7 Ways to Practice Self Care this Mental Health Month

Mental Health Month is a time to stop and think about our emotional and psychological needs. But how exactly can you satisfy them?

Throughout the creative process of Intangible Goods, we worked with three professionals - mental health clinician Barbara Le Bas, psychologist Dr. Tim Sharp and psychotherapist Charlotte Stapf - to determine what we might need more of in our lives and how we might better look after these mental needs.

Each gave us insights and simple exercises that can improve your wellbeing - many more than we could fit into the final line-up of 10 Intangible Goods. So, for your convenience, we’ve compiled some of them below. Have a read and give them a try this month!

7 WAYS TO PRACTICE SELF CARE

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1) Focus on your cuppa.
Psychotherapist Charlotte Staph encourages you to take your cup of tea or coffee and be present. Sit down with it. Feel the heat of the mug. Smell your brew. Look at the colour of the mug, of your table, of your drink. Notice the sounds around you, but don't listen to them. Now drink it, feel the heat in your mouth, taste the aroma unfolding. Repeat.

2) Prepare a Relaxation Box
Give yourself permission to relax. Barbara Le Bas suggests creating a calming box will allow you to focus on what it is you really love, and what soothes you. A scented candle, your favourite book...Keep it in reserve for when you’re feeling stressed.

3) You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
Smiling eases anxiety and boosts our happiness. So if you’re searching for a sense of self worth and want to extend your social connections, first embrace your own value in and then extend your smile to others. It will bring them closer.

4) Knock on your neighbour’s door
With loneliness and social isolation one of the most crippling mental health problems in Australia, fostering your important relationships is a doing task. Knock on someone’s door. Invite a long lost connection out for coffee. Find ways to meet people through groups and clubs. Put yourself out there.

5) Embrace your inner child - Jump in the rain puddles
Dr Tim Sharp offers this simple gem: Have fun! Focus on playfulness for a positive mood, better health and more creativity. Get away from the nine-to-five and have a dance, go on a rollercoaster. Build ten minutes of free time into your day to play and experiment.

6) Put Yourself in Paradise
Imagine yourself calm and relaxed...maybe on your dream holiday or doing something you love. Then, through this visualisation, aim to recreate that feeling to find calm.

7) Write your own rules
No one is saying you have to make a 5 year plan. But what do your short term, mid term and long term goals look like to you? Do some self-authoring to find out.

Mental Health Month is a time to focus on how to address your needs, and also look out for others. Our 7 tips to help you along, as well as our 10 Intangible Goods products are just some of the ways you can look after yourself and support spreading the word about the importance of our mental health.

GET INVOLVED WITH MENTAL HEALTH MONTH

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Mental Health Month NSW aims to make sure you get out and improve your mood. Below is a list of events in Sydney that will bolster your wellbeing. From film to hikes, and even a mosh pit concert, there is plenty to get stuck into!

Mental Health Film Festival
October 4 - October 24
The Mental Health Film Festival showcases films about characters and their families finding themselves and how support can bring light to dark times.
Learn more

HSC Rescue
October 8 - October 24
Study Space with Pizza, Games, Prizes, Mindfulness & information at Rockdale Library.
Learn more

Mosh for Mental Health
October 13
An intimate all-age live show featuring Yours Truly, Diplazar, Ænon and Afterthought.
Learn more

Wild Women Mental Health Hike
October 14
Join a group of women in a 6km hike along the stunning coastal trails of Sydney, in support of Mental Health Week.
Learn more

Mental Health Nook
October 16
An inviting booth for passersby to relax and learn about mental health care and mental health services, with the opportunity to talk to mental health clinicians at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Learn more

Facebook live with Osher Gunsburg
October 17
Osher Günsberg will be hosting conversations about the state of mental health in NSW with NSW Minister for Mental Health Hon Tanya Davies, NSW Mental Health Commissioner Catherine Lourey, NSW Deputy Mental Health Commissioner Allan Sparkes and WayAhead CEO Elizabeth Priestley.  
Learn more

Music on my Mind at Oxford Art Factory
October 19
A dress up rave to raise funds for mental health charities, featuring Subsonic Music, Return to Rio, Blueprint Entertainment and 43 Degrees Records.
Learn more

Wellness Walk
October 21
A 2km mini walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens and a 5.9km walk over Sydney Harbour Bridge and back.
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Share the Journey @ MCA
October 23
Drop in at the MCA for afternoon tea and social artmaking in the National Centre for Creative Learning. Join a friendly, hands-on gallery tour and bring your own story to contemporary art.
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Share a Cuppa at University of Sydney
October 26
Morning tea hosted at University of Sydney School of Pharmacy where students and staff will be invited to share a cuppa and engage in an open discussion to share experiences and raise awareness for mental health.
Learn more