Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 10-16th May 2021. Here at HumaniTea, we always encourage mindfulness and having short, regular breaks to prioritise wellbeing.
Our motto for our beverage is “me time, tea time, any time”, meaning we should take the time out to relax and enjoy a refreshing tea.
It is incredibly important to practice mindfulness and self care, and this year the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is nature. We want everyone to have tea breaks and venture to the great outdoors this week, and beyond!
History of Mental Health Awareness Week:
The first Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK took place in 2001, and was founded by the Mental Health
It was created as “a public mental health approach to prevention, finding solutions to individuals, those at risk and for society, in order to improve everyone’s mental wellbeing”, and this year, the theme is nature and the environment.
The theme was chosen as nature is an effective way to help our wellbeing and mental health, and because going outside into nature was a key coping strategy for around half of Brits during lockdown.
Even small contact with nature can help reduce feelings of isolation and distress, so The Mental Health Foundation want to use this year’s theme to raise awareness for those who cannot access nature.
They want to launch policies so that governments can ensure that everyone can access any green space, as well as making parks safer and planting more trees.
Interview with Marco Ricci
I spoke with Marco Ricci who is the founder and director of Talking Mental Health, a website dedicated to changing the conversation around mental health. We spoke about the importance of tea breaks while working, and ways of having “me time”.
Is it important for mental wellbeing that we have breaks throughout the day?
“Just having a brief break to make a cup of tea or to have a chat with a friend really helps me to refocus my mind and lower any stress that may have accumulated whilst working. Very often for me, taking a break and coming back to a problem I’ve been trying to solve results in me quickly resolving the issue.”
Can it be harmful to our mental health if we don’t take time out for ourselves?
“I think not taking time out will almost certainly lead to burnout or experiencing the symptoms of some sort of mental health issue. One of my first jobs was highly stressful and very rarely allowed for any kind of time alone, and I ended up having to leave with a diagnosis of depression and anxiety. I’ve seen similar effects on colleagues too, and it can be incredibly destructive to not take time outs.”
What would you say is the best way to have a relaxing break?
“One of the best ways is to have a genuine lunch break! A period of time where we don’t check our emails, or be at our desk and instead do something that lets our mind and body relax. For example, going outside for a walk or going to the pub for lunch with a friend – something that takes us away from our workplace for a full hour.”
Do you make sure that you have enough breaks while working?
“I’m self employed and I tend to make sure I at least take an hour-long lunch break. I try to follow what’s called the Pomodoro technique – doing 25-minute periods of work followed by a five minute break, and I find that really helps me to refocus as well as to be more productive with my time. Even though I try to follow this structure, I find myself occasionally taking fewer breaks and I definitely feel the impact on my mental health if I do this too often.”
Why are tea breaks important?
Tea breaks are important in everyday life- especially at work. Studies have shown that breaks are great for employee productivity, as performing the same tasks or sitting at a desk all day impacts people physically and mentally.
If it’s not possible to regularly take 15 minute breaks, try taking micro-breaks. This can last a few minutes or a few seconds, but make sure you get time to reset or relax before starting another task.
Many think they are too busy for a tea break, whereas years ago it was seen as an essential part of the working day. We shouldn’t abandon the idea of a tea break as it can lead to many benefits…
Benefits of having short breaks:
There are numerous benefits to having tea breaks! Even more so since a lot of people have been working from home.
Independent research conducted by BRITA Professional surveyed 1,000 tea drinkers about the effect tea can have on their mental health.
Of those surveyed, 64% believe making time for a cuppa has a positive effect on their mental health, and 41% said that tea helps reduce stress and makes them feel calm.
Tea is a great way to help uplift our mood, and energise ourselves while at work. Tea is also great to enjoy away from work and alongside nature – the theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week.
So why not make up a flask of tea, or grab one of our delicious vegan tea lattes in two flavours- Earl Grey Oat Milk Classic Tea Latte, or Matcha Oat Milk Green Tea Latte, and head to the local park. It will improve your mood and free you of some tension that you may be feeling.
What can you do for Mental Health Awareness Week?
As this year’s theme is nature, the Mental Health Foundation believe that sharing stories with friends and family of how nature has helped their mental health is the best way to get involved.
This could be anything from walking by a riverside, to keeping house plants, and the foundation encourage those participating on social media to use the hashtags #ConnectWithNature and #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek along with any images or quotes about nature.