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Take time for Queensland Mental Health Week
This week is Queensland Mental Health Week and it’s a chance to consider what we can do to take better care of our mental health and wellbeing.
You don’t have to be struggling to start putting your mental health first. Getting the tools in place and creating a strong mental health practice can help you build resilience for tough times.
The theme of mental health week this year is Take Time for Mental Health and is an opportunity for all of us to take the time to stop and reflect on what we can do to improve our mental health and wellbeing.
The Wheel of Wellbeing can be a great guide for enhancing our mental health and wellbeing. It’s a framework informed by international research and positive psychology, which provides simple strategies that you can implement every day. It’s a tool designed to help us all be happier, healthier and more mentally resilient.
Headspace has used the research conducted into the Wheel of Wellbeing to inform their Take a Step initiative which has been developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and focuses on eight areas of your life to improve your mental health and wellbeing.
The eight areas are:
1) Strong culture
For many people, culture is central to their identity and wellbeing. Being strong in culture can include learning about and celebrating stories, connecting with Elders and community, exploring what culture means to you and practicing it when you can.
2) Strong spirit
Taking care of your spirit can help you feel grounded, positive and confident in who you are. Being strong in spirit can be about where your ancestors lived, connection to the spiritual world and your belief system. It can also be about where you practice culture. Connecting to the earth, the world around you and others will help your spirit thrive. By giving back to those around you can help your spirit grow strong and healthy.
3) Strong mind
We all get stressed and feel a bit mentally tired at times. Sometimes we get stuck stressing about things that have happened that we can’t change. Or even things in the future that haven’t happened or may never happen. When we have trouble dealing with the stress, it can lead to poor mental health, and we can turn to unhealthy things to help us feel better. Learning positive coping strategies can help you break the stress cycle. Things like meditation or mindfulness, painting, artistic activities, or simply sitting quietly on country can help you rest your mind.
4) Strong identity
Your identity is how you understand yourself and often how others understand you. It encompasses everything that makes you who you are and can be a reflection of how your spirit is feeling. One way to maintain a strong identity is to spend time doing things that you enjoy and that feel right for you. This might be connecting to community, family and friends, or culture. Or it could involve participating in activities that make you feel good about yourself.
5) Strong purpose
Having a strong purpose gives you the direction, drive and motivation to achieve what you want from your life. A strong purpose will help you feel better able to confront challenges and add positively to the lives of others. Setting goals is a great way to start building a sense of purpose. By setting, striving for and achieving goals, you can keep your spirit and mind strong and help your overall wellbeing.
6) Strong place
Strong places feel special to us, help us feel connected and help us recharge when things start to get difficult. Some ways to stay connected to your strong place can include physically being on or in your strong place, getting back on country or returning to your hometown. If you can’t physically be there, try simply sitting in your room reflecting or recreating your strong place.
7) Strong body
Taking care of your body by eating well and staying active has a profound impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Just 30 minutes a day of moving your body and doing an activity you enjoy is enough to start seeing changes in your mood and health.
8) Strong relationships
Close relationships with friends and family can add up to seven years to your life. That’s the same benefit as giving up smoking! Working hard to cultivate meaningful and valuable relationships is a great way to improve your mental health and wellbeing. Have a look at our How to Check in with Mob article for some tips on how you can work on building meaningful relationships with those closest to you.
Because everyone is different, the way you choose to take care of your mental health and wellbeing will be different too. Some people love yoga, while others would like to be at a BBQ with friends. The important thing is that both activities are great ways to make time for you and to connect with one or more of the elements of the Wheel of Wellbeing.