We're big on it! We know that carers particularly can have a tough time, maintaining good mental health. We also know, that maintaining good mental health is as important as physical health - the two go hand in hand. And, we know that not looking after ourselves, comes at a real risk of our own health deterioration, making our caring role much harder and in some cases impossible.
So perhaps our motto as carers, should be "Carer first" - it's the same idea as putting our oxygen mask on first, when we're on a plane. For the very simply reason, that if we pass out, we can't take care of the people or children we're looking after!
Now we know that many of us are time poor, so we've chosen the simplest of ways to boost our mental health, with some creative ideas to fitting them into our life.
The starting point is that we must want to do them.
Once we've decided we want to introduce daily habits to support ourselves, the doing will come much easier.
So, do you want to introduce one (or more) daily habit(s) to support your mental health? and
Are you ready to get a little creative to make it work for you?
Five Simple ways to boost our mental health
1. Connect with others
Find your tribe! Find real people, that make you feel good. Shared experiences, reciprocal support and a sense of belonging are great boosts to our mental health. If you haven't joined already, then our virtual cuppas offer a great way to meet other carers in a safe, uplifting way.
"It's been great being part of the mobilise cuppa and I really do enjoy the uplifting start and end to each call."
If a cuppa feels like a step too far right now, then perhaps our private Facebook community full of advice, empathy and support from other carers, is for you.
2. Do a kind deed
Kindness boosts our mental health. Can you think of a lovelier tool? Kindness can look like many things. It might be a phone call to a friend or relative to say hi and provide connection (ticking the "Connect with others" box too), or it might be a note in our child's lunchbox. It could be a bunch of flowers, or calling to ask if a neighbour needs any shopping.
Kind deeds can be as big or small as we want. And the real pleasure is in the giving - not in the receiving of thanks. And if we need some ideas, Suzanne shares plenty in this blog on some self kindness.
Knowing we have brightened someone's day, is powerful stuff!
3. Get Active
We all know about endorphins! They make us feel amazing! So no matter how much we 'don't fancy' a bit of exercise, why not imagine the feeling we'll have afterwards! That buzzy, warm glow feeling!
Getting active will mean different things to each of us. And we'll each have different opportunities available to us, depending on what our caring role looks like.
Maybe it's walking the half mile to the shop, instead of driving? Maybe it's a seated dance class on Zoom? Maybe it's a full blown run for those of us that can!
I often take my daughter out in her off-road buggy to get some exercise. During lockdown she was here 24/7, so I had to improvise. The buggy and child weigh in at almost 50kg, so it was quite a work out! Plus my daughter loves bumpy field walks, where she gets her sensory needs met!
Sometimes a little creative thinking can open up opportunities to us.
4. Be present
Yes, yes, - mindfulness! But honestly,
"The present is a gift, that we all have"
When we simply focus on the 'now', our mind can have a rest from all the planning. And as carers, let's not underestimate how much planning we do! Including a whole head of 'What If' planning! Our poor minds deserve a break.
And for those of us, really struggling with time - we can easily incorporate mindfulness into everyday tasks.
Next time we're hanging out the laundry, cooking or cleaning the bath, do it mindfully! Focus only on what we're doing. What we can see, smell and hear right in that moment. Our mind will thank you. Read more about this technique in our blog "How to care for yourself, when there's no time to care for yourself."
We may even start to view those chores as replenishing, rather than draining! Imagine that?
5. Get Creative
Getting creative is known to have many therapeutic benefits for our mental health. When we're engrossed in our creativity, we're often practising mindfulness with the benefits similar to those of meditation. With a calming effect on the brain and body.
"Getting creative is soothing"
And remember. You don't actually have to be creative, to be creative! No one needs to see what you've done, but the sheer act of doing the creativity will bring you those mental health benefits.
Some of our community, shared their creative hobbies before - do have a read for inspiration!
So what one new habit will you add to your day? Please do pop over to our community to share and inspire!
At Mobilise, we've shared lots of resources around supporting our mental health. Why not pop the kettle on a have a read of the following previous blog posts?