National Mental Health Month: Self-care tips

 

To celebrate, National Mental Health Month, we have collaborated with Speak Now: Break The Silence to provide self-care tips to improve your mental health conditions.

Small Life Changes

Start small: Everyday take time to do something for you. It can be something small such as going for a 15-minute walk, putting on nice clothes or having a nice relaxing bath. Remember, that self-care isn’t a one-time thing and that it’s important to practice self-care and kindness every single day.

Eat/Sleep/Workout/Repeat: It’s important to remember that mental health requires getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night, having healthy eating habits and working out regularly.

Be Your Own Best Friend: Notice how you talk about yourself. Practising self-affirmations leads to a strong sense of self and high self-esteem. Treat yourself as you would want others to treat you.

Big Life Changes

Remove any toxic person from your life. If you are in an abusive relationship, whether that’s a friendship or relationship, it’s time to put yourself first and remove those toxic people from your life. Being in a toxic relationship lowers your self-esteem, fills you with negative thoughts and could lead to severe anxiety and depression. Put yourself first and prioritise your happiness and mental health.

If you find yourself unhappy with your job, life or relationships, it might be time for a change. Pay attention to what is really troubling you and take steps to fix this.

If you find yourself filled with anxious and negative thoughts, seek help immediately. Speak to your family and friends about what’s troubling you and know that you are not alone in your journey. It is also important to speak to a GP or a therapist about what’s on your mind. You can also access support systems from mental health organisations such as Beyond Blue.

This post is in collaboration with Speak Now: Break The Silence a non-for-profit organisation aiming to raise awareness about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). The campaign aims to highlight the importance of mental health in more serious cases and encourages victims to speak out and not let silence become a part of the violence. To know more about this organisation follow.

https://speaknowbreakthesilence.wordpress.com/

 

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The Best Quotes For Success | World Mental Health Day

It is ingrained in us that to have a happy life, we must be successful. We have ideas that by 20 we must have done this, by 25 we must achieve this, by 30 we need to get promoted etc.

The pressure to succeed can create a toxic culture in the workplace as we try to compete and put ourselves under severe pressure and stress.

To celebrate World Mental Health Day, I’ve listed some top quotes from successful people that show that you don’t have to succeed at a certain time or age in order to be considered “successful”.

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”

— Steve Jobs

 

“The real test is not whether you avoid this failure because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”

— Barack Obama

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

— Thomas J. Watson

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

— Michelle Obama

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

— Winston S. Churchill

And finally

Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.”

— Michelle Obama

The Plan To Combat Mental Health In The Workplace

It is time to focus on creating mentally healthy workplaces. The non-for-profit organisation Mental Health Australia reveals that 1 in 5 Australians is affected by mental illness yet refuses to say something about due to fear of being mocked or rejected by those around them. In workplaces, mental health issues are more prevalent with the recent Australian Psychological Society (APS) survey reveals that stress and wellbeing are down by 11% compared to in 2011. Respondents are reporting signs of stress resulting in lower levels of workplace wellbeing. Low mood in the workplace can result in higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression.

So what are we doing about?

The NSW government has revealed a plan to combat mental health in the workplace. Mental health experts along with representatives from mental health organisations such as SafeWork NSW and organisations such as Uber, Google, Westpac, NSW ambulance and the Department of Education are getting together to attend a two-day summit to create a plan to create mentally healthy workplaces across NSW.

The plan includes developing proactive interventions to decrease or prevent mental health issues from rising in the workplace. Additionally, SafeWork NSW is pushing for a national legislative and policy reforms to address employer’s commitment to having a mentally healthy workplace.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean addresses the increase of mental health issues in the workplace:

“At any one time, one in six people of working age suffer from mental illness across Australia, which equates to 800, 000 people in NSW, so this is a huge issue.”

With mental health in the workplace rising, head of the Workplace Mental Health Research Program at the Black Dog Institute Associated Professor Sam Harvey states that any programs that can improve employees wellbeing at work are significant to reducing mental health symptoms in the workplace.

