Tuning in to the world around us, as well as ourselves, provides a sense of clarity that is often lost in our busy lives.
Practising mindfulness (the act of being fully present in the moment without judgement) allows us to acknowledge our feelings, reflect on how they impact us, and decide how to respond.
Mindfulness is proven to have many benefits for mental health such as reducing fear, anxiety and stress, and improving attention, concentration and memory.
Below we explore some of the ways you can tune in to your surroundings and yourself this Mental Health Month.
Tune in to yourself
Start each day by checking in with yourself. How are you feeling this morning? If you’re not feeling great, being aware of your mindset at the beginning of the day will help you be aware of how you may react to situations when you’re not feeling your best. This awareness also helps us be kinder to ourselves on those ‘off’ days.
End each day by reflecting on three positive things that happened that day. These can be anything that made you feel good, such as taking a walk outside, a compliment from a colleague, or enjoying a yummy dinner you cooked. Write them down in a journal if this helps you visualise it more.
Think about your priorities. It’s commonly known that sleep, exercise and eating well are key elements for feeling your best, but the reality is there are many competing demands for our time and energy, and these things are often the first to slide when we are busy. Make a conscious effort to go to bed early and commit to some form of exercise every day.
Reach out to a friend or family member who fills your cup. Pick up the phone or arrange to meet up with someone close to you who makes you feel positive long after your interaction has finished. Recognising the people in your life who empty your cup is also an important reflection on who you spend your valuable time with.
Be mindful of how much you rely on social media to boost your self-esteem. If you’re constantly checking your profile for how many likes or comments your latest post has received, actively put your phone in another room for extended periods throughout the day, and spend time appreciating the things right in front of you: a pet, your garden, your housemates, family members or the sun shining in through a window.
Connect with yourself. Tuning in to your spirituality, culture and the outdoors can be a source of comfort and meaning if you’re facing challenges in your life.
Tune in to your colleagues
If you notice a change in your colleague’s behaviour, it could be a sign they need some additional support. Are they having trouble concentrating and managing multiple tasks? Are they unusually emotional, overwhelmed, and frustrated? Are they withdrawing from team meetings and social gatherings?
Being aware of behaviour that is outside the norm for that individual is crucial in identifying if something else is going on in their life.
There is nothing wrong with asking a colleague if they are okay. You may not feel it is your place if you are not close to the person. However, the time spent with colleagues in a workplace is often more than time spent with friends and family, so you may be the first person to notice a shift.
Many people find the process of looking for mental health help overwhelming. You may offer to do some research into suitable mental health support services and arrange another time to discuss what you have found with your colleague.
Tune in to the power of community
Community is critical for us to thrive and provides many beneficial aspects such as belonging, support and purpose. For many people, communicating with others – whether online or in-person – can help them have a healthier mindset, improved self-worth, and greater enjoyment of life.
Communities can exist or be created from a shared location, hobbies, lived experiences and backgrounds, or a common cause. If you’re looking for a stronger sense of connection with your community, reflect on your own interests and what’s important to you. Are you interested in joining a social sports team, choir or perhaps learning a new language? Volunteering is also a wonderful way to feel connected to your community while also assisting others.
You can also tune in to your community by attending local events such as those organised by your library or council, organising wellbeing activities at your workplace, or reaching out to a community member who may be isolated.
Tune in to an inclusive mindset
At EPIC, we believe everyone has the right to meaningful employment, and with that comes a supportive and inclusive workplace.
By showing empathy to people with diverse backgrounds and experiences, you open yourself up to seeing things from different perspectives, and experiencing the many business, community and social benefits that diversity brings.
About Mental Health Month
Mental Health Month is acknowledged in October across Australia and incorporates World Mental Health Day, held globally on 10th October. The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health. The theme for 2021 is Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality.
Queensland and Tasmania celebrate a Mental Health week during October.
Mental Health Support
If you’re looking for mental health support call:
- Lifeline, call 13 11 14
- SANE Australia, call 1800 18 SANE (7623)
- beyondblue, call 1300 22 4636
- Suicide Call Back Service, call 1300 659 467