Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) has been run annually in New Zealand by the Mental Health Foundation since 1993 and is marked in over 150 countries at different times of the year.
This year’s theme is Reconnect – with the people and places that lift you up, hei pikinga waiora.
The past couple of years have been tough and it’s easy to feel disconnected from the people and places that are important to us. Whether it’s reaching out to someone you have lost contact with, visiting a place that’s special to you or getting outside in nature, we hope you’ll join us this MHAW to reconnect with the people and places that lift you up to enhance your wellbeing – hei pikinga waiora.
The Mental Health Foundation has heaps of resources and ideas to help you reconnect, you can find these on their website but here’s some tips for things to do each day this week:
Monday – Reconnect with Yourself
Connecting with yourself is a skill. To start the week, begin by taking a moment to check in with yourself, acknowledge how you’re feeling and how the last few years of turbulence affected you and your connection with others and the world around you.
Tuesday – Reconnect with a Friend or Loved One
We know life can get busy but feeling connected to the people that are important to us can make a big difference to our mental health. Connection brings purpose and belonging to our lives and makes us feel happier and more secure.
Wednesday – Reconnect with a Special Place
The places and spaces we spend our time in have a huge impact on how we feel. Most of us have places we can go that calm, inspire, or uplift us. Today, make time to go to a place that is special to you and take notice of how you feel when you are there.
Thursday – Reconnect with Your Community
Today is about reconnecting with your hapori whānui/wider community. It’s the perfect time to sign up to be a volunteer or join a local community group, but it could also be as simple as making the effort to reconnect with the people you interact with every day. Today is all about savouring the little hononga/connections that make us human.
Friday – Reconnect with Nature
To round out the week, we’re asking you to reconnect with the beautiful taonga that is te taiao/the natural environment. Studies show exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, it contributes to our physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.