When you cut your finger, you might reach for the first aid kit, perhaps apply some antiseptic cream to help it heal and prevent infection, and then put a plaster on the cut to protect it. Easy right? We have all done this dozens of times in our lives.
So what do you do when you experience a psychological injury? How do you bandage your mind when you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed? Do you have a wellbeing first aid kit to go to when you are having a bit of a wobble? We are often focussed on our physical wellbeing, but neglect of our mental wellbeing, yet this is often the part of us that day-to-day suffers a little cut here, a knock there, and then a fall.
So here is something you can do to create your very own, personalised mental health first aid kit.
Write down at least 10 things that you enjoy doing and have no negative side effects.
For example: listening to happy songs, painting, reading, going for a walk in nature, speaking with a friend, spending time with pets, performing a random act of kindness, etc.
- Must be things YOU enjoy, not what your partner, friends or family enjoy - Try to think of things that you can easily access and are relatively quick, eg. 30 mins. - Keep the list somewhere you can access it easily and see it regularly, e.g. notes in phone, on fridge door or dressing table mirror, etc.
Now, when you are feeling stressed, anxious or in a low mood, pick one or two from your list and do them, e.g. doodling while listening to happy songs playlist.
Put your own oxygen mask on first - you can’t effectively care and give to others unless you are in a good state yourself. This is not selfish, its self care and it is essential to your wellbeing.