On Thursday 2nd February, ‘Time to Talk Day 2023’ is taking place in order to raise awareness about mental health. It is an event designed to get people talking about how they feel in an effort to improve wellbeing. This initiative is something close to our hearts being a business that sells baby products. We come into contact with a lot of Mums and being a Mum can have a significant impact on your mental health. We design our sheepskins with the needs of Mum and baby in mind and we aim to lighten the load, in some small way, by providing quality first products.
The mental health charities ‘Mind’ and ‘Rethink Mental Illness’ are running the awareness day in partnership with the Co-op. The aim is to get people to be more transparent about their mental health. The saying, “A problem shared, is a problem halved” has been around for a long time – and by talking and listening, lives can be changed – and saved.
One in four people struggle with mental health problems at some point in their lives. For some of those people, isolation and being unable to speak about their mental health problems only adds to their distress. Feeling ashamed or thinking ‘no one will understand me’ are big factors as to why people don’t speak out. Tragically, there is still a stigma around having mental health problems. Even in 2023, many people with mental health problems fear talking about their struggles because they believe ‘everyone will think I am crazy.’
Consequently, the mission of ‘Time to Talk Day 2023’ is to change this and to challenge these views. The founders of the day believe that every single person on this planet should be more open about the topic of mental health.
So, what exactly is ‘mental health’? Basically, mental health is all about feelings – our thoughts and our emotions. Psychological, emotional and social wellbeing form the foundations of the term ‘mental health.’ You are considered to have good mental health if you can enjoy life, function well and cope with challenges along the way.
Recently, in October 2022, a survey was undertaken which showed that in the past financial year, 13,263 people in the UK were recorded as being absent from work due to some kind of mental illness. The year before, it was 8,450 people – so this shows a significant jump. Experts argue that this is due to the after-effects of Covid. Consequently, mental illness not only affects the individual but long-term absences from work, also affect work communities/workforce. The effects are far-reaching and clearly, education on the topic of mental health is needed.
This Time to Talk Day 2023 is a fantastic chance for us all to learn more about mental health. By lessening the stigma, those struggling will feel more encouraged to come forward. We all need support at times – there is no shame in saying ‘I need help.’ If we demonstrate good practice of listening to how people feel and talking about our own feelings, then it will be easier for those people who are facing challenges to shout out.
You may be reading this thinking, “How can I get involved in Time to Talk Day?” Here are some suggestions:
- Take the time to have a proper conversation with a friend, family member, colleague or neighbour. Simply ask them how they are but really pay attention to what they say. By allowing someone the chance to express themselves freely and be present by just listening can really help. Be a supportive ear.
- If you are struggling with your own mental health – don’t be afraid to speak out. Time to Talk Day 2023 is the perfect time to begin a dialogue about your own mental health. Choose someone you trust, or a trained mental health professional at a charity, like Mind or the Samaritans for example. You could also contact your own GP Practice and ask to make an appointment with your GP on the NHS.
- If you are a Mum or Dad and your children can articulate their emotions, why not take a moment one night to ask them some questions about how they are feeling. Do you children have any questions about wellbeing – their wellbeing or even someone else’s? Can they suggest any ideas of their own for how to take care of themselves? Children can be really quite insightful as they tend to see the world in more literal terms than adults. Taking the time to find out how they are feeling after the return to school post-Christmas can be very useful. Let them know, it’s OK to feel a bit blue at the start of the year.
- If you are looking to do something a little bit more – you could volunteer or donate to a mental health charity – if you have the time/resources to do so. Fundraisers are also a great way of getting behind an event. There may be some running in your area for Time to Talk Day 2023 – so inquire and find out.
As a Mum and Baby business, we take a big interest in infant health. Check out the section on our website all about the ‘Health Benefits of Sheepskin’ (link below).
Additionally, our top tips for looking after your own mental health are:
- Getting enough sleep is an absolute must. Bad sleep has so many knock-on effects in all aspects of life. Energy is needed for our bodies to feel good but also our minds. By prioritising sleep and reducing screen-time before bed, combined with having a set bed time, are essential. We are not machines – we cannot keep going in a healthy fashion with little sleep. Practising a good sleep routine is so important.
- Find some time for Self-Care. You may think that looking after yourself is a luxury but it is actually a necessity! We need to feel good to be able to function successfully. Rest and relaxation are so important in order to rejuvenate ourselves and boost our energy stores. People relax in a variety of different ways but here are some ideas:
- Listen to music
- Watch an uplifting film
- Go for a walk
- Take a bath
- Have a massage
- Write a diary or a journal
- Practise meditation
- Read a feel-good book
- Drink lots of water and eat healthily. By nourishing your body, you also nourish your mind. Plenty of fluid is essential for keeping hydrated – even your brain starts to shrink if you don’t provide it with enough water. So, keeping your water bottle topped up at work is very important to keep energy levels high throughout the day.
- Listening to your body helps you connect with yourself on a deeper level. Rest if you feel tired. Have a boogie if you can’t sit still. Don’t deny yourself what you need. Most importantly, be kind to yourself and learn to take care of your needs.
- Finally, connection is so vital. There is always someone out there to help you – isolating yourself can make mental health issues worse. Seek out your loved ones when you need them and arrange to spend time with others in order to talk and reflect.
Poor mental health can be incredibly debilitating. If we had a broken leg, we would get it seen to. Having a problem with your mind is no different – it needs attention. So, Happy Time to Talk Day 2023 – get nattering, sharing and listening. Arrange that playdate and catch up with a friend and their little one! The act of talking benefits those doing the talking and those listening. With modern technology these days, there really is no excuse – use your mobile to make a call or get on Skype/Zoom/Teams and connect with someone. Connection is the key!