October is National Mental Health Month, a time for us to focus on our own mental wellbeing and also to look out for our loved ones & community. Here’s 6 things you can do this month to focus not only on your own mental health but those around you.
Identify Your Wellbeing toolkit
A wellbeing toolkit is your own personal combination of strategies & practices that bring you back to the concept of ‘self’ and allow you to re-charge. Some things in the AOL team's wellbeing toolkits include meditation, scheduled calls with loved ones, stretches (we love House of Sculpt), creative things like baking or drawing, and getting a good night's sleep. Identify yours and use them consistently even when you’re feeling your best.
Start a journal
A journal is a beautiful personal space where you can unravel your thoughts, process emotions and manifest positivity. There’s no wrong or right way to journal, whatever comes naturally to you. Our journal prompt card is perfect for when you’re not sure how to start putting pen to paper or start with our favourite journaling technique you can do in 2 minutes.
Check in with friends
For anyone struggling mentally, simple tasks and socialising can feel overwhelming and during low times it's common to self isolate. Check in with loved ones and friends, connecting with people will uplift not only them but yourself as well. Call a friend, grab a coffee and go for a walk. Sometimes what we need to get out of our own heads is to physically get out and about, breathe in some fresh air and connect with someone. If distance isn’t on your side, schedule a video ‘dinner date’ or surprise someone with a phone call just to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Get involved in community events
There are lots of scheduled events this month through Mental Health Foundation Australia to get involved in. Outside of mental health month, find your community - identify your hobbies and things you are passionate about - a quick search and you may find there is a local community group of people with the same passion that you can connect with on a regular basis. There is so much power in having people in your life you can have genuine connections with, and finding people who have shared passions will bring fun into your life whether it's going for hikes, writing poetry, creating art, music, gaming and everything in between.
Having a routine, whether structured or loosely planned, provides so many benefits mentally and physically like instilling good habits and increasing our productivity . A routine will also give you the space to place importance on doing those practices that are in your wellbeing toolkit, and will allow for you to get the most out of your rest time. For anyone finding routine challenging with their mental health, the quote “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly” can hold so much power - even if getting some fresh air is just sitting out the front of your house or opening all the windows and burning a nice candle, that can still shift your mindset.
Practice Gratitude Daily
Being thankful is the simplest way to practice daily gratitude at any point during the day. It involves saying small thanks throughout the day, either in your mind or out loud, thankfulness is a practice that can turn any moment into gratitude. Thank you for your morning coffee, for finding an empty carspot at the grocery store, for feeling the sun on your skin or for a hot shower. It’s helpful in other situations too, if you are stuck at traffic lights, say thanks that you have the ability to drive and that you are on your way to your destination During small moments in the day take a second to stop and say thank you, once you create this habit you will be pleasantly surprised at how it positively affects your flow through the day.
Need more resources? Australia has some amazing organisations for mental health support like Black Dog Institute, Lifeline and Beyond Blue.