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World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2020

World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2020

World Mental Health Day 2020 - Educating and Reducing the Stigma

World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is Saturday 10th October, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The global pandemic has had a huge impact on both physical health and emotional wellbeing. The direct impact of Covid-19 has caused heightened anxiety worldwide with social isolation, school uncertainty and new restrictions; which means the structure of daily life has been interrupted for everyone. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) are using WMHD 2020 to campaign for a greater investment in mental health support across the globe. However, the discussion about mental health has to start at home. So during this confusing time, it’s crucial that we ask ourselves - how can we best support our family’s mental health as well as our own? 

At Spark, we highlight the importance of taking a whole family approach to wellbeing. This means taking care of our minds AND our bodies of those in our family! We all know that it’s important to eat healthy food and get plenty of exercise but it’s also vital that we are taking care of our mental health. For this reason, we make sure to spend time teaching young people and families about Mindfulness. 

Mindfulness is the practice of being totally present and fully engaged in the moment. When we feel stressed or low, it’s easy to spend a lot of time stuck in our heads, either worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Our busy modern lives are filled with constant distractions and our social media culture means that it’s completely impossible to go a whole day (maybe even a whole week, month or year!) without stopping to check in with how we are feeling.

Studies show that mindfulness can boost mood, increase focus & lessen the symptoms of anxiety and depression. So for this WMHD, let’s look at 5 simple things we can do to be more mindful at home...

5 Ways to be More Mindful


1. Guided Meditation

  • Download the Headspace app to access free guided meditations.

  • By taking 10 minutes every day to be still, check in with the body & focus on the flow of the breath - we enable ourselves to break the cycle of negative thoughts & be fully present in the moment.

  • The best part is meditation doesn’t require any skill, and anyone can do it - you literally can’t get it wrong! Try this simple 1 minute breathing exercise to get you started by clicking here 

  1. Have a Mindful Meal

  • Turn off all distractions when you eat - this means no looking at the TV or scrolling through your phone! Eat slower on purpose and really pay attention to the texture and the flavour as you chew.

  • Instead, try connecting to your 5 senses and asking yourself - what does my food look like? What does it smell like? 

  1. Unplug

  • Make sure you include technology-free time in your week - this means consciously choosing to switch off your phone, TV, video games etc and instead do some activities that don’t involve using a device.

  • For example, you could: read a book, meditate, do some arts and crafts, exercise, go for a walk, take a bath, cook a healthy meal, learn something new, write down how you’re feeling in a journal, or do something kind for somebody!

  • This can also be a fun challenge to do as a family to promote quality time - you could even make an agreement that you all have your phones switched off and put away at dinner times so you can focus on connecting and talking with each other.

  1. Safari Walk

  • Spending time outside in the fresh air is so beneficial for our overall wellbeing, and it’s a great way to practice mindfulness!

  • Set a goal to go for a “Safari Walk” this week! This means you’re going to head to a park or any nature filled spot and be a detective - pay close attention to your surroundings and either write down or draw 10 things that you spotted.

  • Your list could include anything - people, pets, wild animals, insects, plants or trees! Make sure to use lots of descriptive language, and notice how good it feels to check in with the world around you!

  1. Mini-Mindfulness

  • We’ve established that meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness. But did you know that you can practice mindfulness practically any time?

  • For example, next time you are brushing your teeth - notice the minty flavour of the toothpaste and the sensation of the brush bristles on your teeth and gums. And when you’re next walking down the street, notice the sound of your footsteps on the ground.

  • By paying just a little bit more attention, you can turn any of these seemingly mundane activities into an opportunity to practice mindfulness throughout your day!

Helpful links

Every Mind Matters

Newsround

 

We hope you found this information useful!

Spark Team