World Mental Health Day 2023 is an opportunity to talk about mental health, show everyone that mental health matters, and let people know that it’s okay to ask for help. This year’s theme reminds us that ‘mental health is a universal human right,’ as we continue to work towards a world that promotes and protects mental health for all.
Over the past few years, we have seen some major global upheavals that have touched every aspect of our lives. From the shockwaves of the pandemic, to the rising cost-of-living and crises overseas, it is no surprise that people feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed. Additionally, many of us in education are struggling with high workload, staff shortages, funding pressures, and other challenges that face the sector.
In the midst of all this chaos, it is more important than ever to prioritise our mental health. In today’s blog, we share effective strategies to help build your resilience and protect your wellbeing, charting the course towards a healthier, happier state of mind.
Eating well is the cornerstone of healthy living, both physically and mentally. It ensures that your body has the nutrients it needs to stay healthy, manage stress, and maintain a state of calm.
However, we know that healthy eating takes time and effort, so it can be a difficult task for busy professionals to fit into their schedules. With this in mind, try to prepare your meals ahead of time – a few hours spent cooking on the weekend can save you a lot of stress throughout the week!
Also remember to stock your cupboards with healthy snacks for whenever you feel peckish and try to avoid stimulants such as caffeine, fizzy drinks and alcohol. Some of the best foods that can sustain your energy over time include bananas, porridge, avocados and Greek yoghurt. But there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a treat every now and again, so if you’re really craving that chocolate bar – go for it!
Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Exercise has many benefits to offer, from boosting mood and increasing energy levels, to protecting brain health and reducing risk of disease.
Of course, going to the gym isn’t for everyone, but there are lots of ways you can incorporate fitness into your routine. Try joining a zumba class or a football team with friends. Or, if you’re not feeling sociable, there are lots of home workouts you can follow online!
Everyone has different starting points – so don’t worry if you can’t run a 5K just yet. Try not to compare yourself to others. Instead, set attainable goals for yourself and enjoy the fitness journey. Whether it’s by walking to the shops or taking the stairs, every small step can make a world of difference.
There’s nothing like the great outdoors to improve our mood and sense of wellbeing. Research shows that getting out into nature helps both our minds and bodies relax, especially if we’re used to spending our time in an urban environment or a busy workplace.
When we’re outdoors, we’re also likely to take more steps as we explore our surroundings. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities for fun activities, such as kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. In this way, getting outdoors helps to improve our physical fitness too.
Whether it’s a fifteen-minute walk around the park or a two-hour trek on the weekend, make sure you spend some time outdoors, soaking in the sunlight and breathing in the fresh air. We might be heading into winter, but don’t let the British weather hold you back – simply put your wellies on and wrap up warm!
Ever find yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media for hours on end? Don’t worry, it’s not your fault – many of these websites are designed to be addictive. That’s why it’s a good idea to set boundaries and switch off our devices at certain times throughout the day.
We know it’s fun to distract ourselves with dog videos and dance challenges, but spending too much time online can take a toll on our mental health. Whether it’s by comparing ourselves to others or reading too much negative news, excessive internet use can often trigger feelings of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
Set a limit on your screen time each day. Try not to look at your devices during meals and leave them downstairs when you go to bed. Alternatively, turn off your notifications so that you’re not tempted to use them. And remember that social media is no replacement for face-to-face interaction, so make the time to connect with your loved ones in-person!
When you’re used to putting other people first, sometimes it can feel selfish to take time for yourself. But no one can pour from an empty cup. In order to take care of others, you have to start by taking care of yourself.
Self-care is about showing kindness to ourselves, the same way we would to other people. By meeting our own needs, we can ensure we have the strength, energy, and optimism to continue supporting others and be the best version of ourselves.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to self-care. Whilst lighting candles, playing music, and enjoying a bubble bath might work for some of us, others might prefer baking, gardening, or getting creative with arts and crafts. Find whatever works for you and make it a part of your daily routine.
Talk it out
Finally, if you find yourself struggling with mental health, then find the time to talk to someone you can trust. Whether it’s family, friends, colleagues, or a professional, sharing your thoughts and feelings with others can help to foster a sense of empathy, comfort and understanding.
More than likely, the people around you will want to help. They can offer advice, emotional support, and alternative viewpoints to help you navigate the challenges you face. If necessary, they can also help you gain access to professional support.
We know that opening up can be the hardest part. But everyone struggles with their wellbeing from time to time, so don’t be afraid to talk about it.
One Education is proud to work with many schools and academy trusts to make staff wellbeing a priority in their settings.
If you would like support with building a culture of care in your community, please get in touch with our HR team to find out more about our Wellbeing Package.
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