Improve your Mental Wellness: One Step at a Time
HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND! It may be a cliché but taking care of the physical body can also improve mental health. This starts at the most basic level of drinking plenty of water and eating nutritious meals. Exercise is of huge benefit as it lifts mood through the secretion of happy hormones called endorphins and getting enough sleep is important to help us feel rested and more equipped to deal with the day ahead. A few things to avoid: excessive alcohol intake, too much junk food and sugar (can negatively impact mood) and lastly smoking.
Top Tips: Even small modifications to your diet and your lifestyle are beneficial e.g. introduce more vegetables, fibre rich and other healthy foods into your diet; try to gradually cut out unhealthy habits e.g. that bar of chocolate with your cuppa, the late-night takeaway. Aim to drink 2 litres of water daily and try to fit some exercise into your daily routine. Walk to the shops instead of driving, do a 20-minute walk around the block, join an exercise class with pals or return to a sport you loved in school. These simple steps will help ensure that you’re ready for a good night’s sleep.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE: Having a support network of caring, kind friends and family is vital when it comes to staying mentally well. These people can help you up when you’re down, go on adventures with you and even help get perspective on things. If you’re struggling to find supportive people in your friend circle it might be time to expand. Try new hobbies, join a class or a book club etc., any outlet where you can meet people with a similar interest. Watch the friendship blossom!
Top Tips: Make time for catching up with friends or expand your circle by taking up a new hobby or joining a club.
VALUE YOURSELF: Make time for hobbies and seeing friends, but also make time to relax and spend time doing any other things that make you smile – that could be watching a movie or box set, doing an art or craft, or practising yoga or meditation. Be kind to yourself and don’t be too self-critical. Having a negative or overly critical view of yourself lowers your self-esteem and can damage your mental health. Now is a good time to quieten your mind and maybe practice some mindfulness.
Top Tip: It’s ok to make time for yourself.
LEARN TO DEAL WITH STRESS: Stress can be a cause of mental health struggles so it’s a good idea to learn how to de-stress. Deal with stressors as they occur and try not to control what can’t be controlled. Again, exercise can help with stress levels as can having good coping skills, like setting realistic and achievable goals. Time management is really helpful when you’re stressed, as well as prioritising tasks that need to be completed within a certain time frame. It’s important to make time for fun when you’re stressed too, as this makes stress feel more manageable.
POSITIVE THOUGHTS, POSITIVE TALKS: Thinking positively can help your mood, but sometimes this can be difficult. Another way of helping stay positive is to have a more positive inner voice. Don’t listen to your inner critic. Try not to compare yourself to others or be negative towards yourself. It can be beneficial to practice the attitude of gratitude. This just means appreciating the small things in life like a decent cup of coffee, meeting up with friends or even no traffic on your commute!
Top Tips: Acting positively can actually help you feel more positive. Be nice to others; actively make yourself smile. Give yourself a pat on the back every now and again.
LITTLE STEPS: Taken as a whole these may appear to be overwhelming, but all these suggestions are actually simple changes to outlook and to lifestyle. Start off with little steps, keep them up and build on them and you will be up and running soon. And just like getting physically fit through exercise makes it easier to maintain physical fitness, these changes will help maintain your mental wellbeing into the future.
SO, TAKE THE FIRST STEP & GO FOR IT!