Hello and welcome to Sundaze with Moderas, where I share top-of-mind thoughts, videos, links, interesting reads that I came across during the week, for you to read on your Sunday. They will primarily be centered around sustainability, fashion, and design, but it could be anything, really! I had asked my followers if they’d like an email newsletter or a blog feature – they chose the latter. But if you would like a dose of interesting reads on a lazy Sunday delivered to your inbox – I’m still figuring it out, so watch this space.
This week, we talk about mental health! World Mental Health Day just passed us by on October 10. It’s a topic that’s close to my heart, and I think I can use the platform I have to talk about it, and hopefully shatter the stigma in a small way.
This edition of Sundaze talks about my learnings on mental health, & resources I’ve come across.
What’s on my mind?
Getting help for your mental health is hard, when it really shouldn’t be. It’s weird, isn’t it? We’d go to a doctor for a cold but not for help with a bit of anxiety, because “it’s not a big deal”. The good days you have sometimes make you feel as though things aren’t that bad after all, hence you don’t need help.
But mental illness is real, even if it’s invisible. It can affect physical wellbeing, ability to function at work, and motivations – even the will to live. Please don’t disregard it, and please don’t belittle those who struggle with it. Mental health is as important as physical health. It can’t be solved with positivity, or “get over it” attitudes. Would you ask your friend who has a fever to “get over it”? You wouldn’t, right? So please approach this with empathy, and help your loved ones, take them to a doctor, help them with their lifestyles to get better. Don’t isolate them.
For those going through it: it’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to get help to become ok. You are not weak for seeking help, or for crying at your desk when things get too stressful, or for taking a day off when your mind isn’t letting you get out of bed. I have the privilege of working at a company where my mental health matters, and the good fortune of great managers who are ready to listen and help. Similarly, find your support group – it could be friends or family or just one person – and ask them to help you out. It’ll be okay.
Mental Health Resources for you
If you’re struggling with your mental health – whether it’s a bit of stress at work, or longstanding issues – know that you deserve to get help and no issue is too small. It doesn’t have to be chronic depression for you to get some help.
Would you like to go to a therapist but don’t know how to find one? iCall’s crowdsourced list of Mental Health Professionals We Can Trust has therapists for almost every major city in India, along with contact details, areas of speciality, and groups they work with. Practo can also help you source good leads.
Is therapy too expensive? Try using iCall’s helpline to speak to a professional, who will provide free counseling through telephone, email and chat to anyone in need of emotional support.
Have you tried yoga? It’s actually a great way to center yourself and be more mindful. And if you’re handling mental health on your own, yoga classes would be something you can keep up and won’t set off red flags with people around you [if you’re concerned about that]. Also you could develop some great flexibility. There are probably yoga classes wherever you live. Or try any other exercise – I love Zumba and Vijaya Tupurani’s playlist for an hour-long workout with upbeat songs usually help me feel good, and sleep better.
If nothing works, just breathe. It’ll be okay. Have a little hope to tide you through the day, and repeat the next day. Call a friend, ask them to distract you. Take yourself out to distract yourself. Put the phone down. Do things you used to like and see if it helps. Build habits that are easy, like bullet journaling or gratefulness lists. You got this.
Mindfulness – a game changer
Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. [source]
Whenever there’s conversation around mental health, meditation and mindfulness are quick to follow. And for good reason – mindfulness has been proven to reduce anxiety & improve cognitive function. From personal experience, I’ve found that mindfulness (either through a bit of breathing or meditation) helps clear my head and makes things clearer and quieter.
There are now numerous resources to help you be more mindful. Some apps include Headspace (which I love), and Calm. But if you just want to meditate in a moment, watch the video below.
How do you live in the moment?
The million dollar question – how do you live in the moment? The two most common mental illnesses, anxiety and depression, seem to occur as a result of not living in the moment; anxiety happens when you anticipate the future (or fear of), and depression, as an after-effect of the past. Mindfulness is one tool you can utilise to take each moment as it comes, but this video helps put into perspective as to why we don’t feel in the moment.
Empathy is key
One of my top moments in the last week was the mental health events that happened at my workplace. Listening to stories from my coworkers on their mental health left me with one thought – “I need to go into situations with more empathy for those around me”. You never know what someone is going through. Everyone has their struggles that you may have no idea about. Keep an open mind, listen when someone wants to talk to you, and just be nice to those around you. You never know, you could be making their lives easier for that day.
Another top moment? Meeting Jovanny Ferreyra from The Artidote, and listening to his journey, his challenges, and hosting his talk at my workplace. I’ll never forget that. He has changed the lives of so many people, built a global community that thrives on empathy, and is making mental health matter, over every damn thing. What an honour it was.
And that’s all for this week! I hope this helped in a small way, if you’re struggling. Help is out there.
What was your favourite feature from this mental health post? Let me know in the comments.