• Claire Cook

Do one thing for your mental health

We talk about mental health pretty much every day in our Mobilise Community, either in our virtual cuppas, in our Facebook community, or through our blogs and vlogs.

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 your oxygen mask on first, when you're on a plane. For the very simply reason, that if you pass out, you can't take care of the people or children you're looking after!

So we thought we would use World Mental Health Day (this Saturday 10th October), as a perfect excuse, to inspire each of us to do one thing for our mental health EVERY day (more if you like!).

Now we know that many of us are time poor, so we've chosen the simplest of ways to boost your mental health, with some creative ideas to fitting them into your life.

The starting point is that you must want to do them. Once you've decided you want to introduce daily habits to support you, 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 (if necessary) to make it work for you?

5 Simple ways to boost our mental health

  1. Connect with others

  2. Do a kind deed

  3. Get active

  4. Be present

  5. Get Creative

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 your 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 you want. And the real pleasure is in the giving - not in the receiving of thanks. And if you need some ideas, Suzanne shares plenty in this blog from earlier in the year (including some self kindness!).

Knowing you 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 you 'don't fancy' a bit of exercise, why not imagine the feeling you'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 1/2 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 you simply focus on the 'now', your 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 - you can easily incorporate mindfulness into everyday tasks.

Next time you're hanging out the laundry, cooking or cleaning the bath, do it mindfully! Focus only on what you're doing. What you can see, smell and hear right in that moment. Your mind will thank you. You can 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!

Our Creative Community

Leave your Inner Critic at the door (Bridget's art story)

Creativity, wellbeing and writing (Amanda's story)

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?

How to care for yourself, when there's no time to care for yourself

Three quick tips to lift your mood

Kindness is thriving

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© Mobilise Care Ltd 2020