In 1992, the World Federation for Mental Health, World Health Organization, and member organizations of WFMH celebrated World Mental Health Day for the first time at the initiative of Deputy Secretary General Richard Hunter. The day had no specific ‘theme’ rather focused on promoting mental health advocacy and educating the public.
This year, WHO is focusing on the effects of COVID19 on our mental health:
“The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye. Investment in mental health programmes at the national and international levels, which have already suffered from years of chronic underfunding, is now more important than it has ever been.”
This is important in the Travel Community because traveling is a way of improving your mental health. WHO is encouraging the investment into resources but it can also be you investing in yourself. It could be a short-distance trip to get out in nature, visiting friends who live in other places, or traveling to experience something new. As we travel, we meet people from around the world who have their own stories, struggles, dreams, paths, etc. To learn about where people come from makes our trips more enriching. Listening is a powerful tool. If you see a friend struggling or a friend you haven’t heard from in awhile, ask them to be your travel partner for a trip! Traveling enhances your relationships and improves mental health - so why not take a vacation!
PsychCentral posted 10 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health:
Mind Your Body: A healthy body leads to a healthy mind
Traveling encourages us to get up and move. Running around from place to place trying to see as much as possible is good for our bodies and minds.
Volunteer: Understand how much you impact a community
Volunteering abroad is a way to give back to a place that has helped you. There are several credible programs to go through or you can even ask locals how you can help.
Relax More: Taking at least 30 minutes to yourself a day
If a trip isn’t possible, be sure to take a few minutes a day for yourself, wherever it may be.
Associate With Positive People: Your environment is everything
Making new friends is important. Join some clubs that you are interested in and meet like-minded people. Traveling provides you with both of those options as we meet friends who are like-minded!
Eliminate Bad Habits: Short-term pleasure isn’t long-term health
Do something that seems impossible! Start new good habits. Instead of traveling and staying near the hotel, make an effort to befriend a local everywhere you visit.
Ask For Help When Needed: Open up an honest line of communication
After surrounding yourself with positive influences, remember to reach out in times of need.
Do More of What Makes You Happy: Treat yourself
Take those vacations you've been dreaming of and if feasible take the family along. Cherish those times exploring new places!
Set Life Goals: Reduces stress and gives you motivation
Set a goal to take a big vacation one a year or mini vacations throughout the year. It gives you something to look forward to and reminds you of why you work so hard.
Keep A Diary: Manage stress and reduce anxiety
Keeping a diary while traveling is not only therapeutic but something that you can refer to in the future. Filling a book with memories, or even filling our site, helps others on their journey.
Communicate More: Keep your personal relationships intact and use them
A strong support system is a key to your mental health and to have friends from around the world with different perspectives can really help.