Almost every week when we open our calendars or scan the news, we are bombarded with important days to recognize or months to observe. For instance, there are important ones such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October, which aims to raise awareness of the horrific disease and to encourage early detection.
There are also lesser known days to recognize like ‘Fruitcake Toss Day’, which is on January 3rd, encouraging people to toss out those holiday treats!
While some days, or months, are obviously of great significance (i.e., Breast Cancer Awareness Month), others don’t make it to our google calendars. However, there is one day that is not to be missed: World Mental Health Day.
According to the World Health Organization, the objective of today is to, “raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.” So what can you do about it?
5 Things to do on World Mental Health Day:
Talk about it. There is no shame in seeking help, or struggling. In fact, we know it's one of the bravest things you can do. We believe in you.
Prioritize your mental health. Oftentimes it is really easy to talk about physical health, or diets. In fact, it's everywhere. Literally. Think of food labels. Each item we make a purchase in the grocery store, we can read the risks and benefits of what we consume.
We don’t get that for mental health. For example, your cell phone. We don’t get a warning that screen time before bed can negatively impact your sleep, which then can lessen your mood. We often don’t get a warning that we are about to witness a horrific event that could trigger us… It's up to us to us to know ourselves.
Meditate. Our bodies do a great job of surviving; that's what they built for. As a result, it can be really easy to not be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions… we tend to bury them. One way to increase your self-awareness is to spend 30 seconds a day focusing on your breathing.
Get help. We happen to be partial to group therapy :) However, there are ample resources online. Check out Oprah’s suggestions 13 free mental health resources.
Shift your perspective. Today is about humanity. The collective. One way we develop more empathy is to realize how we all struggle with mental health issues. While we want to acknowledge the struggle, we also know that we can rise together as well.
Make today a great day, be vulnerable, be strong.
Garrett Shotwell, MSW, LCSW