Mental Health Awareness Day

Monday the 10th October was Mental Health Awareness Day. It was great to see a lot of social media on the subject and I enjoyed reading some interesting blogs. But after a busy week at the Knitting and Stitching show – I didn’t join in… because I was taking a ‘health day’!2016-09-15-18.54.12.jpg.jpg

We are all human and we need down-time and rest in order to function well both mentally and physically. This can be problematic for self-employed people who often feel they don’t have time or can’t afford to take a day off.

When I became self-employed in 2014 I introduced ‘health days’ into my diary in the hope that I could avoid ‘sick days’! Sometimes this would mean looking ahead in my diary and blanking out a day to do nothing (apart from knit!). Sometimes it would be the result of feeling stressed/under the weather and I would make the decision to have a health day because I knew that I would be more productive for the rest of the week if I took some down-time.

Looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health. Regardless of whether or not we suffer from a physical illness, we exercise and eat healthily (or try to!) in order to look after our bodies. I sometimes forget that I need to do the same for my mind. We don’t wait until we get ill to look after our physical health – so why not look after our mental health in the same way? How you do this will be individual to you – but for me, I often need to take some quiet time on my own -go for a walk, do some knitting, have a nap, process things and re-charge.

Now that I am both employed and self-employed, my health days are just as important but a little more difficult to fit in! And time is the key element here. To look after our minds and bodies takes time…and that’s not always easy to find.

So my health day on Monday didn’t mean a day off – but I made sure I only did work I enjoy (knitting badgers), whilst wearing pyjamas and watching Falling Skies (Noah Wyle from ER chasing aliens whilst looking lovely but a little awkward with a rifle). What better way to spend Mental Health Awareness Day than being mindful of my own mental health and having a rest?!

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness and mental health recently as I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the Moody Blanket Knit-along. I started reading a bit about Hygge and I think I might put together a little suggested reading list for Moody Blanket knitters! Danish people are the happiest people in the world so I’d love to know more about why this is and the effect of hygge.

I’m really looking forward to knitting my Moody Blanket next year and giving myself that bit of time each day to ask ‘how am I?’. If you want to join in you can find out more here x

6 thoughts on “Mental Health Awareness Day

  1. Yes I agree completely with this Jem! I have had anxiety issues for a long time,probably since I was a child which left unresolved have manifested in the last 13 years of my life. I want to take part in the Moody blanket KAL but fear that it may all be reflecting dull days!

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    1. I feared this when I knitted my Mood Scarf but I was pleasantly surprised by how often I felt happy/okay! Even reflecting on the dark days can be a good thing because it allows you to process those thoughts and feelings x

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  2. What a brilliant piece Jem. I completely agree with you. As I have got older, I have become more aware of my mental health, and I know that the late autumn/winter can be a time of year when I may struggle a little more, than during the summer for example. Keeping busy helps me, and in recent years crafting generally, whether knitting or sewing or making jewellery, has become ever more important to me. I really like your idea of ‘health days’, it is so important to have time for oneself. Thank you for your gentle reminder! Hoping to sign up for the KAL soon. Nicola x

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  3. I really like this and think that more employers should have ‘health days’ as people would just feel so much better and return more productive. The pressures of work and life pile up sometimes and some people, rather than admit it to themselves, transfer it on to others. I’m a teacher, one of the most stressful professions and you’d be surprised at how little sympathy there is for a burnt-out teacher. People consider you ‘weak’ and it’s all about when you can return to work. Sure enough, you have a certain responsibility to the children but being pushed like that isn’t going to inspire passion and commitment. So I speak for myself when I applaud mental health days but have a slight suspicion that I’m not alone in this mindset. Thanks for the post!

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