Every Day is RU Okay Day - Why discussing your mental health never ends
Today we come together to recognise RU OK Day in Australia. As someone who has had my own ups and downs with mental health, this is a particularly heartfelt topic for me and one I hold very close to my heart.
Right now (likely as a result of the joint trauma we have all experienced through the pandemic, in one way or another), people are becoming much more open in their discussions on mental health. It is such a difficult thing to grasp; unlike the physical problem of injury which all people can, in some way, correlate to, mental health issues can often be a purely subjective experience. There is no one-size-fits-all approach: every experience someone has is different.
But in that, comes a sense of connection. Whenever I struggle with my mental health, which is often, turning to others and talking has always been the best medicine. You find out what they're going through, and maybe, the feelings you've been having are also felt by others. No longer are you trapped in your own box. The feelings are struggles you have, no matter the personal way you felt them, are also struggles others have had. It's okay to not be okay.
Full disclosure, I'm not a medical professional. If you are struggling with your mental health, there are so many wonderful and fantastic organisations out there that can help you. But talking to a friend, being there for someone or having someone there for you... this is the place to start.
Last year, Mental Health Month set a theme that 'we all have a role to play'. While RU OK Day is observed today, and Mental Health Month falls in October, looking after yourself and being kind to yourself is something that you should strive for every day. Mental Health IS your health. You should never stop being kind to yourself.
I fail at this, a lot. But trying to improve your mental health and wellbeing is the most important part. One day, it will become second nature.
How can you look after yourself? Well, Mental Health Australia recommends some small, simple ways to get started:
Getting enough sleep
Eating regularly and healthily
Reducing alcohol consumption
Spending quality time with loved ones or people whose company you enjoy
Learning ways to manage stress
Actively managing your use of electronic devices and consumption of social media
Finding time for things you enjoy such, such as outdoor and creative activities or learning a new skill
Having a laugh!
If you are struggling with your health, there are great organisations like Lifeline (13 11 14) or Beyond Blue that are available. But the best place to start is to sit down with a friend, a family member, and talk. It doesn't matter when. Any day is a good day. Every day is RU OK Day.
I've been very lucky to have written a novel on this topic, and that book saw me through a tough time in my life. Talking about this subject is something I never say no to. I hope you are all doing okay today. If you are reading this, I think you are amazing.
When Men Cry: https://booktopia.kh4ffx.net/vLq6j