Happy World Mental Health Day!
I am a big advocate for looking after your mental health. We all get it, it is important and so often neglected. Unsurprisingly, I believe looking after your physical health directly and significantly impacts your mental state - but it is not the only thing you can do. Here are some simple tips I shared in the School Community to help teachers, parents and pupils alike take care of their mental health.
Learn something new. This isn't just for our pupils! When we learn and master something new it helps to activate the problem solving part of our brain and makes us feel better equipped to deal with the challenges we face on a daily basis. It doesn't need to be a big thing either, try learning a few new words in a foreign language, an equation you haven't tried before or a new exercise that makes you stronger. It is time to get out of your comfort zone!
Live in the moment on a daily basis. Research by Matt Killingsworth demonstrated that focusing on the task at hand instead of the 'To Do List' or letting our minds wander results in greater satisfaction. So even when the task at hand might not be your favourite, it's worth paying attention!
Practice feeling grateful. It is very easy to list all of the rubbish things that have happened in the day when you get home, but how great would it feel to give some of the day's wins your attention instead? Practicing recognising the good things that happen in life helps us retrain our brains to perceive events in a more inquisitive, positive way. This takes practice, so try adding it in to the dinner table conversation or on the school run.
Help someone else. Helping someone selflessly subconsciously boosts our own self worth and image. Whether it is listening to a friend to help them problem solve a challenge they are facing or doing something to help a family member out, it all counts towards a happier self image. It's as easy as saying the words "What can I do to help?"
Speak to someone you trust when things start to get on top of you. We all know that feeling of overwhelm and it is all too easy to push negative feelings to the side and 'get on with it'. Sometimes that pile of negative thoughts and feelings grows into a mountain when we choose to ignore them. If you have been feeling low for more than a couple of weeks, it's time to find someone to chat to.
Of course, burpees help too. ;)