Mental well-being and self-care are probably the biggest buzzwords in recent years, I’m surprised they actually haven’t been named “word of the year” yet.
We see it all the time in ads, TikToks, podcasts, and sitcoms, everyone is talking about their mental well-being and what we all should be doing to take better care of it.
The New Yorker highlighted this cultural rise in mental well-being awareness, pointing out the rise in everyone co-opting “therapy speak”. The author of the piece, Katy Waldman, would argue that in recent years, we’ve been taking language usually used exclusively within therapy outside and into our daily lives. That’s why whenever we open TikTok we’re having personal development coaches or even therapists sharing coping mechanisms or clinical definitions to explain why we may be feeling the way we feel. The author explains that this trend is most likely a result of mental well-being steadily declining in recent years, which has resulted in more people struggling with anxiety or depression.
Because of this struggle, we’ve seen a rise in ways to help people work on stress and anxiety coping mechanisms. Everything from meditation apps to cultural acceptance of things previously taboo, like open discussions about our mental well-being and admitting that we’re in therapy.
How we treat our mental well-being can vary as much as we do, as our brains, habits and interests can be so specific to us. I myself struggle to stay focused when it comes to meditation. My mind wanders and goes too fast. After weeks of trying different mindfulness apps, I rarely achieved a state of mindfulness.
However, I found specific activities that helped keep my mind focused and attuned to really help. I picked up swimming as I hated every other form of cardio and I can go at any time I like in my apartment complex.
In the spirit of sharing what habits help us, I asked my fellow coworkers what they do for their mental well-being.
I started my own veggie patch and I find it sooo therapeutic! I find myself spending less time on my phone and it’s such a win-win, as I have been getting fresh food from it!
When I’m overwhelmed I sit down and write in my journal until I feel better. Not only does it help me organise my thoughts, but it also allows me to express what’s affecting me so I can process it better. Reading a book also helps. It’s like medicine for my brain.
I’ll write my emotions into a poem to help process everything, lol, don’t judge. But doing simple things around the house like vacuuming or cleaning helps clear the mental and physical space up a ton. (Or I’ll dance around in my underwear.)
LIFT HEAVY STUFF!!!!
I game or get crafty. Other times I just zone out and watch primitive building videos, it’s surprisingly meditative. Whatever gets me out of my own head and doing something active really helps.
I embroider! Helped me so much when I went through a period of heavy insomnia. It definitely helps me relieve anxiety, but also gives me something at the end to keep! There’s also actually a long history of war veterans using embroidery as therapy as well!
To help keep my mind active when exercising on the treadmill at home, I have a claw that holds my phone in front of me while I scroll through videos. It doubles as a neat arm workout as well.
I either write a single page of the book I’m working on or practice learning French. Becoming bilingual has me in a chokehold! Le français est si chaud!
I love assembling building blocks. The more complex the build the better. I’ll just throw on music or a podcast while I build, no thoughts, head empty.
I’m big into arts and crafts. A great way for me to unwind is to just follow a knitting pattern. These used to be pretty confusing at first, but once you figure it out and just follow the steps, it’s a great way to switch off all the other thoughts in your head and to trust the process.
Picking up free diving has literally taught me how to breathe properly and it’s so meditating! Keeping fit is honestly the best thing I do for my mental health. Cannot undersell that dopamine release.
Looking at or swimming in the ocean helps clear the mind a ton. There’s some pretty cool research about what looking at blue spaces does for our brain, so would definitely recommend.
If this has inspired you to work on establishing healthy habits for your mental well-being, – be it painting, exercising or journaling, Queensland Health have some great tips to get you started.
Taking care of your mental well-being looks different for everyone. For more tips and information, head to the Dear Mind website.Image: Mad Men