The past year and a half has certainly taken its toll on the vast majority of individuals around the world. Managing the stress and uncertainty that comes with a global pandemic has caused many to feel anxious, depressed, and much lonelier than they did before 2020.
For those who are typically more social, it has been challenging adjustment to limited social interactions and maintaining a safe distance from others. Even for those who don’t enjoy social activities quite as much, it can be stressful to manage the world reopening and attending social events again after spending so much time at home over the past year and a half.
To help raise awareness surrounding mental health and provide support to those in need, World Mental Health Day was established on October 10, 1992. Each year, October 10th marks an important day dedicated to reflecting on our mental health and learning more about how to learn, grow, and improve. Read on to learn how you can observe this important day.
What is the History Behind Mental Health Day?
According to the World Federation for Mental Health, World Mental Health Day was instituted by then Deputy Secretary-General Richard Hunter in October of 1992. In 1994, then Secretary-General Eugene Brody suggested incorporating a theme along with World Mental Health Day, and the idea stuck.
What is the Theme of this Year’s World Mental Health Day?
The theme of World Mental Health Day in 2021 is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World,’ according to Dr. Ingrid Daniels, President of the World Federation for Mental Health. This theme was carefully selected to highlight the increasing inequalities between the rich and the poor. The pandemic clearly highlighted that the wealthy continue to get wealthier as those living in poverty rose to a staggering number. Throughout the world, there is often inequality and bias due to ethnicity and race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Racism, sexism, homophobia, and other polarizing actions have a major impact on the mental health of those who are the most heavily impacted.
How to Observe World Mental Health Day:
Throughout the pandemic, many have focused primarily on caring for and worrying about their children, grandchildren, parents, and other family and friends. In doing so, it has become even easier to forget about our personal mental health.
The recommendations provided below are pulled from trusted and reputable organizations and agencies such as the CDC, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Mayo Clinic, and more. It is important to note that we are not medical professionals and are not providing medical advice. This article simply offers mental health tips that have been recommended by international mental health organizations.
Skip Netflix a Few Nights a Week
Reflect on the past week. How many nights did you watch Netflix before going to bed? If watching television has become a regular part of your nightly routine, try to spend a night or two each week reading a book, journaling, meditating, playing an instrument, or anything else that doesn’t involve a screen. According to the NIMH, the blue light that emits from televisions, computers, and mobile phones makes it difficult for our brains to differentiate between day and night. Try to spend an hour or two before bed in a softly lit room that is free of screens, including your phone. Doing so will most likely help you fall asleep faster and sleep longer. According to the CDC, adults between 18 and 60 years of age should get 7 or more hours of sleep per night, so limiting screen time can certainly help you get there.
Slowly Reduce Caffeine Intake
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, you’re probably also feeling tired. When we’re tired, we tend to gravitate to caffeine more than usual. While a Starbucks latte or Red Bull energy drink will provide that momentary “caffeine high,” you’re far more likely to crash shortly after the drink is consumed. But quitting coffee cold turkey is often an impossible task, so it’s better to steadily reduce caffeine consumption over a longer period of time. Try adding decaf into your regular coffee little by little each week or try to reduce your energy drink or soda consumption by a very small amount each day. If you typically drink one can per day, try to drink 90% of the can, then 85%, etc. Not only will this help improve your sleep: limiting caffeine can also help improve energy and focus throughout the day, according to NIMH.
Take a Quick 5 Minutes to Meditate
According to Kristin Lothman, a mind-body counselor with the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Integrative Medicine and Health, taking the time to meditate can do wonders for self-care. If you’re unsure where to start, try the guided meditation exercises provided on Mayo Clinic’s website. There are also plenty of free smartphone apps that provide guided meditation such as InsightTimer, Aura, Calm, SmilingMind, and Headspace.
Fewer Chips and Chocolate, More Fruits and Veggies
With many of us working from home, it’s easy to gravitate to junk food during the day. Meal prep takes time, and it’s so much easier to opt for a bag of chips than the bag of spinach that’s soon to expire in the fridge. Try to take an hour or two at the beginning of each week to look up cool new recipes on Instagram or TikTok and meal prep for the rest of the week. Cooking can be its own form of therapy, so try to make it as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. Play a fun playlist on Spotify or invite over a friend or two and make meal prep a weekly social activity. That way, rather than gravitating to ordering on GrubHub or opting for snacks that lack nutrition, you’ll have a wide range of healthy options to choose from throughout the workday.
Draper and Kramer’s luxury apartments make it easy to relax and unwind from life’s stresses with tranquil rooftops, relaxing swimming pools and cabanas, fully equipped fitness centers, and clubhouses with areas to work remotely outside of your apartment. To learn more about Draper and Kramer’s wide range of amenities, visit our website.