Mental health matters as much as physical health, that’s the resolution WIs across the UK have been supporting over the past year. Everyone knows what to do for good physical health: eat a balanced diet, drink water and do regular exercise.
What about good mental health? Much less attention is paid to this, but with soaring numbers of people suffering with anxiety and depression, it’s important we start to pay attention.
The WI resolution called on members to take action to make it as acceptable to talk about mental health issues as much as physical health issues. Swallowtail WI organised a “Mental Health Myth Buster” evening, led by Szara Froud, an assistant practitioner and Danielle Sands, a mental health nurse from Reach For the Stars. Our aim was to encourage open discussion and dispel the stigmas around mental health.
Members agreed that it’s easy for life to get on top of you, almost without you noticing. If you’re struggling and overwhelmed, you often don’t know what to do to make it stop. During the evening we learnt some simple ways to help ourselves.
First, you have to acknowledge how you’re feeling. Are you stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed? We have a tendency to disconnect to our emotions, so checking in helps you notice what’s going on. You might not be able to solve the problem, but there are things you can do to improve how you’re feeling.
Talking to someone is important, as it gives you a chance to vent and gain perspective.
It’s also essential to find ways to relax. Distracting yourself, if only for a while, can help you feel more able to cope. Members shared their favourite ways to de-stress. These included reading, crafting, baking, meditation apps and going outside for a run or walk, or just to look up at the sky.
When life is busy, relaxation is often the first thing we let slip, but it’s essential to make time to have fun.
The resolution has helped Swallowtail WI learn to take care of our mental health. I hope the next resolutions will have an equally positive impact.
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