Mental-Health Awareness Week promotes and celebrates some truly wonderful initiatives that are supporting  people across the globe with their mind health.

There’s arguably never been a more important time to shine a spotlight on this topic. COVID-19 and the global pandemic has had an impact on people from all walks of life.

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mental state positive and healthy. To support Mental Health Awareness Week, we at WorkClub have identified seven simple acts you can do yourself, over seven days, to put you on the right path toward a happier and healthier mental state.

Yoga

A study in 2017 exploring the links between exercise and mental health stated that 50% of people who suffered from depression felt their symptoms drastically improve after partaking in weekly yoga classes.

On your first day, schedule in a little time to do yoga. While there are many online classes, Simply Yoga is a great app to get started. Their poses are well-visualised, instructions clear, and it’s simple to follow along at home.

If you’re a total beginner to yoga, try the 5-Minute Yoga app. As stated, all it takes is five minutes of your time, and you can easily build this habit on a daily basis. You can also head to Auro Fit for 30-days free yoga & fitness training sessions.

Meditation

Studies have shown that just a few minutes of mindfulness meditation, every day, can drastically improve your mental health and reduce anxiety.

On your second day, commit yourself to ten minutes of meditation. You won’t need any specialist equipment, and you can do this at any time of the day.

Calm is a great app to help you. Their simple, guided meditation sessions will help you relax your mind and focus your thinking to the present. We would also suggest checking out Pop & Rests sleep pods!

Anxiety support

There’s a huge taboo around talking about mental health. Society still largely tells us to ‘get on with it’ or ‘man up and deal with it,’ which only exacerbates the feeling of helplessness.

Thankfully, there are trained professionals who know how to help you. Seeking help from these people is not something you should be ashamed of in any way.

On your third day, call up one of the free mental health helplines, and simply talk to someone about the way you’re feeling.

The NHS’s IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) is an excellent place to start. Their helpline will give you access to qualified mental health nurses who can talk through your symptoms and offer you support.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise are well documented, particularly around mental health. But, for many of us, the thought of putting on fancy gear and heading down to a gym can be overwhelming.

Dancing is a great way to exercise. Simply plug in your music and let loose to some of your favorite songs through apps like Spotify or YouTube.

If you want something with a little more structure, even a simple 5-7 minute workout of high-volume exercises, such as star jumps and burpees, is a great way to build the habit of doing a little exercise every day.

Nike Training Club is a free app, and gives you access to more than 100 workouts. They are simple to follow, and there are workouts for all skill levels.

Face-to-face chats

In the current climate, it’s very easy to find yourself isolated. Particularly for freelancers or remote professionals who live and work alone, sometimes days can pass by without any physical interaction with other humans.

While physically meeting people may not be possible, studies show that simply switching a voice call to a face-to-face call can do wonders for our mental state.

For your fifth day, schedule a 30-60-minute FaceTime or Zoom call with a few of your friends or family. Have that face-to-face interaction your body is craving. You’ll feel so much better afterwards.

Journal/gratitude writing

Switching from a negative to positive mindset doesn’t happen overnight. It is a skill that needs to be practiced over weeks and months.

On your sixth day, start a gratitude journal. If you don’t have a journal, just use some loose paper. When you wake up in the morning, grab your pen and journal, and write down ten things you are grateful for.

Overtime, you’ll train yourself to spend your time thinking about everything that is good in your life, and not continually focus on the things that bring stress and anxiety to you. Scribble and Dot have some awesome journals too.

Sleep more

Plenty of studies have been conducted showing the overwhelming link between reduced sleep and anxiety and depression.

On your seventh day, try to get at least seven hours of sleep that night. Set yourself a technology curfew, at say 9pm, and don’t look or interact with your devices. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’. Over-exposure to blue light is a key factor behind our reduced sleeping patterns.

If you’re curious about the number of hours and quality of your sleep, apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Tracker can help you visualise your sleeping patterns. You can run them on your phone in the background, without them distracting you.

Remember, change happens with small acts of self-kindness. Improving our mental health is a journey, not a final destination. Keep these acts simple, and only spend a little amount of time doing each one. You’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel after completing each one.