He states “Workplaces often respond to mental health problems once they occur, but increasingly there is a role for workplaces to prevent people from becoming unwell.

We know certain types of work conditions increase the rate of mental health problems: workers who have insufficient control over their work situations, job insecurity and bullying and harassment. We need to try and reduce those problems. But a workplace can also be part of an individual’s recovery rather than something they lose when they are unwell.”

The Sydney Summit: Mentally Healthy Workplaces in NSW will be held on November 8 and 9. Plans include a three-to-five year work program, training and an online portal, which includes tailored resources, tools and access to mentoring programs. The government is planning to implement these strategies during the first half of 2018.

October Is Mental Health Month: Here’s What You Can Do

October is nationally recognised by the NSW government to be mental health month.

October is Mental Health Month. This year’s theme from WayAhead – Mental Health Association NSW is Share Your Journey focusing on recognising the importance of closed connections and the importance of communication to help deal with life’s challenges.

The theme focuses on:
1) Journey to better mental health
2) Ability to cope with life’s challenges through good social connections which help improves overall mental health and also build resilience.

For workplaces, it’s important to recognise the importance of working well in a team environment to reduce workplace stress. Sharing your journey with a co-worker or boss could help reduce stress at work.

I’ve added a mental health month calendar for the month of October which includes activities that you can do for yourself or with your co-workers to promote a positive mindset and positive workplaces.

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Source: MENTAL HEALTH (OF THE ENTIRE WORLD etc)

How To Manage Workplace Stress

  1. Arrive at Work On Time

You won’t be leaving a good impression on your colleagues and employer if you are constantly arriving to work late. If you have anxiety and depression, the thought of arriving late and having everyone stare at you could leave you with feelings of anxiety. Plus, being constantly late to work could jeopardise your career. Minimise your anxiety at work by making sure that you have enough time in the morning to arrive at work on time. This includes you have enough time to get to work if other things happen such as the bus arriving late etc.

  1. Go home on time

Overworking is one of the symptoms of workplace stress. If you find yourself constantly staying back at work late, you need to do something about it. Do you have way too much workload? Are you handling more responsibility than you should? It is time to speak with a supervisor or employer about delegating some of your tasks? Is it time to tell you’re other co-workers no if they are constantly asking for your help?

You might feel the pressure to stay late and do some extra work however overworking is a sign of stress and workplace pressure, which can have some negative consequences on your mental health. Make sure that you are spending time doing other activities and spending quality time with friends and family.

  1. Take your lunch break

Having good mental health includes sleeping regularly, maintaining a fitness routine and eating healthy. If you are constantly skipping breakfast and lunch for work, it’s time to stop. While there are times where meetings or work can run long, it’s never a good idea to skip lunch. In the long term, constantly skipping lunch is a risk for depression and anxiety.

  1. Take your holiday leave

Work all the time and you run the risk of burning out. As part of the Work Health Safety Act, Australians are entitled to some annual leave days. However, there’s an ongoing trend of Australians not taking their annual leave and simply accumulating plenty of annual leave days. It’s important to take annual leave as constantly working could lead to burning out and could lead to significant stress and anxiety. Take time to disconnect from work, relax and enjoy life.

  1. Recognise stress and do something about it

At some point in our lives, we will all deal with stress. It could mean worrying about a deadline or worrying about a presentation. But it’s important to know the difference between stress and anxiety. If you are constantly stressing about work, finding that you can’t sleep and feel anxious when you’re at work, you might be experiencing severe anxiety and it might be time for you to see a GP and seek help.

Remember that there is a difference between stress and anxiety and that constantly worrying about work is not normal. If you find yourself in this position, see a GP immediately and talk to your employer about taking some time off.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness, contact a GP and ask to see a psychologist under the Better Access to Mental Health Initiative.

