It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme this year is anxiety.
Anxiety is something we can all experience from time to time. Lots of things can lead to feelings of anxiety, including money worries, relationships, social situations, how we feel about ourselves, or a big change in our lives.
If we don’t know how to recognise and cope with our feelings of anxiety, they can get out of control and stop us from doing the things we need or want to do. The more often and the longer we feel anxious, the more it can become a problem.
Your mental health matters – regardless of what week it is – but in this busy world, looking after ourselves and focusing on our wellbeing often falls to the bottom of our to-do list.
So this Mental Health Awareness Week, try to find some time for a spot of self-care and do something that brings you joy or offers a moment’s calm in a full on day.
Get active – go for a head clearing solo run, or join us for one of our chatty social runs on Wednesdays or Sundays
Relax – have a soak in the tub, read your book, do some knitting – whatever works for you
Get your zen on – try a spot of yoga or meditation
Rest up – grab a cuppa and put your feet up for five minutes, or try to go to bed a bit earlier if you can
Spend time in nature – walk in the woods, stroll along the river, or go for a quick walk on your lunch break to squeeze in those greens and blues
Just breathe – If you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’re struggling to make time for you, do this one simple thing: Stop for a few moments, wherever you are, and try the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Close your mouth and quietly breathe in through your nose, counting to four in your head. Hold your breath and count to seven. Breathe out through your mouth, making a whoosh sound while counting to eight. Repeat three more times for a total of four breath cycles.
Doing something to make yourself feel good or to relax is the obvious starting point when it comes to self-care, right? But what if we think about self-care more broadly?
What if we shift our idea of self-care to include giving ourselves permission to acknowledge and validate difficult feelings, to say ‘no’ more often, or to speak to safe people so we don’t have to face challenges alone.
We know that sometimes awareness isn’t enough, finding ways to support your own wellbeing isn’t enough.
But whatever you’re going through, however you’re feeling, you’re not alone.
If you’re needing a little support, reach out to a friend or family member. Or if you’d rather talk to someone neutral, there are lots of organisations who can help:
Mind: 0300 123 3393 (9am-6pm weekdays)
Samaritans: 116 123 (always open)
Campaign Against Living Miserably: 0800 58 58 58 (5pm-midnight)
CALL: 0800 132 737 (Wales only, always open)
The Mix: 0808 808 4994 (For under 25s, 4pm-11pm)
Or for immediate support and access to therapy, you can contact our brilliant charity partners bigmoose