2020 has been a really, really, really (!) strange year. Whilst we rolled in Big Ben’s famous midnight chimes with celebratory drinks on 31st December 2019, most of our glasses were half full with the prospect of a fabulous, fruitful year ahead. We would wish for 2020, the start of a new decade, to be just like the roaring twenties! Well... it certainly has been a roar so far.
We have seen a large handful of major historic events happen this year, which I won't go into detail about! Nevertheless, reflecting on things that have impacted us all is vital for our mental health as it helps us to analyse our own lives on a deeper level.
You may be unaware that it's World Mental Health day this Saturday 10th October and that's okay. There are so many things going on in the world at the moment so it's easy to bypass this type of event. But I think we could all use this day to spend a little time reflecting and checking in on ourselves. It's a funny world we're living in at the moment with lots of uncertainties. However, this is all the more reason to take a step back and properly analyse how we really feel and do this as regularly as we personally feel necessary. It's an excellent way to practise a little mindfulness whilst taking a moment to breathe. If something is bothering me or demanding my attention I try to break it down into sizeable chunks and make a plan on how to fix it. I'm the type of person that needs a plan so this is my way of dealing with negative feelings/problems/situations. You may do something different, but what is important is that we are able to recognise any issues and manage our daily stressors. What works for you?
Whilst problem solving and writing down my goals really encourages me to keep on top of my mental well-being, I also find helping others where I can to be really rewarding. A quote written by Catherine Ross, the founding director of Museumand (The National Caribbean Heritage Museum) discusses this October's Black History Month as a time to be reflective but also present in the way we can support others... “Black History Month 2020 is also a time to look forward and celebrate the here and now – and the future possibilities. In years gone by, October has been the only time of year when the UK talks about the achievements of Black people in Britain. Hopefully, the events of 2020 will be a catalyst for Black history to be shared much more widely – in museums, galleries, schools, universities, public spaces and communities.”
It is enlightening to think that some of the tragic events of this year may in actual fact be a huge driver for change in so many areas. I for one, amongst other things, am making even more of a conscious effort to support Black owned businesses in the lead up to the gifting season. Albeit that alone may seem like a small gesture, it is actually vital more than ever that we are doing whatever it takes to build each other up and keep each other afloat. It also amazes me how many talented, independent business owners there are out there to be found. I've recently been part of an online workshop full of extremely uplifting, powerful entrepreneurs who are so multi talented, pushing their businesses and getting their names out there.
It is astounding how many incredible products and services are on offer in just London alone as opposed to gravitating towards our usual Amazon or big corp companies for our purchases. Taking interest in small businesses really makes me feel content. It really is gratifying knowing I am helping in a small way. It is what keeps me grounded and is how we, as a community, thrive and support one another during this rough ride.
So, what I will be continuing to do to support my mental health and wellbeing is:
- Regularly taking some time to check in with myself. Identify what I can do if I'm not feeling 100%
- Remember what others may be going through too - what can I do to help?
- Look out for what is going on in my local community. What small businesses can I support at this difficult time and beyond? Can I purchase and/or help spread their message?
These are personal points for myself so may differ from yours. I'd be intrigued to know yours!
Anyway, I hope it being Black History Month throughout October and World Mental Health Day this Saturday allows us all to take some time to reflect and in essence, just be kind to one another. We always need kindness in order to grow our community!