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The Writers Cut: PAUSE’s Tips Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week is upon us, spanning May 13th to May 19th. The mantra for this year is “Moments for Movement,” which encourages people in the UK to post content about being active for their mental health. While being physically outside and enjoying an activity with peers is suitable for most, others battling with mental health find solace in other mediums. If you’re reading PAUSE, chances are you’re into fashion, and expressing yourself through your clothing, accessories and everyday wellness is your priority. This year, for Mental Health Awareness Week, why not blend the two?

Mind.org states that every year, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem, and most of us don’t know how to deal with it. Over 2 million people in the UK are waiting for NHS mental health services, and since 2017, the number of young people struggling with their mental health has doubled. As consumers, we push on the effects of mental health through purchases that we often don’t need. Whether that’s a t-shirt from Primark, random skincare from your local store, or at a more grandiose level, the pair of shoes you’ve kept on your wishlist for months on Ssense. Learning how to cope without professional help can be difficult, and by blending this year’s mantra with your personal goals, you might find relief from what you battle with each and every day. 

PAUSE has accumulated a guide of scenarios that could be implemented into everyday life. Some take just five minutes, while others could last hours depending on how far you need to push yourself. Each and every scenario is fitted with products that you might have lying around the house or could make a trip out of going and getting.

Make something hot, and enjoy it outside each morning

Science-based content creators like Andrew Huberman have been advocates for sunlight in the morning and grounding for years. While bouncing around studies, some show that grounding every morning, whether it be on a dedicated mat or a plot of grass outside, can help boost mood. Being exposed to the sun early in the day can also affect melatonin production, helping you feel more energized in the morning and find it easier to sleep at night. Pairing your new routine with a hot drink in the morning can potentially aid digestion and body detoxification, along with helping to fight colds and reduce stress. 

PAUSE suggests: boiling a cup of tea or hot coffee, taking it out to your balcony, or down outside of your flat, kicking off your shoes, and enjoying your drink on the grass. For the least time-consuming option, invest in a kettle, a mug you find joy in, and a mat that you dedicate to just standing and breathing on, preferably in front of sunlight.

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BKLYN CLAY No-Spill Mug

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Pick up a new active hobby

Running clubs seem to be taking over TikTok right now, and most likely the streets of your local metropolitan city. However, there are a ton of recreational sports with low-budget entry fees that can help boost morale, build a sense of community, and help reduce stress. Ultimate frisbee is a sport that you can play with just a pair of running shoes, although diehard athletes prefer a pair of football boots. Going for jogs can aid serotonin as you slowly complete longer distances, and have the gear available to be done at a cost-effective price, or become your next favorite hobby to spend money on. For those who prefer a sport with contact to aid in aggression release, rugby or Gaelic football allows athletes to train twice a week with fellow lovers of the sport, and compete against other teams on weekends. Finally, the sport that needs just a few friends to put the cost of two drinks together and find a park is Spikeball. Extremely popular in North America, this is a perfect, active game that encourages players to play barefoot in the grass, in groups of 2 to 4, and enjoy the fresh air while moving around. 

PAUSE suggests: Trying out an active hobby that you think will help your mental health. Running and Spikeball are two cost-effective options that encourage athletes to get outside and enjoy working up a sweat.

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Invest in wellness nights

The days of wellness nights being for the uber-rich are over. Spas are in abundance across major cities and offer premium services for those able to dedicate an entire day, and part of your pay cheque, to relaxing. However, self-produced spa days are easily re-creatable through a selection of home goods that may enhance your experience. Dedicating just one night a week may aid in reducing stress levels, and allow you to fully enjoy the products that you’ve spent your hard-earned money on. Purchasing a speaker, or a good quality set of headphones will help in terms of relaxing to music, and a selection of face masks, incense cones, and light snacks are replenishable and can be done quite cheaply. Plus, this gives you a chance to truly sit and enjoy the skincare that you’ve already invested so much on. 

PAUSE suggests: Dedicate just one night a week, or more if your schedule allows it, to lie down in the part of your home that you find the most comfort in, listening to music that relaxes you, putting on a face mask, burning some incense and eat a light snack full of micronutrients. 

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Build up a fresh sense of self with new activities

While not abundantly different in description, this suggestion differs from active hobbies. Finding a new activity to help establish a deeper sense of self or community can come in the form of picking up crocheting and making household objects or clothes for you, friends, and family. It also may look like checking out local workshops and talks that interest you. Big cities often have random pop-ups throughout the week, whether those are slam poetry, comedy shows, seeing your favourite influencer talk on a panel, or learning how to put on tooth gems. 

PAUSE suggests: Expanding your horizons and becoming a master, or an amateur, in something new which is low pressure and low commitment, although constant. The events listed above may appear throughout your city on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, allowing you to create a new schedule and invite new activities and people into your life. 

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