World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day: Self care

World Mental Health Day: Self care

The term mental health is used widely and commonly today. It has become a trending topic but still, we fear addressing this subject amongst our families and inner circles. As 10th October is World Mental Health Day, you’ll see more and more about this subject around you. However, what is interesting is what people and the community at large take away from this. What do we know about mental health? What do we do for our mental health? Is it just a small way of being woke? Are we liking intellectual health posts online and going back to our homes and routines without giving it a second thought?

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”

— Lori Deschene

Mental Health and Physical Health aren’t different. They are interconnected and actually influence each other. Physical health is a socially accepted topic. We discuss our family history of physical health openly talking about kidney ailments, hypertension, cancer and cardiac health in the family. Meanwhile talking about anxiety, depression, and addiction remains a taboo and a hush-hush conversation. As a result, we foster a negative image of mental health for our children and the younger generation.

Mental Health and Mental illness

Mental Health is always present just like physical health. It is a state of your mind, feelings and emotions. A person’s intellectual health may have its ups and downs and it can be both negative and positive. Mental illness is the presence of an illness or a disorder that affects your mental health. It affects a person’s functionality over a period of time and can be diagnosed by a professional. A person with mental illness may struggle with having control over their emotions.

Self-care: An integral part of Mental Health

“Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.” – Audre Lorde

To foster intellectual health, it is crucial for us to engage in self-care activities. Self-care helps us to keep checking in with ourselves and helps us to tend to those parts that need care and attention. Only, we can do this for ourselves. It not only helps intellectual health but also physical health. Self-care is nothing but taking care of your mental, physical and emotional needs. Just like an empty cup cannot water anything, we cannot do much for people around us when we ourselves are tired, exhausted and burnt out.

“Self-care is how you take your power back.” — Lalah Delia

Types of Self-care

  1. Emotional Self-care

Emotional self-care is about becoming more in tune with your emotions. It can be done by checking in your feelings and being mindful of your thought patterns. This comprises taking care of your emotional needs and includes activities that promote your emotional health like engaging in mindfulness, seeing a therapist, writing in a journal and reflecting on your thoughts, creating art or playing music etc. These are just some of the ways people can express themselves emotionally.

  1. Mental Self-care

There are some activities that help to stimulate our minds or intellect. These activities allow us to feel challenged and nourish our minds like learning a new skill, reading a book, solving a puzzle, playing a board game or visiting a museum.

  1. Social Self-care

Humans are social beings and we cannot deny the need for socialization every now and then. Post-pandemic, our social health underwent a dramatic change and we can still see the effects on both adults and children. This type of self-care may depend from person to person. Some of us are introverts and don’t need a lot of socialization while others who are extroverts may have a high need. Depending on which category you fall into, the idea is to make a connection. This connection helps to deepen and nurture relationships with people around us. This includes activities like spending time with your family and friends, reconnecting with old friends and calling up your loved ones.

  1. Physical self-care

Physical self-care is rather important to ensure the well-being of your physical health. It is essential for us to pay attention and take care of our bodies. That does not always mean vigorous exercises and can simply be eating right and just being mindful of your body. The body is our only companion that will stay with us till the very end so take care of it. Activities like yoga, walking, hiking, and joining a gym can be some ways to get it right.

  1. Spiritual self-care

When you think of spiritual self-care, it does not always mean religion. Although some people do find peace and solace in praying, spiritual self-care is basically doing something that nourishes your soul and makes you feel inner peace or satisfies your spirit. It can be anything that helps you feel purposeful and adds meaning to your life. Activities can include meditation, yoga, going to a place of worship, self-reflecting through dancing or your favourite art form or hobby, spending time in nature or doing something for others like charity, community work etc.

How take this forward?

This year WHO has announced the theme for this World Mental Health Day as “Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority”. This means it is our collective responsibility to take this movement forward. In doing so, we are not just ensuring our intellectual health but also setting the right example for the generations to come. Our children especially look up to us for everything and by talking about intellectual health openly, we are sealing their future with a promise of prioritising mental health. The pandemic has been eye-opening for a lot of us in terms of mental health and this is the right time to spread this message and adapt to a more mentally healthy lifestyle. Here is what you can do to make this world a better place for our collective mental health.

  1. Talking about mental health with your kids
  2. Checking in with your grandparents and parents
  3. Talking about your own mental health
  4. Creating awareness about mental health and mental illness
  5. Offering help to those around you
  6. Normalizing seeking help from mental health professionals
  7. Having a family mental health counsellor for your family just like a family doctor

 “Mental Health is not a destination but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you are going.”

– Noam Shpancer

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Sayee Deshpande
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