There are things we can all do to look after our mental health and it’s good to recognise that what affects one person’s mental health and wellbeing won’t automatically affect other people in the same way.
Sometimes it’s easy to see what is impacting on our mental wellbeing, things like issues at work, a bereavement or problems in a relationship. At other times there is no clear cause as to why we are feeling the way we are.
Whatever is affecting us we do not need to struggle alone there are things we can do to improve our mental health and wellbeing and keep us feeling as good as we can. Below are some ideas on staying mentally well and coping with some of the events that life throws up.
Regular exercise has a positive effect on mental health and wellbeing and there are lots of ways to do this: going for a walk, swimming, dancing or running. Everyday things and simple changes count too: gardening, cleaning the house, taking the stairs instead of the lift or getting off the bus a stop early. Whatever you do to get more active remember to be kind to yourself, set achievable goals and celebrate your successes.
Keep in touch
Staying in touch with family and friends can make us feel happier, it provides a sense of belonging and helps to combat feelings of loneliness. So a phone call, a text or arranging to meet up can all help to lift our mood. There are many ways to connect with people, if you have a hobby or particular interest like drawing, a sport or photography you could join a local group with others who share the same interests. This increases social and supportive networks.
Make time for you
We’re all busy often making time for others; family, friends or work while neglecting time for ourselves. Making time to be alone and doing things for ourselves can help us maintain or achieve good mental health and wellbeing and improve resilience. Some things that might inspire you; reading a new book or re-reading an old favourite, going to see a film, learning something new, trying a different recipe, practicing mindfulness or taking up yoga. Whatever you decide to try make sure that it’s for you and that you enjoy it.
Looking after yourself
Sleep is really important for our mental and physical health, as important as eating, drinking and breathing. Our bodies use sleep to repair and it allows our brain to process and consolidate memories. It’s really important to have a good routine for winding down before sleep and setting and sticking to a time for getting up. Eating well and regularly is important too and there is a link between what we eat and how we feel, having a healthy, balanced diet is good for both mental and physical health. There are lots of places to get advice on diet and a good place to start is the NHS Choices website.
In addition to these tips there are many websites and national helplines that focus on mental health and emotional wellbeing issues. Please Visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/ for a comprehensive list of support.