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A Mental Health Check-In

A Mental Health Check-In

A Mental Health Check-In


Cultivating our health - physical and mental - requires additional attention this year. 

Says WHO: “This year’s World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye.”

In the spirit of coping and even thriving in what has proved to be a very different year, here are three acts we likely have larger capacity for this year. Carpe diem!

01. Long Walks

It’s been said before but the moment feels especially right. What’s not to love about walking? It’s free, easy to do, and easy on the joints. The physical health benefits are numerous, including lower risk of blood clots (since the calf acts as a venous pump), contracting and pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart, reducing the load on the heart. 

On the emotional front, walking is a mood lightener, releasing natural pain-killing endorphins to the body. Studies have also found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk. When’s the last time you came back from a walk in a worse mood than when you started off?

The kicker? A slow down in mental decline. A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17% decline in memory, as opposed to a 25% decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week. Grab a mask, your headphones and go! (Source: Arthritis Foundation)

02. Better Conversations

For those living with loved ones, the extended time at home has probably had its ups and downs. We’re grateful for the lack of external distractions that allows for more meaningful interactions. But we’re also sharing the same space for longer periods without solitary interludes to decompress, and that can take its toll. 

Balance is partly the answer, but so is ‘better’, a word integral to Himêya’s philosophy. Rather than more, we’re championing quality: the skill of having real conversations over small talk, the gift of discovering how someone is really doing. 

TED talks, books and Instagram advice are plenty and helpful as daily reminders. More than anything, introspection is key. Take a moment to think outside yourself and about the problems of those around you. It’s possible you don’t know enough or haven’t asked in a while. Empathy is the way through and forward.

03. Creative Pursuits

If there is a hobby you’ve been unable to pursue due to social commitments, we recommend switching up your schedule. Writing short fiction, jigsaw puzzles, baking banana bread or whatnot… we all have hidden talents, childhood passions and personal bucket lists that stimulate us creatively. Not only does this improve mental faculties, but it also turns the focus temporarily away from bigger problems, the news, or whatever is currently weighing on us. 

If you find yourself unable to concentrate, try deep breathing, a soothing bath or guided meditation. Let 2020 go down as the year you began a conscious, active practice to Live Better.