When we think about setting a goal for our health, we often jump straight to physical goals like running an extra kilometre, lifting heavier weights, or increasing stretching. But when was the last time you set a goal for your mental health? While we all want to feel a little happier or less stressed, it’s rare that we put an actionable goal in place.
In celebration of Mental Health week, we encourage you to set 1 actionable goal. For each goal set, 101 Collins will donate $10 to leading mental health organisation SANE. To reward you for your effort, once you have completed your goal, head to RISE to pick up a goodie bag.
When setting your goal, ensure that it benefits your mental wellbeing by considering the five key pillars that contribute to positive emotional wellbeing.
How connected we feel to our friends, family and community is a strong predictor of mental health. Feelings of loneliness and isolation can also impact our physical wellbeing through sleep disorders and a weakened immune system. Take the time to reflect on whether you feel supported and safe by those around you.
What actions do you take to increase your connections with your neighbours, friends, colleagues, or even your barista? Try setting a goal to check in with a loved one each week to ensure that the support you give is equal to the support you take.
There is no greater mood booster than a rush of endorphins. Exercise has well known benefits for wellbeing, including improved self-esteem and reduced feelings of depression. If lacking motivation is a factor, start with a goal to incorporate incidental exercise like walking to the train station or shops. You only need to walk at least 20 minutes per day to meet the minimum government guidelines for exercise. Better yet, make a goal to walk with a friend or group to increase both connection and physical activity.
Mindfulness isn’t just meditation or relaxation. Typically, mindfulness encourages us to live in the present. We all know the feeling of racing thoughts that won’t switch off, especially around bedtime. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep or concentrating during the day, mindfulness might be the key. Mindfulness techniques are designed to reduce stress and anxiety levels, while increasing focus. If we can focus for longer, we are more likely to successfully achieve what we set out to do. Mindfulness apps such as ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’ offer quick 5-minute guided meditations. Better yet, set a goal to attend a sound bath or meditation class at RISE to incorporate mindfulness, physical activity, and connection for an efficient way to improve mental wellbeing.
Nourishment is the fuel we give our bodies, each day. Eating well reduces mood swings and feelings of depression, while increasing concentration and memory. Foods that are known to boost our mood include fresh fruit and veggies and foods high in omega 3 such as salmon. What you may not know, is that eating well is not just about what we eat but also how we eat. Do you have lunch at your desk or eat dinner while binging Netflix? To boost your nourishment, set a goal to practice mindfulness when eating. Take note of the appearance, smell, texture, and taste of your food to improve your physical and mental fulfillment at mealtimes. Consciously acknowledging the way food makes us feel may lead to better decision making the next time you are grocery shopping.
The idea of more work spent on more training may seem counterintuitive for one’s mental health but upskilling can actually have the opposite effect and boost overall wellbeing with benefits such as increased confidence and sense of achievement. The benefits of upskilling can lead to a strong sense of purpose through career advancement and job satisfaction as well as increased efficiency in our day-to-day life. When was the last time you learnt a new skill? As children, we are constantly learning, our minds are open to what each day brings. As adults, we begin to close ourselves off to opportunities to learn. It can be as simple as setting a goal to learn that new cooking technique you’ve been meaning to try.
After reading through the five pillars, you may have felt that one or two areas stood out to you more. This might be due to preference, or you might feel committed to improving your physical health specifically.
When setting a goal, it’s helpful to consider the ‘why’. Why is this goal important, and why is it important for me right now? This might be tricky to answer, and your answers might correlate with your values, identity, and motivation. When considering your goal, it’s also important to reflect on the feelings and emotions that are attached. For example, setting a goal to run 5km may align with your exercise buddy but how would the success of that goal make you feel? Attaching emotions to goals improves our chances of success, while also increasing awareness of our mental wellbeing. So, when creating your mental health goal ask yourself, how would I feel if I were to reach success? If that emotion is positive and contributes towards your mental health, then you’re on the right track!
Achieving Your Goal
The hardest part of any goal is sticking to it. There will always be difficult times that prevent our ability and motivation. While some deviation is part of the journey, we want to trust that we can get back on track when needed. The best goal you can set is one that aligns with your lifestyle and limitations.
Do What You Can
A few minutes a day of tackling your goal is always better than nothing. If you’re having trouble finding the motivation, remind yourself that you only need to put in 1 or 2 minutes towards your goal. Once you get started, you’ll find it’s easier to keep going.
Something to note is that you are always able to revaluate. If you find that your goal feels unachievable, it may be time to consider setting another goal or find a way to make your current one more attainable. It may not be the right time for that particular goal, or perhaps your goal can be adapted to fit your current lifestyle.
Set Your Goal
What is your goal for Mental Health Week?
Why is this goal important right now?
How will you feel if you succeed in achieving your goal?
How will this goal/feeling impact your mental health?
What is the first step you need to take to get started?
What support do you require to achieve this goal?
Reach Out For Help
If you are unsure how or where to get started, we encourage you to chat with our friendly RISE staff. Our instructors are here to support you through every stage of your health and wellbeing goals.
Written by Danielle Thomas, Head of Pilates at RISE.
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