Yesterday was October 10th, otherwise known as World Mental Health Day.
A day that is supposed to shine a light on the subject of mental health bringing out of the closet so to speak.
It wasn't long ago the topic was almost completely taboo, talked about in hushed whispers, hidden behind closed doors or simply ignored, brushed under the carpet.
We have come a long way since those days.
People are now accepting it more and more as a real thing, and these is a lot more open talk about the topic.
I've said it for years, but I'll say it again and again, that mental and physical health are so intertwined as to be the same thing.
We all understand at some level how our physical health exists on a continuum from robust and healthy to sick and unwell.
As it's October, many people are feeling the seasonal sniffs and sniffles. We still have the shadow of Covid hanging over us, and I'm very sure we all have at least one elderly relative in some stage of failing health. Maybe we are carrying an injury, or know someone else who has a sore knee/back/shoulder/[insert body part here]
These are all examples of physical health. It may be good physical health, or it may be poor physical health. but it is all physical health.
And we all have a pretty good idea what to do about it.
We know to eat well, to stay hydrated, to rest when needed, to go see a professional (Doc, Physio etc).
If it's a friend / family member, we know to offer support. To help with chores and tasks, to laugh and take the piss, to be there if needed.
This is all EXACTLY the same for mental health.
The only difference is that it can be much less obvious when a persons mental health is poor.
But just as you feel a cold coming on because we've had them before, we know what it feels like and therefore we can get in front of it by starting a self care practice, wrapping up and piling in the calories and getting in the Hot Toddies.
We should also know what a dip in mental health feels like so we can get in front of it and start the self care process. The process may be finding a friendly ear, maybe lending a friendly ear. It may be closing the curtains and watching The Goonies ffo the umteenth time. It may be skipping a workout, or even doing a workout.
It's hard to say precicesly what you need to do, because it's you. And the only person who knows what's in your head really is you.
Unless of course, you talk.
As I said earlier, most people know how to take care of the their physical health. We should be equally good at taking care of our mental health.
And if I'm honest, both can be boiled down to: Breathe well Rest well Exercise well Build a network of friends, in fact have 2 or three networks (work friends, gym friends, nerd friends etc) And be proactive.
It's simple, not easy. But it can be done.