Mental health month is a great time to check in and do a mental health focus on yourself. Taking care of your mental health is one of those tasks that are easier said than done. It is one of those challenges that does not get resolved overnight, especially in our current climate. There are many different mental health strategies you can adopt to improve your mental wellbeing and one of those ways is through giving!
Now practicing giving does not necessarily have to be through large actions. Rather small gives can have the biggest impacts. One beautiful and wonderful give which improves your mental health while also being kind to others is with a simple “how are you?”.
This is such a simple yet powerful give you can do at any time during the day to anyone really. This small yet powerful give creates an opportunity for others to reflect on their mental wellbeing and the opportunity to express any concerns, stresses, or anxieties they may be having. One thing I have learnt from this pandemic is that physical distance may mask the troubles others may be going through. That is what makes this give so powerful. This is a beautiful way to show your concern for the well-being of others. Furthermore, this can help the other person to liberate any feelings they may be holding inside by sharing their thoughts and concerns with you.
By simply asking and listening to them, you allow them to open themselves up to you freely without feeling like they are burdening others as you initiated the conversation. This can not only be highly beneficial for the other person but yourself as well. Listening to others and offering empathy and compassion, you can gain some perspective on maybe your troubles. This may also allow you to open yourself up about your troubles as you have created a safe space for such conversation.
Giving, both big and small, can help us feel that we are being useful and positively affecting someone’s life. So, I highly encourage everyone to start with this simple, small give to check-in with those around you to show that you care for their mental and emotional wellbeing.
Helping others is a great way to be able to dedicate our time and energy. However, it is very important to remember to be kind to yourself.
At times it is easy for us to set impractical expectations upon ourselves, which places pressure on how we should act, feel, or think. Especially, in the current circumstance of the pandemic, many of us may unconsciously fall victim to pressuring ourselves to return to our pre-pandemic habits.
I personally have fallen victim to setting unrealistically high expectations for myself. Often times, I think to myself: “why am I feeling this way still despite living through this pandemic for over a year?” However, this whole thought process is unfair. I would never place pressure on others to feel or act a certain way so why am I doing this to myself?
As such, while it is important to be nice to others, we must also be nice to ourselves. We should treat ourselves the way we treat other people. Be honest and patient with yourself. It is completely okay for us to not know what our next step is or where we are headed. Taking things one step at a time and being patient and generous with yourself can help get you to where you want to be.
Mental health is an important subject. It is also important to be aware of and take care of our own mental health. Giving, being kind, and taking care of yourself and others is all part of the process, but when things become overwhelming, when life becomes difficult to manage, it is best to seek professional help. Checking in with a professional who understands the challenges of mental health is a healthy way to keep things balanced and in check. Look for local resources that can help you navigate a better understanding of your mental health and give you more tools to help you manage difficult days. A mental health focus on you every month will help you to be the best you can be every day.
These are just some simple ways you can give back to others and spread kindness and compassion. However, if you are interested in other ways you can give back, check out 365give, which has more ideas and suggestions for how you can improve your wellbeing by spreading kindness.