good for you vs. activities that serve as a tool for you to suppress or escape emotional experiences.
Shift Into Gear. It’s one thing to understand the need for prioritizing mental health and another to take action. I’ve shared some ideas here but there’s no one single path to mental wellness. Approach the process proactively, identifying what works best for you and then make those things happen. The follow-through is generally the most difficult part and, if you find that you can’t make it happen on your own, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Professionals are there to support you through the journey, one actionable step at a time.
If you’re struggling, need more information, or would like to speak to a therapist in your area, please visit my resources page here or reference the sites listed below.
National Institute of Mental Health