WHO World Mental Health Day 2023

Any article on mental health, and health in general for that matter, will be a difficult one to write as these are thorny topics which are tough to talk openly about, even today with an increased focus on mental well-being. There is also the issue that articles like this can never, and should never, replace proper diagnosis and treatment from health care professionals.

With all that in mind…….

A year has past since I last put pen to paper – well fingers to my keyboard – when I wrote the article about the WHO World Mental Health Awareness day. And with it being 2023’s day to bring a spotlight on what the WHO says is a “basic human right”, I was prompted to try to revisit the issue by Niantics post Take a little walk with Niantic on World Mental Health Day.

Whilst there have been positives for the game in the year that has past, I have personally felt disillusioned and disheartened by a lot of the changes, the direction the game has taken and the responses – or sometimes the lack thereof – from Niantic. So much so that my desire to do anything positive with respect to the game has become non existent. I am now pretty much F2P (Free To Play), I stepped back from writing articles for the Hub (something I had found much love for and wanted to do more of) and found myself playing out of habit, not out of the love I used to have for the game.

But there-in lies the rub, the reason for this more personal article on a day we focus our thoughts on improving knowledge and raising awareness to promote and protect everyone’s mental health. And that is the habits I have formed playing the game.

Habits that get me out of the house when some days I might not want to. Habits that put me in places that are good for both my physical and mental health like a park. Habits that give me a routine of achievements that can be the difference between a good day and a bad day. Spinning stops, doing a raid, catching my daily spawn are all routine habits that can make the difference.

All the things I wrote about last year I have come to realize I do, and they impact me more than I had given them credit for.

I play, which stimulates my brain, even if it is from a nostalgic point of view of remembering when I loved to play. It gets my brain moving on slow days and keeps it moving on others.

I have daily routines and weekly routines that revolve around the game, they are not the be all and end all of my days but they give some structure and goal setting which can kick start those days where you’ve made it through and feel like nothing has been achieved.

I do make sure and take walks after work most days even if its the 15 minutes round the block with the daily incense it helps keep me mobile and some days due to work that 15 minutes outside helps immensely. Living near the Florida theme parks means I do have access to places with good stops and gyms and the walks around them mean I hit my step goal which again adds to the sense of achievements. I try to go to them at least once or twice a week, when I can cope with the amount of people around me. I would much prefer a big park with trees and lakes but that just leads to possible alligator encounters, not something you want when you are distracted trying to catch Pokémon.

I re-read my article from last year and a lot of the advice and guidance from that article I was either already doing or introduced into my game play and life and maybe it made a difference, who can say, but thinking about it whilst I write this, I would say, whilst my feelings about the game haven’t really changed my realization of how it helps me has.

So for those reading this article I would suggest reading my previous one (linked here) which gives a more general list of suggestions on how the game could potentially impact your mental health and help you create habits. Habits that could in turn bring positive changes in your life in ways you don’t really realize until you take a moment to reflect, like I have done writing this.

I’ll end this as I ended my last article with these words…..

Know this, you are not alone in your struggles in whatever form they take for you. Try to talk to someone you trust, find a community that hears you, maybe try some of the tips listed and, if you are able and feel up to it, seek out local professional help. You may not feel up to going but having the details of a local health professional in your phone or wallet, that you researched when you were feeling up to doing so, will certainly help in those times when you need it but can’t see how to find it. You are not alone. You are worthy and deserving. You matter.

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Not really a Zangoose but relates on a spiritual level. Night owl, lover of sci fi and an erstwhile writer. Old enough to know better. (Profile picture is - Under Village Bridge by BrainDeadMareep on DeviantArt)

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