Athletes have long been involved in activism which helped deliver change during critical moments in modern-day history.
Picture Credit: The Daily Californian
It’s safe to say that 2020 was a year that none of us could have anticipated. All of a sudden, our plans got cancelled, and we found ourselves confined to our homes, with no clue when we would be able to properly socialise again. The first two weeks went by relatively fast – I finally had time to read long-awaited books, catch up on TV series and most importantly, sleep. But as time passed and with no signs of lockdown ending, I found myself drifting into a world of negativity, regrets, and fear. I realized I had lost myself. I never really paid much attention to my mental health, and simply disregarded it as ‘bad days’, or blamed it on the dreary weather. With so much extra time on my hands, I started researching ways to uplift my mood.
Through my research, I was shocked to find that more than 264 million people suffer from depression worldwide. It made me feel guilty as if my feelings of sadness weren’t valid. For what though? Is there a perfectly established scale that measures your state of mental health? Big or small, I believe that whatever you may be going through, any hurtful, destructive thoughts are valid – and it’s okay to feel these emotions.
I learnt that being able to talk to someone and finding a hobby or a way to express your inner emotions can be extremely helpful. During lockdown, I started an online painting course with no prior experience. I never considered myself to be a very artistic person either, but whenever I felt down, I found myself picking up my brush and getting lost in the wonderful world of colourful acrylics.
Art became a way for me to express myself, to occupy my time, and develop a new skill. In fact, some researchers believe that just the presence of art can uplift one’s mood, with artwork often being displayed in hospitals to aid patients’ recovery.
For me, art became the distraction I needed to prevent the pandemic from consuming my thoughts. I’ve found a new hobby that I love, that helps me feel fully relaxed and explores my creative interests. I believe that everyone should develop their creative mind, irrespective of talent. Especially in times where our mental health is severely being tested, we should be vigilant of our thought patterns and emotions. No matter what form that takes, engaging in your hobbies is a matter of self-love, and a way for you to nurture your mind.
Mental wellbeing is a work in progress that requires your attention and constant development. If you find something that you love doing, do it continuously, simply because it makes you happy. In my view, self-love is another important message that World Mental Health Day projects every year. We live in a world that constantly changes, with control out of our hands – so always remember to prioritise and check in with your mental wellbeing.
The Counselling & Mental Health Support Service at King’s have developed videos introducing the service and their online mental health module. Guidance has been developed to support anyone who is struggling with anxious feelings and/or low mood in taking some simple actions and identifying relevant support in or outside of King’s. All students at King’s also have free access to Togetherall for online courses, resources and support.
Furthermore, you can find a range of activities, events and resources to support your wellbeing in the KCLSU & King’s Wellbeing Hub. Whether you are looking to build connections with other students or stay active, you are sure to discover an interesting new way to invest your time. Finally, the King’s Extracurricular Opportunities pages have now launched as a one-stop-shop to help you find out how you can develop entrepreneurial skills, contribute to sustainability initiatives, engage with London culture and get involved in local communities during your time at university. So, make sure to take advantage of all these opportunities which will further improve the quality of your mental wellbeing!
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