World Mental Health Day was on Saturday 10 October and this year’s theme was ‘mental health for all’.
2020 has been an especially difficult year for everyone, with many of us experiencing challenges with our mental health. For some, our mental health has become worse. For others, we are experiencing mental health problems for the first time.
For World Mental Health Day we encouraged people to Do One Thing that supports their mental health, or to let us know One Thing That Helps (or has helped) support their mental health during this difficult year.
Some of you got in touch to let us know what has helped or the One Thing you were doing. Here are the responses, which we can all continue to take inspiration and hope from as we navigate such challenging times:
One thing that helps / Do One Thing
Catherine: “My one thing that helps is going for a run or going to the gym – it really does release happy chemicals in my brain that help me deal with stress and anxiety. I come back a different person!”
Collin: “One thing that helped me is my guitar. It helped me relax, helped me focus on something positive, and helped me achieve something by learning new songs and improving my playing (slightly 😊).”
Denise: “The one thing that helped me during the 12 weeks isolation was ten minutes exercise with Joe Wicks every morning at 09.30.
Made me get out of bed and dressed on days when I felt like giving up.
The exercise gave my mental health a boost and enabled me to live my life. Also tried meditation which helped a lot.”
Kay: “The thing that has helped me is walking with my dog or friends (preferably both at the same time). It always lightens my mood and prevents me from focusing on the bad news in the media.”
Leyla: “My one thing that helps is walking my two naughty dogs twice a day. The combination of fresh air, exercise and daylight has kept me sane and helped me leave the house during my darkest moments. Always be kind and take the time to check on people, and take care of each other as you never know what people are feeling on the inside.”
Linda: “My dog Sadie – a German shepherd – and the garden, have both helped me. Kevin my husband and Stephen my son added the same as me, especially the weather – lovely to keep you outside walking, gardening etc. which helps your mental health. I have asked the same questions to my sisters and friends. One said missing family, but it gave them time to look at their life in another way: what is important and what’s not. Another said the sunshine, garden and communication in a different way. And finally sunshine and support of family and friends.”
Maggie: “It is so difficult not being able to meet up in our groups and meet with friends, and family. For me one thing that really helps is a phone call (getting or sending). It doesn’t need to be long, and a quick chat is great for touching base, seeing how folks are coping, and just checking that the world out there is still getting by and is waiting for us when this crisis is under control. I recently talked to an old friend who lives down South who I’ve known since I was 16 (and we’re both over 70 now) and she said ‘that’s really cheered me up to talk to you’. It cheered me up too.”
Marcus: “Running has definitely helped lift me into a more positive place at times. Though I hadn’t done any for a while, one day this week I decided to go for it and went for a run before work. Even though I was only out for about 20 minutes, I felt brighter and more motivated for the rest of the day.”
Marita: “So I get moving to help my mental health, from walking to triathlon, whatever I can manage as long as I move. I find this helps shift negative energy.”
Michelle: “As I was struggling with my own mental health already, I was already trying to slow down and look after me. This current situation has enabled me to pause and reflect. I’ve enjoyed walking and took the chance to raise money for mental health charities in the process. I also rediscovered things I enjoy such as music, art and reading, and do new things such as championing mental health. To sum that up in doing ‘one thing’ I’d say ’I’ve taken time for self care (by slowing down, rediscovering my passions and being kind to myself).”
Nick: “One thing that has helped me during these difficult times is watching comedy sketches on YouTube. I think it’s important to switch off with all that’s going on and have some time to relax, smile and have a good chuckle.”
Pat: “The one thing that has helped me is being able to go to my allotment where l can keep busy and also helps my mental wellbeing. That and the support of my children when l am feeling really low.”
Shirley: “Seeing, and particularly caring for, our 2 grandchildren (now 16mths and 5years old) always gives a great boost to my mental wellbeing even if I am physically exhausted as I wave goodbye to them. We have certainly had no direct care of them over the last 6+ months but we have had various kinds of contact dependent on whether Stockport is in or out of the lock step of the Government/local Hokey/Cokey. Just before the current lockdown we had a socially distanced walk in Lyme Park when our granddaughter announced she had a few ‘stars’ from her teacher last week – when prompted by her mum to explain what she got one of them for, she responded, “for not bothering the teacher!”. I think about it often and celebrate that her talkative exuberance has not been dimmed by all the horror of the last few months – it gives me hope for the future. So I have been doing a lot of smiling, which as we all know raises the level of our ‘happy’ hormones – so let’s all of us keep doing it. I have also been trying to learn new words – the most recent is ‘Lalochezia’ – look it up – you will discover it is identified by psychologists as describing a good coping activity to relieve stress. I am not sure it is as helpful as smiling and I wouldn’t recommend it in earshot of others. Keep well.”
Sue: “Getting out into greenspaces locally 2 or 3 times a week really helps especially on sunny days. But being committed whatever the weather feels good. Walking, running, cycling – the different activities help vary the experience whilst cycling in particular gives access to areas further afield. I love exploring too, following different routes and paths just to see what’s there. Also, starting to play online Scrabble has kept my brain working. I began by inviting family to play but there is scope to expand and meet new people too. ScrabbleGo is my preferred option but there are others. Anyone up for a game?”
Ve: “One thing that has helped me during these difficult months has been to receive and send videos and jokes on WhatsApp. Some have been so funny and it’s a way to share the love.”