This month of October contains a special day that celebrates a topic that has been of the utmost importance this year – October 10th is recognized by the World Health Organization as World Mental Health Awareness Day. This year, more than ever, there has been a focus on taking care of our mental health amidst the uncertainties and uneasiness of the times. This year has required us to be strong mentally on an individual level as well as collectively. It has been a momentous, chaotic year, with different people feeling the repercussions of the year on varying levels. Regardless, it is important for all of us to remember that each and every single one of us is worthy of love, care, and kindness. These three principles should be the basis of any relationship we form in our lives but for today, we are going to focus on the relationship each one of us creates with ourselves. We need to treat our minds the way we would care for the dearest of our friends.
When the pressures of the world are bearing too hard on us, we must always return to our breath. Deep breathing has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Mediate or just simply sit down in a relaxing spot in your home and focus on inhaling and exhaling intentionally. It also helps to be around nature and breathe in fresh air and be surrounded by green. Grab your dog or call your best friend and take a walk to relax. Even just going by yourself can have major benefits for your mood and overall mental health. Physical exercise or movement is also a proven mood lifter so there is hardly anything better than a nature walk to boost your spirits.
Keeping a journal is also a great way to organize your thoughts and can often be very visceral and cathartic. It’s a way to find psychological relief for yourself in a calm, drawn-out, reflexive way. This year has undoubtedly caused a lot of strong emotional reactions in a lot of us that we need to release one way or another. While there are a lot of unhealthy practices that we might naturally want to run to in order to release these emotions, such as unfairly taking it out on someone close to us, we must always try our hardest to employ healthy coping mechanisms for our own sake and for the sake of our closest relationships. Take time to think about what you are grateful for and remember to reach out to those you love and are thankful for and remind them about what they mean to you. Thoughtful, loving actions towards others are also a tool we can use to heal our own minds and hearts. Most importantly, listen to what your body needs. Our bodies are amazing machines and we need to treat them right. Rest. Breathe. Cry. Smile. Your body will tell you what you need to do and you need to let it. It will heal you if you let it be healed.