Mental Health Awareness Week – 15th – 21st May
Mental Health is such a buzz word at the moment and rightfully so, because for years, it has never been taken seriously. In fact, there was a massive stigma around poor mental health for a long time. There still is to some extent, however, due to re-educating people on what mental health actually is, there has been a generational shift in attitudes towards the topic.
Weeks like ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ encourage everyone to reflect on their own mental health and wellbeing. This annual event is organised by a charity called the Mental Health Foundation. It aims to promote the message of good mental health for everyone. Every year, there is a theme to focus on and this year’s is ‘anxiety’. The word ‘anxiety’ is banded around all too often. Feeling a bit worried about something can often be exaggerated as anxiety. The Mental Health Foundation says that anxiety is ‘an emotion which is normal for all of us, however, sometimes it can get out of control and this is when it becomes a mental health problem.’ The charity continues to define anxiety as…’An emotion that can affect everyone. Anxiety can make you feel tense or nervous. You may find it hard to relax, feel tearful or have problems sleeping and concentrating. Friends or family might notice you are more irritable than usual, or more withdrawn. As a contrast, you may seem fine on the outside but feel panicky inside. Some people are better at hiding their anxiety than others.’
Moreover, the Mental Health Foundation recently conducted a survey and found that 25% of adults said they have felt so anxious at some point in their lives that it stopped them from doing the things they wanted to do – all or some of the time. The organisation hopes to encourage the message that ‘anxiety can be made easier to manage’. Their tips for how to cope with feelings of anxiety include:
- Spending time in nature
- Getting quality sleep or rest
- Talking to someone about how you feel
- Doing some exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Keeping a diary of your emotions
- Using breathing techniques
- Creating a self-care calendar
Amazingly, seventy runners recently raised more than £130,000 for the charity at the 2023 London Marathon. A sponsored skydive is another fundraising event scheduled in the near future to raise funds for the organisation. However, you don’t have to jump out of a plane or run twenty-six miles to show your support for Mental Health Awareness Week. You can simply wear something green – green clothes, green socks or just the charity’s green ribbon pin badges. ‘Green’ is such an important colour for the charity as they place so much emphasis on getting out into nature as a superb self-care tip. Scientists have found that being in the great outdoors can naturally boost our ‘happy hormones’. With summer on the way, lighter nights and warmer weather, it is even easier to spend time in nature. This week is a great opportunity to get outside, connect with a friend and talk to one another about how you feel.