Get prepped for the week ahead with Self Care Sundays

Here at Melanin Matchmaker, we understand that taking care of our mental health is a very important part of one’s well-being.  

Our mental health plays such a major role in many aspects of our lives which is why it’s imperative we protect and improve our psychological wellness by using appropriate methods where necessary. 
With most of our team coming from an African heritage we also know all too well that in some black communities’ mental health awareness conversations are seen as a taboo and often seen as a sign of weakness. We feel it is time for a change and as part of our commitment to empower black communities through our own social and economic love projects we are supporting the NHS on their Every Mind Matters – Self Care Sundays campaign #everymindmatters #selfcaresundays.  
Every Mind Matters aims to equip people to take action to protect and improve their mental wellbeing, thereby helping to prevent sub clinical mental health concerns from escalating into more serious mental health disorders.  
The Self Care Sunday’s campaign has arisen as a response to Google search data which highlights the scale of this anticipatory anxiety on Sundays. New research commissioned by the Office for Health Improvements & Disparities, reveals that 7 in 10 Brits experience anxiety about the week ahead, increasing to three quarters of those aged 18-24. 
The purpose of the campaign is to encourage people to be kind to their mind and help with anxiety by adopting a “Self Care Sunday” routine – to help alleviate the Sunday Blues and prepare for the week ahead. Whether it’s going for a walk, getting better sleep, or seeing friends or loved ones. Self Care Sundays are about being intentional and taking time to do simple, small things as they can make a big difference to the way we feel.  
How do you know if this is a routine you need to adopt? 

Well one thing to know, is that anxiety is something almost everyone will experience at some point in their lives and anxiety affects everyone differently. Anxiety is a feeling of unease, like a worry or fear, which can be brought on by many different situations or experiences. Studies have shown that many people experience a feeling of heightened anticipatory anxiety or worry on a Sunday, when thinking about the week ahead. 
If you do find yourself feeling sad or anxious, try adopting a Self Care Sunday routine. You can try swapping out a ‘distraction’ or habit’ (e.g., scrolling social media or binge-watching TV) for an action that is kind to your mind instead, by,  

  • Taking time to do mindful breathing, by breathing in and slowly out  
  • Planning an hour of screen-free time before bed 
  • Reviewing your to-do list and breaking down your biggest tasks into smaller, easier-to-manage chunks  
  • Taking a walk  
  • Seeing or getting in contact with a friend or loved one. 

Everyone feels anxious from time to time, and there are many ways to alleviate these feelings of unease, here are the top suggestions from the experts: 
Shift your focus: some people find relaxation, mindfulness or breathing exercises helpful. They reduce tension and focus our awareness on the present moment. 

Challenge your anxious thoughts: Tackling unhelpful thoughts is one of the best things we can do to feel less anxious. 
Face the things you want to avoid: It’s easy to avoid situations, or rely on habits that make us feel safer, but these can keep anxiety going. By slowly confronting your fears you can start to overcome them. 
Understand your anxiety: Try keeping a diary of what you are doing and how you feel at different times to help identify what’s causing anxiety and what you need to take action on to help manage it. 
Make time for worries: If worries feel overwhelming and dominate your day, setting specific “worry time” to go through your concerns each day can help you to focus on more positive things 
Look at the bigger picture: If we feel anxious about a situation, we might get stuck on the details and stop seeing things rationally. Thinking about your problem or situation from someone else’s view can make it easier to come up with a plan to tackle it. 
How can I deal with feelings of stress? 

Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It’s very common, and can help us meet the demands of home, work, and family life. But too much stress can affect our mood, our body, and our relationships especially when it feels out of our control. There are lots of ways to alleviate feelings of stress, including the following suggested practices 

  • Split up big tasks: if a task seems overwhelming and difficult to start, try breaking it down into more manageable chunks, and give yourself credit for completing them. 
  • Challenge your thoughts: the way we think affects the way we feel. 
  • Talk to someone: friends, family, and colleagues, or contacting a helpline, can help us when we are struggling. 
  • Allow yourself some positivity: take time to think about the good things in your life. Each day, consider what went well and try to list 3 things you’re thankful for. 
  • Be more active: Being active can help you to burn off nervous energy. It will not make your stress disappear, but it can make it less intense. 
  • Plan ahead: Making a plan for managing upcoming stressful days or events–a to-do list, the journey you need to make and things you need to take–can really help. 

Like a car without fuel can run on empty for only so long before shutting down. See yourself as the car. Your mind, body and soul are the fuel in this example. If you feel depleted from the inside, it’s going to be that much more difficult for you to take care of anything or anyone else. Be it your family, your work, your business, any social commitments. 

How can I find out more? 

  • Every Mind Matters website has lots of NHS-approved tips and advice to help you deal with anxiety, including a step-by- step programme that will help you feel more in control. 
  • Take the Mind Plan quiz to get a personalised mental health action plan with practical tips to help you deal with stress, anxiety, low mood and trouble sleeping. 
  •  Amazon Alexa users can simply utter “Alexa, start Mind Plan”, for help today 
  • Click here or search Every Mind Matters for free ways to be kind to your mind