Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Everyone should be looking after their mental health as we all have moments in our lives which make us feel: stressed, upset or frightened. The majority of the time you may find that those feelings will devolve however, sometimes they don’t and there is a real possibility that it could turn into a mental health disorder; statistics show that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health disorder at some point in our lives.
The majority of us know how to look after our bodies by: eating the right food, exercising, going to the dentist, so its time to know how we can look after our mental/emotional health also so below, are a list of things that you can do to look after your mental health.
Exercise has been proven to help your: sleep, improve memory, boost your overall mood as well as reducing stress levels. Furthermore, research has shown that regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of anxiety and depression amongst all age groups. As I mentioned in my 5 tips to reduce anxiety blog, the exercise you do doesn’t have to be strenuous, it can as simple as having a 15 minute walk.
Sharing how you’re feeling with friends, family or a partner can help you through a difficult time in your life as they can offer you support and a listening ear as well as many other things; a problem shared is a problem halved after all.
Not only is it important to talk about how you are feeling when you’re going through a difficult time, but to be social as often as you can, as this helps contribute to emotional wellbeing as mentioned in connect.
Research has shown that committing an act of kindness at least once a week over a six-week period, can increase wellbeing for both you and the individual who you offered an act of kindness too. Try to seek out an opportunity to help as often as you can: hold open a door, give a compliment or volunteer are just a few ideas that you can do in day-to-day life.
Research has suggested that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities helps to lift people out of depression (particularly older people).
Being and feeling close and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and having strong relationship/s with friends, a partner and/or family are crucial for promoting emotional wellbeing no matter how old we are. Having those relationships in your life can not only make you feel loved and cared for but also offer you different views around whats going on in your life, keep you active and grounded as well as helping you solve/through any problems you may have going on.
- Eat well
There is a stronger connection between what we eat and how we feel, than we think. Food can have a long-term effect on your mental health just as it can your physical health therefore, it is important that you have a diet that is good for your physical health but also your mental health.
But what does a healthy balanced diet include? Well: lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grain bread and cereals, nuts and seeds, dairy products, oily fish and plenty of water. It is also important that you have three meals a day and try to avoid/limit caffeine, alcohol and anything high in artificial sugar – you can also add or take away meat depending on your diet choice.
Please note, I am not a dietitian, I have done a lot of research which has led to me writing what a healthy diet includes when looking after your mental and physical health.
It is important that you find ways to take time out to relax as often as you can; it doesn’t matter what it is that you find relaxing, just as long as you do it.
- Ask for help
If you feel that things are getting too much for you to cope with, ask for help – there are services out there created to support people. For example, if your feelings are effecting you getting on with life, people you live or work with or affecting your mood over several weeks go seek help from your GP who may then refer you to a counsellor. *Did you know that over a third of visits to GP’s are about mental health*.
- Accept and love who you are
We are all unique and feeling good about ourselves helps to: raise confidence, learn new skills, make new friends, visit new places and cope with life when it takes a difficult turn. Of course, learning to love yourself may take time but be proud of who you are and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Challenge any negative thinking and don’t compare yourself to others.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. We all need to look after our mental health and I hope these steps can help you to do so. Make sure you subscribe to my blog or alternatively follow my Instagram/twitter/facebook @sineadmatanle to keep up to date with my latest blogs. My next blog post will be live tomorrow.