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Do one thing: starting small when it all feels too much

This World Mental Health Day seems heavier than anyone could ever have anticipated. With the day's focus on important but lofty goals - Mental Health for All: Greater investment, greater access - we at NCMH took a moment to reflect on the campaign from the charity Mind...

Mae tudalen hon ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig ar hyn o bryd

Mind’s campaign for World Mental Health Day is keeping it simple. Focus on one thing for better mental health.

It could be something small for yourself like buying a new plant or stopping to declutter your desk, or maybe it’s finally taking that step to reach out for support.

Finding a focus when the world gets loud

After months of lockdown and uncertainty, it’s an especially important time to stop and think about our mental health.

While it is important, we also recognise that it may be more difficult than ever, which is why making some smaller pledges to ourselves and others is a great starting point.

white woman drinking tea by window

We asked the team…

Alice, from our NCMH field team, explains what she’s found helpful while working from home:

  • Meditation

Amidst all of the tragedy and uncertainty of the COVID crisis, I have found that focusing on what I can control has helped me get through the more challenging days.

For me, this has been as simple as dedicating some time each day to meditate, involving sitting still with my eyes closed and following my breath.

It might sound strange (I definitely thought so before I tried it!), but it can help to ground you in the here and stop you getting caught up in distressing thoughts and feelings.

However, despite knowing how beneficial this has been for me, I have let this habit slip in recent months. Now that we are facing the prospect of a difficult winter ahead with COVID, one thing that I will be doing for my mental health is to commit to making meditation a regular habit again. If you want to learn more about meditation and how to practice it, you can find lots of helpful resources on YouTube.

Mark, from our administration team, shared some steps he’s taken recently:

  • Not taking myself so seriously helped my mental health.

We are only human; we should not be so hard on ourselves. Rather than seeing our failings as fault, see them as learning curves on how to make ourselves better.

Rather than beating ourselves up about things that go wrong, take a step back reassess, maybe smile about it, make light of it and not take ourselves so seriously.

We are only human and some of the greatest discoveries and creations that have happened in history were done by mistake or accident!

  • Cutting out social media.

It is a hard one to do these days with so much of life revolves around it but I found cutting out social media has helped my mental health. I don’t feel judged or aspire to be something I could never be. I’m not spending hours trawling through posts, feeds, messages, and photos, neglecting those around me.

It’s made me look up and see the world around me in real-time and not through a lens to place in a post or in online photo gallery. I learnt to interact with people around me and learnt to smile at people in the street more.

young black man reading red book

Catrin, from the NCMH communications team, and author of this blog – hello! – shares what she’s pledged to do:

  • Staying in touch

I’ve noticed that I’ve let several friendships slip, particularly in the last month or so, when everything has really felt like too much.

Not saying I’m experiencing it any worse than anyone else but working in comms during this time has seemed extra exhausting. I’m not used to being at my desk seven hours a day; we used to be at meetings and events with the public, taking photos, filming interviews, and many other weird and wonderful things that crop up for a comms person.

Being online all day instead has been a different kind of tiring and it’s meant that I’ve stopped talking to friends in and outside work.

I’m pledging to have proper phone calls (maybe even more videocalls if people are persuasive) even if it’s just once a week. It also just means being honest (but kind) about how I’m feeling and, when I can, finding the energy to be really invested in those conversations because I know it pays off when I do. In case any of my family, friends and colleagues see this, thanks for your patience with me over the last few months!

laptop zoom mug

So what are you going to do?

Whether it’s going for a walk, trying something creative you’ve never done before (or returning to an old hobby), taking the first steps to getting support for yourself, or reaching out to someone else; do one thing this World Mental Health Day.

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Catrin Hopkins

Catrin yw'r Swyddog Cyfathrebu ar gyfer yr NCMH a Canolfan CYF Prifysgol Caerdydd.

Gofrestru ar gyfer y cylchlythyr

Y Ganolfan Iechyd Meddwl Genedlaethol,
Prifysgol Caerdydd,
Adeilad Hadyn Ellis,
Heol Maindy,
CF24 4HQ

+44 (0)29 2068 8401
Mae’r NCMH yn rhan o’r isadeiledd ymchwil i Gymru a ariannir gan Ymchwil lechyd a Gofal Cymru. | Polisi preifatrwydd