World Mental Health Day: 10 Helpful Habits

World Mental Health Day – 10 October – is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide.

The Australian Counselling Association is a proud partner of Mental Health Australia, who are leading the World Mental Health Day campaign in Australia.

This World Mental Health Day – Monday 10 October – the message is simple: “Look after your mental health, Australia.”

1 in 5 Australians are affected by mental illness annually, yet many don’t seek help because of stigma. During the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritising mental health and wellbeing has been more important than ever.

We encourage all Australians to make mindful habits for mental health, not just this October, but always. Here are 10 tips that may help you or someone you know.

Stay active

Exercise increases wellbeing and helps reduce symptoms of common mental health concerns. Your gym may have closed or your fitness groups may be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise! Yoga, Pilates, HI IT routines – all can be done in a relatively small space and with no equipment. Have a search on the internet for free workout videos and guides.

Eat well

Eating a nutritious diet is great for both your physical and mental health. As much as possible, try and stick to a healthy diet even as your activities and environment change.

Connect with others

COVID-19 may have made connecting with others trickier, but social connection is more important than ever. When many of us faced lockdown, physical distancing, and travel restrictions, we relied on technology to talk to our friends and family. Where possible, try to connect with others by going out for a coffee or meal together, seeing a film, or going to an event. Reach out to your neighbours and community. Share how you’re feeling and invite others to share with you.

world mental health day helpful habits

Do something you enjoy each day

Do things that make you feel physically and emotionally comfortable, engaging in activities that make you feel safe and calm. Continue to do the things you enjoy as much as possible.

Limit media consumption (and choose trusted sources)

Choose how often you engage with news and social media and be sure to find news sources that are trustworthy and factual. Add in some content that makes you laugh and feel comfortable wherever possible.

Keep to a routine

Keep to your regular routine as much as possible, including exercise, sleep, daily chores, work, recreational activities and connecting with others.

world mental health day helpful habits

Get an early night

Prioritise getting enough sleep each night to help you feel more energised and focused during the day. Getting enough rest is the foundation to protecting your mental health.

Be kind to yourself

Remind yourself that there is no right or wrong reaction to the uncertainties of the pandemic, or to worrying events. Allow yourself extra grace if your productivity and motivation have been impacted by the changing environment.

Maintain perspective

While this is an uncertain time, try and view these changes with openness and acceptance. Remind yourself of things you’re grateful for and things you’ve learned.

world mental health day helpful habits

Seek help

It’s normal to experience anxiety and stress resulting from the pandemic. Talking to a Registered Counsellor or Psychotherapist can help you through it. With ACA’s Find a Counsellor tool you can search for a practitioner in your region.