World Mental Health Day + Dyslexia Awareness Week

World Mental Health Day is on Monday 10 October and the theme this year is making mental health and well-being for all a global priority.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as ‘a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’

After the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we all appreciate the importance of looking after ourselves, both mentally and physically, more than ever. We also know that feeling good and staying healthy in our daily lives makes a big difference. It is essential, even with a lot going on around us, that we prioritise our mental health and well-being. Here are some tips to prioritise your well-being on a day-to-day basis.

  1. Drink water. This may sound silly, but drinking water improves your nutritional health a great deal, and this links closely to your mental health.
  2. Take a mental health day. Sometimes burnout can have a largely negative effect on our mental health, so plan a mental health day, it will better your productivity for the days ahead. Think of ways you would like to practice some self-care. This could be making sure you take a nap during the day, pampering yourself, or simply relaxing for the day. It’s important to take time for yourself if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  3. Five minutes of meditation. Some people believe that meditation is a lengthy process, but it is just as effective to do five minutes! This could be at any time during the day, even sitting at your desk, just take five minutes to focus on your breathing and clear your mind.
  4. Write positive affirmations. You can do this on a post-it note or in a notebook, even in your phone notes! Write some affirmations stating what you’re grateful for (“I am grateful for my home”), coping strategies (“Get some fresh air”), or say something kind to yourself (“I am worthy of love”), to help beat negative thoughts.
  5. Get help when you need it. This could be talking to a loved one or reaching out to a medical professional. It’s important to reach out if you’re struggling, there is always help available.
  6. Take a break from social media. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to what we see on social media, and that can have a damaging effect on our self-esteem. Change your settings in your phone to allocate yourself a certain amount of time a day for certain apps. This is to ensure you’re not constantly observing social media platforms.
  7. Many people believe that the only way to get effective exercise is to get a gym membership, but there are numerous ways to incorporate exercise into your life. This could be planning to go to a class once a week, or even just taking the time to go for a walk regularly.
  8. Try listening to a mental health podcast. A type of self-care in and of itself, listening to discussions about mental health and wellbeing can teach you more about coping with mental health problems.
  9. Plan something to look forward to. No bank holidays or Christmas anytime soon? Plan a day including something you appreciate and give yourself that exciting feeling of having something fun to anticipate. This could be anything from trying a new restaurant to having an at-home movie night with friends.
  10. Make a playlist. Fill this playlist with positive songs that remind you of good times and listen to it whenever you need some positivity.

It’s essential to prioritise your well-being if you feel like your mental health is suffering. Prioritising your well-being is never selfish. We also want to highlight Dyslexia Awareness Week and stress how crucial it is to look after your own welfare.

The subject of this year’s dyslexia awareness week was “Breaking Through Barriers” to consider the obstacles that those with dyslexia encounter daily. The theme also honours the support that businesses and schools are providing to overcome these challenges. According to studies, people with dyslexia, particularly young people, are more prone to struggle with anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that those who may be having mental health issues because of learning disabilities, and generally, receive support and encouragement.

As a Disability Confident Leader, we can provide support to other employers to sign up to the standard at all 3 levels. We actively encourage employers and organisations we work with to sign up for the framework to support good practice.  For more information about the Disability Confident Campaign, please visit the government’s website.

We are pleased to be spending the day at the mental health conference and awards in Wales. Learning from other organisations and recognising individuals and companies who go above and beyond to put the well-being of others first.  The event is being managed and organised by The Ajuda Foundation, a community interest company that promotes positive mental health in organisations, individuals, and communities across Wales.