Darkness Into Light, supported by Electric Ireland, takes place in 120 venues across Ireland on Saturday, May 6th, at 4.15am. Darkness Into Light supports Pieta House's life-saving work, allowing them to continue to provide free therapeutic services to people in suicidal crisis, who are self-harming or have been bereaved by suicide. You can find out more about Darkness Into Light here.
Now, more than ever, people are talking about their loved ones' and their own personal wellbeing
The thing is, even though the conversation is open, we are still whispering about it. Wellness ambassadors like Alison Canavan and Bressie have certainly helped to make people realise that they are not alone in feeling alone, or anxious or blue and recent campaigns have really encouraged us, as a nation, to break the taboo surrounding mental health.
But while we're aware that looking after our personal wellbeing is important, sometimes taking those steps towards being in a positive state of mind is easier said than done. However, it can be done, and it doesn't mean you have to make big changes to the way you live your life.
More and more people in Ireland are opening up about their mental health issues. If you are struggling, it's worth contacting a health professional. However, on an everyday basis, keep in mind these seven points that will help keep your personal wellbeing in check.
Having a natter about your feelings is not just for girly sleepovers, and it is not, I repeat not ever a sign of weakness. Admitting that you're not feeling 100% is, in fact, an incredibly strong thing to do. Of course, bringing up the subject sometimes isn't easy, but whoever you confide in will be glad you opened up.
It goes the other way too. If a friend or family member opens up to you, listen. You don't have to give advice if you're uncomfortable, but letting them know you're there for them is a level of support that they need. Friendships and relationships that go both ways are important for wellbeing from every point of view. It helps you see things from another perspective, which can sometimes put another helpful angle on your own feelings.
Therefore, keeping in touch with loved ones is an essential part of looking after your mental health. Arrange regular meet-ups with your family and friends. Even if you don't feel like chatting, once you make the connection you won't regret it. Joining clubs and groups, like a sports team or a choir, can also expand your social circle and do wonders for your confidence.
Eat well / Drink sensibly
It's so easy to fall into a bad eating routine, but takeaways and junk and processed food are not good for your physical or mental health. Of course you're entitled to treat yourself every so often - there is nothing wrong with that, in fact, you deserve it! - but being mindful of what you put into your body can make an overall difference to your personal wellbeing. The same applies to alcohol; a drink here or there amongst friends is a lovely experience, but overdoing it not only has the potential to make you feel physically sick, it also decreases motivation and zaps energy.
Exercise doesn't just increase energy levels; it uses up excess energy. Keeping fit doesn't mean you should feel under pressure to develop a six-pack, but being active can improve sleep patterns and your concentration. Even a half an hour walk a day can help to manage stress.
On the other side of the spectrum, getting enough sleep is so important for your overall health. It's easier said than done, of course, especially in this hectic day and age we live in, but there are ways to help improve your quality of sleep. Exercising is beneficial, so is avoiding alcohol and caffeine at night time. Developing a sleep routine is a nice way to set off to dreamland: turn off electronic devices a half hour before your bedtime; designate a winding down time to read or get your outfit ready for the next day; go to bed and get up at the same times each day (including the weekends)
Take a break
Give yourself a break. You don't have to be busy the whole time. Everyday life can be stressful, and fitting in everything - exercising, cooking, socialising, eight hours sleep, can sometimes start to feel like a chore. Take a treat day and get your hair done, have a manicure, watch a movie. And get away from it all every so often; that's why holidays were invented.
Brought to you by: Pieta House's Darkness Into Light supported by Electric Ireland
You can find out more about Darkness Into Light here.