10th October was Mental Health Awareness Day. I’m generally a supporter of awareness days as a memory-jogger. They remind people of important events and topics which might otherwise slip off the radar. On the flip side, there seems to be a “Day” or “Week” for everything these days! Whoever thought we needed a National Conversation Week? It’s next year, in May if you’re interested. Do we need to wait till then to speak to someone? I do hope not…
And that leads me back to mental health awareness in general. Because the past few months have been surprising for many of us in terms of our mental health. The surprises have been both good, in terms of finding previously untapped resilience, and also not-so good: days when you just feel totally overwhelmed and unable to make decisions, and worse. And we’ve all been there to a greater or lesser extent.
Our mental health has never been so important, and I’d like to use my blog this month to urge you all to take care of yours. Treat it like you would a car, or any other working appliance: maybe a central heating boiler. It’ll work fine for quite a while, usually, without you paying any particular attention to it, and then all of a sudden, something will go wrong, often with expensive consequences, both financial and emotional. Ideally, if you have your car/boiler serviced regularly and given some tlc, you should avoid any major surprises. So, I urge you to think about “servicing” your mental health.
The easiest, cheapest way is to get out walking in nature. I do this every day, with my dogs. It’s amazing how being out in the fresh air, somewhere green, can help to reset an overactive mind. Relaxation apps are great too. So is exercise of any kind (particularly when you feel very disinclined to do it – that’s the time to give yourself a serious nudge and get on with it!). Talking to others, about how you feel, keeping that connection with friends and family, eating well, sleeping properly… the list goes on; there’re lots of resources out there to help us all with our mental health.
When I speak to parents of children and young people with cancer, I’m acutely aware of the toll that their situation takes on their mental health, along with that of the rest of the family. Add the extra restrictions and complications that this pandemic brings, and it’s a pretty toxic curve ball that’s been tossed to them. This Mental Health Awareness Day, I thought of them especially.
But let’s remember that mental health is a year-round consideration for all of us. So please, on behalf of all of us at Supershoes, take care of your mental health. Don’t think that just because you feel “fine”, you can ignore it. Keep doing the stuff that will keep it well-maintained, so that in troubled times, you’ve banked some important resilience that helps you cope.
In the meantime, Supershoes will continue to do what we can for children and young people with cancer: sending out the gift of Supershoes to bring some positive mental wellbeing into their lives. It’s our contribution to them.
With peace, love and gratitude