The importance of mental health should not be underestimated. It influences our thinking, our mood and behaviour and also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. A person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors. Mental health is equally as important as physical health in a person’s overall health. Therefore, it’s key that we look after it properly. So, here’s 10 ways to look after your mental health.
10 Things You Can Do To Look After Your Mental Health
1. DO THE THINGS YOU ENJOY
Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Often it can be a way to escape reality; i.e. when you’re colouring in or reading, you’re doing it for you, not as somebody else’s mam/boss/wife/etc. Also, doing an activity you really love probably means that you’re good at it, which will help boost your self-esteem. So, what makes you happy? Figure that out and dive right in.
2. KEEP ACTIVE
Regular exercise helps boost mental health. This is because exercising causes your body to release chemicals called endorphins. These help relieve pain and stress and, also, improve happiness. It may, also, provide a sense of achievement, which will boost your self-esteem. So, whether it’s running, cycling, weight lifting or even just walking, they’ll all help. Double points if you can get yourself out in the sunlight, because sunlight = vitamin D = release of endorphins and serotonin.
3. EAT WELL
Eating well isn’t just important for physical health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like any other organ. Mineral deficiencies, caused by a poor diet, can cause low moods and, also, contribute to anxiety and depression. Therefore, sticking to a well-balanced diet and drinking lots of water will help maintain good mental health.
4. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Our bodies heal while we’re sleeping; from regulating the chemicals and hormones in our brains to fighting off infections. Basically, sleep helps us function better and stay healthy. For adults, the recommended amount is 7-9 hours every night.
5. REMEMBER TO TAKE A BREAK
We can all get a bit overwhelmed from time to time. Taking a break, even for a few minutes, can help you de-stress. How long your break lasts or what it involves is completely up to you and what you need. It could be sleep, it could be yoga or even just a short social media detox. So, work out what this is by listening to your body.
6. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Good and strong relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. Humans are social creatures. Therefore, spending time with the people we care about stops us feeling lonely, can make us feel included and cared for, and can help us deal with the stresses of life. While busy schedules don’t always allow us to keep in touch as often as we might like, even a quick 5-10 minute chat can be mentally boosting.
7. TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS
Although it’s not always easy, talking about your feelings can help cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around for a while and keep things from getting too much. It helps you feel supported, cared for and less alone. Just remember that talking about your feelings is NOT a sign of weakness.
8. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
We can all get a bit overwhelmed in life, whether it be work, home or something else. Especially if it’s something out of our control. However, when things do begin to feel too much, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Even having the smallest of things taken off your plate can be a massive help.
9. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Focusing on the past or worrying about the future can be draining. Mindfulness is an invaluable tool for dealing with all kinds of challenges. It’s essentially about living in the moment; being present and aware of what’s going on around you. It helps us manage stress by determining what triggers it and, therefore, how to cope with it.
10. BE KIND TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS
Being kind and helping others can make you feel good about yourself and boost your self-esteem. Remember to also extend this kindness to yourself. All too often, our critical voice can take over but this only makes us feel worse. Remind yourself that we’re all different, we’re all on the path we’re supposed to be and that you ARE doing okay. Remember:
In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND.– Caroline Flack
Take care of yourselves,