You can also contact beyond blue at 1300 224 636 or go to their website to access their 24-hour support service.

You can also contact lifeline on 131 114.

How To Ask For Some Time Off

Telling your employers you need some time off or a mental health day can often be a difficult conversation. There’s still a stigma attached to mental health illness such as having anxiety or depression.

If you are suffering from mental health, it’s important that you don’t suffer alone. Employers have legal responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure that employees the safety, health and wellness of their employees. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed at work, it is best to speak to your employer directly.

Workplace stress includes meeting deadlines, working too much and/or long hours, bullying and discrimination, a bad working environment and other work-related stress. Additionally, personal stress such as family or relationship issues, personal emergencies and/or injuries or disability should also be discussed with your employer to make proper arrangements.

If you feel that stress is significantly impacting your work life and your mental health, you need to speak to your employer directly to seek some time off work.

Beyond Blue has an online tool to offer advice on whether you should talk to your employer. CLICK HERE

What are your legal rights?

Employees are entitled to sick leave/annual leave days. If you need more time off, you can talk to an HR representative for advice or speak to a close colleague.

If your mental health affects you carrying out your workplace duties and responsibility, you need to disclose this to your employer, particularly if you are in danger or at risk for other people at work. Read more by reading Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental illness, contact a GP and ask to see a psychologist under the Better Access to Mental Health Initiative.

You can also contact beyond blue at 1300 224 636 or go to their website to access their 24-hour support service.

You can also contact lifeline on 131 114.

Is There Such A Thing As Work-Life Balance?

We are constantly bombarded with the idea of having to do it all. Friends, family, work, social obligations, exercise, healthy diet, travelling and on and on. But the problem with doing it all comes with the risk of burnout, stress and could lead and/or trigger mental health issues.

In Australia, recent statistics demonstrate that Australians are under extreme stress and pressure. Anxiety is one of the leading mental health issues in Australia with an average of 1 in 4 people experiencing anxiety. Nearly 40% of Australians experience a panic attack at some point in their life. Overall, 3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety. A recent study conducted by the Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, who surveyed 10 000 women across Australia between aged 18 to 80, reveals that nearly 40% of women have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression. The study also reveals that women were found to be having trouble with sleeping and constantly “worrying excessively about different things”.

Part of feeling stress and overwhelmed is the idea that we need to “have-it-all” in order to be happy and successful. There’s still a stigma attached to saying no to things or taking time off work and having a break or being temporarily unemployed. Expectations can lead to overwhelming stress and pressure to be successful.

What can you do achieve healthy work-life balance?

At Work:

  • Talk to your employer about adjusting your workplace responsibilities and/or seek help or further training to help you with your job.
  • Don’t skip out on your annual leave, take your annual leave days and enjoy some much needed time off.
  • Stop checking emails after work hours.

At Home:

  • Establish a night-time routine to help you relax and get some proper sleep
  • Have a good diet and fitness routine. Exercise has been credited to help with anxiety and depression.
  • Prioritise your mental health and know when you are stress and overwhelmed and ask for some time off if needed.
  • Spend quality time with family and friends, without distractions of work and/or technology.

Most importantly, remember that it’s okay to say no. No to that extra shift, no to helping someone out if your plate is too full, no to travelling for work and no to taking on extra tasks and responsibilities.

Finally, remember that no one truly has it “all”. Executive producer, screenwriter and TV giant Shonda Rhimes conclude, “Anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar.”

 

Why Taking Time Off Is Important

Working too much is a symptom that your work-life balance is off and that there is a possibility that you risk burning out. Burning out leads to fatigue, feeling apathetic and losing motivation to work or to continue with daily life activities. I think most of us feel the stress of work and we feel that WE HAVE to always be working and constantly achieving. All this pressure and stress leads to significant anxiety and depression. I love the story of the employee who emailed her boss to say that she wanted some time off to focus on her mental health and the CEO replied with compassion and kindness. He said in his email sick days for mental health should be a standard practice for all organisations. I believe that taking a day off is so important to our overall wellbeing and taking time off to do nothing and just relax can really do wonders to our overall health and state of mind.

