This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. It’s a good opportunity to take a moment to reflect on how you might be able to nurture your wellbeing.
Here are some simple self-care steps you can take, to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself.
1. Discover your values and make choices based on them.
What do you value most in life? Relationships? Health? Success? Growth? Are you making choices based on these values in your everyday life? Research shows that if your choices and goals are aligned with your values, you are more likely to feel fulfilled, have a meaningful life and achieve your goals.
2. Connect with people who bring the best out in you.
We can’t always choose who we have to spend time with, however when we can it’s important to spend quality time with people who bring the best out in you. People who are on the same page, who encourage and celebrate you. People who lift you up and accept you for who you are without conditions. These are the people you should choose to have deep, present conversations with.
3. Carve out time for things that bring you joy.
If you’re feeling flat or depleted, have a think about when you last carved out 20 minutes to do something that brings you joy. A walk along the water’s edge, doing something creative or even having a coffee with a dear friend. When we take the time to reward ourselves with actions that we love the most, it stimulates the reward centre of the brain, increasing those feel good hormones.
4. Be kind to yourself.
This one can be tricky. The inner critic can be deafening sometimes and as a result, can stop you from doing the things that you would really like to do. When it shows up, try to challenge the negativity with kindness. Acknowledge and accept that you’re not perfect (no one is!), focus on the positive aspects within you and do something aligned with your values that makes you feel good. Self-compassion is so important.
5. Find out how your workplace can support you.
Many workplaces have access to Employee Assistance Programs who provide free and confidential counselling sessions. They are usually external to the workplace and can be accessed without being disclosed to your employer. Broaching the topic of mental health issues with employers can be daunting, however if you lead with openness and proactivity, you may be surprised by how much your workplace can do to support you. Beginning a conversation with ‘I’m facing some personal challenges at the moment that I could use some support with’, or ‘I want to flourish in my role, however these aspects are holding me back’ can be useful ways to start the discussion. Then following on with proactive solution focused language, will empower both you and your employer to navigate through the challenges.
6. Reach out for help with a professional if you are struggling
Sometimes life is just too much and no matter what steps we take to overcome those emotional challenges, nothing seems to make a difference. If your anxiety is preventing you from doing the things you love, if your sadness is clouding your every waking moment, or if you’re experiencing hopelessness, reach out. Just like we need a doctor if we’re sick or injured, we need a mental health professional if we’re struggling to cope.
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