We asked 6 people to share the practice that keeps their mental health in check
We spend a lot of time and energy focusing on our physical health – making sure we’re getting in our daily exercise, following a crafted skin care regime and eating just right. Our mental health, on the other hand often falls by the wayside, neglected.
Today marks World Mental Health Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues, and to fighting the still-associated stigma. It’s the 25th year since the first World Mental Health Day; and over that past quarter century much has been done to start removing the stigma and encouraging people to get help and spend time focusing on not only their physical health, but mental health too.
To mark the day, we asked 6 individuals from extreme athletes to travel bloggers to yogis to fitness enthusiasts for the one thing they do for themselves and their mental health.
For me it’s a combination of two things that keeps my mind sane. Running has always been the best way for me to release energy and let my thoughts just wander, it’s active me-time. In addition, the 25 hour Jewish Shabbat which bans all forms of technology and work has become more and more valuable as I’ve grown up, as it forces me to stop, completely switch off and reset on a weekly basis.
For others it’s meditation, podcasts or nature, there’s no right or wrong practice, just the practice that’s right for you. Read on for more ways to focus on your mental health and share how you do it in the comments below.
Nature contact is for me the best form of therapy. This can be a walk on the beach or in the mountains, sitting in the sun or next to a river. The energy of nature is healing and transformative in itself.
– Matt Bush, free-solo climber
This year I celebrate 11 years with a mental health ‘issue’. It gets easier when you learn to love yourself for YOU – always remember that you are unique and aren’t meant to be like anyone else. Something that has really helped me this last year is writing everything down in a journal. It can be anything from documenting my day to 10-pages of self-reflection. Get it OUT and take pen to paper. Also, I wouldn’t be ME without my Yoga. It is my strength and my mat is my therapist. You are amazing, beautiful, special, unique & perfectly, imperfect. Happy Mental Health Day.
– Tammy Lambson, travel blogger at Travel with Lamb and yoga teacher
I listen to Podcasts while I am driving to where I need to go to in the morning. I love Lewis Howes as he’s super inspirational and focuses on how to be the best you, ways to find your greatness and live your dreams, despite life’s challenges.
– Thamar Houliston, endurance coach.
I meditate for 10 minutes tops. This has always been a helpful tool for my spiritual fruitfulness and growth. However I’ve discovered how much of an aid it is for my mental well-being as well.
It can get difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life, but taking 10 minutes in the morning to meditate helps calm the mind and relieve stress. While there may be different ways to do this (and for different reasons) it is a great way to find your inner peace, allowing you to work productively and stay positive throughout the day.
Keep calm and meditate
Meditate and keep calm.
– Neo Matsei, social media strategist
Move your body, breathe deeply, and experience that strong mind-body connection that we possess.
-Eon Swiegers, yoga teacher
If we ran all the time without resting you can be sure you will pick up an injury that will stop you from running. The same happens when we think all the time and don’t give ourselves a break from the incessant flow of information we are receiving daily. The only difference is the ramifications are far more serious. I find switching my phone off for periods each day and disconnecting from social media to reduce the stimulus you are feeding your mind helps immediately. And consider a daily meditation practice where you train yourself to focus on your breath and watch your thoughts go by instead of allowing them to take you in a million different directions all the time. If you struggle with just sitting still in silence, there are many options out there for you. Try Osho meditations, they are incredible. Meditation will change the quality of your life.
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Main image by Zissy Lewin, Graphics by Feige Lewin