It’s Monday, we’ve all seen the dreaded memes and TikToks about what Monday represents.
It’s also World Mental Health Day – social media may be flooded with influencers, organisations and posts promoting better mental health practices. Take it all in as you embrace in your own way this year’s theme: Make mental health & well-being for all a global priority.
As you prepare yourself with your favourite songs to kick out the Monday blues (sidenote: Rygin King’s Broken = Monday Motivation), we’ve curated some tips on how to stay focused during the week and take care of YOU in the same breath. To set the pace we have defined for you what mental health is and how it affects your day-to-day activities.
What is mental health?
Mental health is generally defined as a state of well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realise their abilities, learn, work well, and contribute to their community. It is an integral component of health and wellness that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. Everyone has mental health, and mental well-being is a basic human right that is crucial to personal, community and socio-economic development.
We’ve partnered with the communications team at the Jamaica Mental Health Advocacy Network (JaMHAN) to bring you a series of helpful tips in honour of World Mental Health Week. Starting today (through to Saturday), we’ll share simple, practical self-care tips you can incorporate into your life to improve your mental health, starting with this very important daily practice.
Practice checking in with yourself at least once. Most of us have activities that consume us throughout the day, whether you’re a labourer working for “the big man”, a housewife, an entrepreneur, content creator, student or someone focused on living the “soft life”.
In this digital age, our brains are working overtime to collect all the information happening around us, so it’s highly important that we check-in on ourselves.
These one-minute breaks can occur at multiple times of the day, during your lunch break or even while moving from one task to the next. This moment of self awareness gives you the chance to ask yourself, How am I really doing today?
Use your minute to “catch up” with yourself.
While going through the exercise, ask yourself the following questions:
-How am I feeling right now?
-Do I need anything?
If you do, meet that need. For example, are you thirsty? Drink water.
Are you feeling lonely? Call someone (eg. an accountability partner- not your ex)
Are you having an off day? Play your favourite song from childhood or high school.
Asking these simple, engaging questions gives you a moment to assess if you've been taking care of yourself throughout the day. Once we have the answers to these questions, we find our bodies responding in a more positive way. Especially as sometimes our physical ailments are linked to our mental challenges.
If you are able to identify these issues sooner, you are already on the path to better health.
Close your eyes and take a breather
After assessing what you need, close your eyes and take deep breaths to really tap into how you feel. Get in a comfortable position and with your eyes closed, take deep breaths. While inhaling, pay attention to the current state of your body.
Are you tense in your shoulders? Lower them.
What about your abdomen? It should be contracting on the exhale and expanding while you inhale.
How are your toes? Are they relaxed or are they bent? Release them.
Try this breathing exercise after a long day to feel more balanced.