As I am sure many of you will be aware, at the time of me writing this, it is Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme for which is ‘Kindness’. At a time like this it seems like there could be so much for me to write about, but for this segment I would just like to focus on the notion of being kind to yourself. Self-love or self-kindness doesn’t mean being selfish or self centered. In fact, being in a position where you are kind to yourself and are ‘healthy’ in all senses of the word actually places you in a far better position to help the people around you.
There are a number of ways in which people can be kind to themselves. For example, there is now a large body of evidence that suggests regular exercise and a balanced diet is important to one’s mental health. Personally, I am extremely fortunate enough to have a garden where I can spend my time getting fresh air and exercising. When it comes to my mental health, I would definitely attribute a fair amount of credit to being able to spend at least some time outside and ensuring I stay motivated with my exercise. Furthermore, taking breaks and distancing yourself from external pressures for certain periods of time, such as academic work and social media is also key when it comes to maintaining good mental health. My last suggestion from the many options available, is to ensure communication. Sustaining interactions with those that are close to you is key. Throughout my time in lockdown, I can safely say that I have felt much better after calling my family who aren’t in my household, such as my older brother who is working in London, or my friends, out of which I have only seen one in person since last term. I think that being able to create a sense of normality in the most abnormal of times, is crucial to not becoming overwhelmed by what is going on around us.
Sticking with the idea of the importance of interactions with others for good mental health, I would just like to leave you all with this great quote I found, which struck me in particular. It comes from the novel Normal People by Irish author Sally Rooney,
“No one can be independent of other people completely, so why not give up the attempt, she thought… depend on people… allow them to depend on you, why not?” ― Sally Rooney, Normal People
That’s all from me folks, have a good week and enjoy your half term!