WE all look after our physical health but what about our minds?
Mental fitness is a crucial element of our overall happiness and wellbeing.
By following a few simple steps each day, we can build resilience, reduce stress and foster good thoughts and feelings.
What you do can make the difference! This is the focus of Mental Health Week, October 9-15.
“A lot of our mental health is within our control,” says Konrad Gawlik, Manager of Centacare’s ACCESS Programs, which specialises in the delivery of workplace mental health services.
“If we reflect and take action, we will feel better.
“Often we get the things we can control mixed up with those we can’t, so we end up burning a lot of energy on things we can’t take action on.
“It’s better to let those go and focus on the areas we can do something about.”
Being mindful of our daily routines can help improve our mental fitness, Konrad says.
“In every workplace, there is usually somebody who has experienced a tumble somewhere along the line.
“For the most part, with some coaching or tips, the majority of people can pull themselves out of a slump.
“There are some who need significant medical support but others can resolve their issues with a little bit of help and awareness.”
Seven steps to a healthy mind
Take a quiet moment to think about what is happening in your life. What is working and what is troubling you? If we reflect, we have an opportunity to take action and make positive change.
2. Foster friendships
Friends are great buffers against stress! Find a go-to person to trust and confide in. Strong connections with people can help you overcome challenges and feelings of isolation.
3. Balance emotions
Regulate but do not suppress emotions. All emotions are ok, they just need to be managed – not squashed.
4. Speak up!
If something bugs you, say something! Don’t bottle things up because that is when problems will occur. Speak up in a respectful and reasonable way, and find a solution.
5. Focus on what you can control
Make a list of all your stresses. Draw a line through those beyond your control and focus on the rest. Don’t expel energy on issues you cannot act on.
6. Find enjoyment
Find something that makes you happy and allocate time to it each week. Having a regular hobby, activity or outing to look forward to can lift your spirits on a bad day.
7. Give back
Donate time to others. Volunteering and helping out friends can empower a strong sense of self-worth and satisfaction. Balance the time you give to others with time to yourself in order to avoid burnout.
Mental Health Week is held annually to promote community awareness and understanding. Events provide an opportunity to engage the wider community in learning more about mental health issues that impact South Australians. World Mental Health Day is marked every year on October 10.