10 Mental Health Tips For World Mental Health Day [From Real People]
Mental health has become a big topic over the last 12 months. With so many global changes making such a dramatic impact on our wellbeing, it seems everyone has some mental health tips to share. And so they should. But what about real people? What do they want to say?
To mark 2021’s World Mental Health Day, we asked you what advice you’d give to someone experiencing mental health challenges. Which, let’s be honest, is most of us at some point in our lives. When we polled you on the Yop & Tom Instagram Stories, 95% of you said that you’d struggled with your mental health.
It seems fitting that this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is mental health care for all. Here are 10 mental health tips from real people, gathered from your input on our Instagram and the mental health interviews we’ve conducted over the past 12 months.
Be sure to save this post or send it to a friend who might need a little extra support right now.
Mental Health Tip #1 - Talk to a close friend
It wasn’t so long ago that talking about your mental health was still considered a “taboo”. So it’s hardly surprising that that hangover still lingers today. Bringing up the topic of your mental health can be scary (and a little bit intimidating).
But the moment you start that conversation? You’ll likely find that you’re not so alone. Acknowledging the stress and struggles that you’re experiencing can bring a new perspective to the problem.
So when you told us that your favourite place to go for mental health support was “a specific close friend” or “a partner”? That made total sense.
Mental Health Tip #2 - Find some escapism
Whether you’re choosing to escape into “funny videos on YouTube” (as one Instagram follower recommended), dive into a good book or engross yourself in a creative hobby, escapism can allow you to turn your mind off from your struggles and stressors. Even if it’s just for a few hours. Sometimes that’s all your mind needs to get a much needed break.
When we interviewed Kelsey Ryan, she told us that, she first got into bullet journaling to give her mind a rest from the every day:
“When I started bullet journaling, it was a way to turn my mind off of everything that was happening in my life. I definitely used it as an escape. Over time it has evolved into a form of creative therapy for me.”
Mental Health Tip #3 - Allow yourself to feel
Many of us have this expectation that we need to be happy all the time. But it’s 100% okay to feel the full spectrum of your emotions. From happy to sad, angry to joyful, our emotions are what make us human.
As one Instagram follower told us “it’s ok to cry”. Another said, “It’s ok to feel how you feel. Just always remember you are loved and beautiful no matter what”.
Accept your emotions, sit with them for a while and acknowledge them. Don’t try to squash your feelings away somewhere. They’ll only bubble up again later.
Mental Health Tip #4 - Give yourself the gift of joy
“Write a list of your favourite things, films, songs, food. And do it.”
Yop & Tom Instagram follower
When was the last time you did something that brought you joy? Science has shown us that having a hobby is linked to lower levels of depression. So it’s no wonder that therapists will often ask you about the things that make you happy.
Yet, if you’re anything like us, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the things that you’re meant to be doing. Whilst forgetting about the things you want to be doing instead.
So give yourself the gift of joy this World Mental Health Day. And do something that’s just for you.
Mental Health Tip #5 - Know that your emotions are always valid
One of the best tips you gave us? “Never believe anybody saying you are overreacting. Go and get help. Your feelings are never wrong.”
If somebody’s making you question your thoughts, experiences or emotions, that’s on them. It’s not on you.
Your feelings are always valid. So if you’re feeling in need of help, reach out and talk to a trusted confidente or professional. No matter what your friends or family might say. It’s probably not their business anyway!
Mental Health Tip #6 - Monitor your mood
You check in with your physical health each time you go to the doctor. But what about your mental health?
Monitoring your mood can help you detect tiny triggers that are negatively (or positively) impacting your mental wellbeing. That’s where mood trackers come into play.
As Priyanka explains,
“Sometimes we undergo subtle mood changes without realizing it. I like to take some time at the end of the day to check in with myself and fill out my stacked mood/productivity tracker in my journal. Seeing how my mood trends over larger periods of time, and also correlating this to my productivity helps me make changes to my lifestyle to better suit my mental health.”
Mental Health Tip #7 - Put pen to paper
This mental health tip comes straight from us, Joppe and Tom. If you know our story, you’ll know that we used to think we were “too busy” to stop, think and reflect. Let alone spend time alone, journaling.
But when we (finally) put pen to paper, something pretty special happened. Our imagination started up again. We could figure out what we wanted to achieve. We could set ourselves goals that were doable. And we could create a plan for when we re-entered that busy world again.
That is the power of journaling. Studies have shown that it can reduce depression, anxiety, and hostility. And we couldn’t agree more.
Unlock the power of bullet journaling (even if you’re a total beginner)
Mental Health Tip #8 - Trust that it will get better
Sometimes, you hit a point where it just feels like you’ve arrived at rock bottom. And you’re stuck there.
But, as Kelsey told us, that’s not the case.
“I want people to understand that when they are at their lowest low- life is not over. It can get better. If you asked me 5 years ago where I would be now- I never would have thought I would be this healthy. I want to show people what it’s like on the other side of your lowest point. Things do get better.”
It can be hard to feel optimistic when life is difficult. But when you start to look for proof that life can change for the better? When you start to follow people who have come through that change? Things can begin to feel that little bit easier.
Mental Health Tip #9 - Look for what you can control
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s tempting to wish you could control everything. Of course, that’s not possible. And it only leads to feelings of being even more out of control, as you feel even further away from your goal!
That’s when it’s helpful to look for the things that you can take charge of. Your schedule. Your daily routine. Your morning walk to work. Even something as simple as what time you have your morning coffee.
Planning can be a helpful tool to bring some semblance of control back into your life. Paloma told us that although she can’t always control her school test scores or results, she can control her tasks and assignments.
She uses bullet journaling to bring everything into one place:
“Bullet journaling greatly helps my mental health because not only is it a place where I can write down all my assignments and tasks in order to stay organized, but it is also somewhere I can be creative and a way to de-stress.”
Mental Health Tip #10 - Make time to look after yourself
When you take the time to look after yourself, the challenges that you were facing suddenly become a lot easier to deal with. You can think better, focus more clearly and move forwards with more optimism.
“I think it’s important to recognize that taking time off to relax or otherwise just address your mental health is actually beneficial […] because it helps you be in a better frame of mind to pursue your goals. I definitely put a lot more time towards relaxation now, and that’s helped me avoid burnout.”
Self-care doesn’t have to be fancy or special. It can be as simple as taking five minutes out to read your favourite book, feeding yourself nourishing meals or getting a good dose of fresh air each day.
Of course, when it all gets too much, do reach out and talk to a professional. There’s some incredible mental health support out there. This is a great place to start if you’re in the UK, or this site if you’re in the USA. Remember, you’re not alone.
Slow down and create the life you’ve been craving
This is how to start bullet journaling (even as a total beginner)