That is why I really enjoyed @WhenWomenInspire’s post because people don’t nearly recognise how important it is to take time off!

Without a doubt, any illness will affect your work performance. But when should you say enough is enough and take some time off?

via When You Should Take Time Off For The Sake Of Your Health — When Women Inspire

7 Apps To Help With Anxiety And Depression

We live in a very busy and stressful world so finding an app to help you take 20 minutes out of your day to focus on yourself can be beneficial to your overall health and mindfulness.

Taking smartphone snapshot of polaroid photos.

1.Calm

Calm is a free app that offers a different set of guided meditations for issues such as self-esteem, managing stress, focus and gratitude.

2.Stop, Breathe and Think

This app provides meditations, allows you to track your process and goals to stop, breathe and think. The app regularly asks you on what your current mood is and what you are currently feeling are and suggest a meditation depending on your mood and anxiety.

3.Happify

Happify helps users to manage their goals and uses positive psychology, mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy to help users feel happier and more emotionally satisfied. This app reminds users to calm down and focus on more positive aspects of life.

4.Pacifica

Similar to Happify, Pacifica uses cognitive behavioural therapy and meditation to help with your low moods and stress. It also has other features such as tracking your mood and health, daily goals and a thought diary to help manage your stress and anxiety symptoms.

Purchase this image at http://www.stocksy.com/517424

5.Code Blue

Code Blue notifies your friends and loved ones of your time and location. While this app was normally created for people suffering from bullying, it is a great app that will contact the people you need in times of public panic attack, in need of physical support, experiencing a severe panic attack or feel that you are about to self-harm. This app will help you get in touch with people you need, right away.

6.Self Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)

Self Help for Anxiety Management otherwise known as SAM is an app that helps you with your anxiety and allows you to create your own personalised anxiety toolbox and suggests tips to help you manage your anxiety, based on your symptoms.

7.Colorfy

Art therapy has been highly credited to help with anxiety and depression. Colorfy is a mindfulness colour book that allows you to relax and take time out of your day by focusing on colouring different and sizes. It’s a great app to try and keep yourself busy and let your mind relax and wonder, instead of going on social media.

 

Do you have any app recommendations?

How To Get Your Sleep Back On Track

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Poor sleep can result in poor performance at work, extreme fatigue, poor concentration at work. Poor sleep can also add to your stress which is a key symptom of developing anxiety and depression.

Poor sleeping patterns, irregular sleep and insomnia are all alarming signs and if you find yourself unable to fall asleep, take actions now:

Set up a routine. To begin with, for the next 14 days make sure that you are going to sleep at the same and waking up at the same time. It will be difficult at first but doing so will help you create a sleeping pattern. A regular sleeping pattern will help you sleep easier and wake up easier. This could result in to more energy to start your day.

Eat healthily. Make sure to eat dinner three hours before going to bed, giving you enough time to digest your food. If you are having trouble sleeping, make sure you stay away from caffeine. In fact, it will be better if you don’t drink caffeine at all as this impacts your anxiety levels. If you MUST drink coffee, stick to one coffee per day and drink this before 2pm.

No technology: Don’t check your phone before going to bed as this just makes your more awake and distracted. Checking your phone for things such as emails, Facebook and social media can add to stress and anxiety and prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. To help you, make sure to set your phone far away from your reach so you are not tempted to reach for it.

No Naps: Taking naps will ultimately ruin your sleep. Even just a short nap could impact on your sleep and sleeping pattern. To help regulate your sleep, avoid taking naps. If you find yourself constantly tossing and turning at night, leave your bedroom and go and sit in dark and quiet space. After a while, go back to your room and try to get some sleep.

We hope that these tips can help you, let us know how you go in the comments below.