Mental Health, two words we hear a lot of these days.
What does it really mean to be mentally healthy? Primarily, good mental health focuses on your ability to handle and cope with daily life.
Good mental health can:
- Help you reach your full potential and be successful.
- Deal with everyday life.
- Affect your ability to involve yourself with friends, family and work colleagues at work.
Did you know?
One-in-four adults and one-in-ten children experience mental illness during their lifetime, and many more of us know and care for people who do – NHS England
As a society, it seems we are aware, compassionate and more understanding towards people suffering from mental health issues. However, it appears there is a stigma attached to mental health, and people are still reluctant to talk about themselves.
How are you?
Everybody will go through tough times in their life. Such points can cause you to feel stressed, down or frightened and most of the time those feelings pass. However, for some people, these feelings develop into a more severe problem, and this could happen to any one of us.
What can you do?
First of all, you must understand It’s ok, not to be ok. Accepting and realising you may not be feeling your best is the first step up the ladder.
Focus on good mental health with these top tips right here.
Talk about your feelings
Many people do not feel comfortable talking about their emotions, but it is healthy to be aware and let others know how you are feeling. Talking can help you deal with the tough times and is part of taking charge of your well-being.
It’s not always easy and if you struggle to tell someone how you are feeling describe what it’s like inside your head and why it makes you feel like doing. Having someone to talk to will help you feel more supported and understood. If it feels awkward at first, give it time, make it something you do with friends or family. If you open up, it may well encourage others to do the same.
Poor food choices may contribute to a range of mental health problems. Eating well and getting plenty of vitamins and minerals with ensuring your body and brain are in optimum health.
A healthy balanced diet consists of:
- Lots of different types of fruit and vegetables
- Whole-grain cereals or bread
- Nuts and seeds
- dairy products
- Oily fish
- Plenty of water
Drinking plenty of water (at least eight glasses per day). Being dehydrated can lead to a lack of concentration, feeling tired and low energy levels.
Eating lots of ‘essential’ or ‘polyunsaturated’ fats such as Omega 3 is thought to have a positive effect on how well our brain cells function. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in foods such as oily fish, Walnuts, linseed oil and spinach.
Get some exercise
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise can stimulate the body production of serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps move messages throughout the nervous system and performs many functions, including regulating mood, appetite and the sleep/wake cycle.
Exercise doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym or play sport, walks in the park, gardening or housework can also keep you active.
Stay in touch
Very often when you feel down or depressed, you feel alone. However, Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. Other people may view your situation differently and offer advice or different perspective.
It is great to be able to chat with someone face to face however if that isn’t possible try a video/ audio calling, online chats or text messages.
Friendships are worth working on if they make you feel loved or valued. That said if you think a friendship is damaging your mental health it is best to take a break from or end the relationship altogether.
The world can wait
Taking some time out to care for yourself plays a significant role in looking after your mental health. Self-care could be anything from a coffee break to a weekend away. Do whatever makes you happy. Give yourself grace and allow some “me time”.
Listen to your body. If you’re exhausted, give yourself time to sleep. Without proper sleep, our mental health will undoubtedly suffer.
Do something you enjoy
What do you or did you love doing in the past? Try taking up a new hobby. Concentration on something will fill up your head with new thoughts there will be no room for worries for a while. A new Learning something new will give you a sense of achievement will boost your self-esteem.
Caring for another person or pet will make you feel valued and needed, something that everybody needs to feel.
Owning a cat reduces stress and anxiety and can be soothing and trigger calming chemicals in the body. Cats are known for being low-maintenance, so a simple petting session is often enough to relax owners and distract them from other worries. Cat ownership provides a natural conversation starter and can enhance the owner’s ability to socialise.
Accept yourself for who you are
Self-acceptant is essential as is understanding that we are all different and have our unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Be proud of who you are. Recognise and accept the things you may not be good at, but also focus on what you can do well.
Ask for help!
There is no shame in asking for help. We all get overwhelmed from time to time. If things get too much and you can’t cope; Ask for help.
There is a range of services available and plenty of support to assist you through the tough times. For example, you could:
- Join a support group
- Visit www.self-help.org.uk for more information about groups across the UK
- Find a counsellor to help you manage your feelings
- Visit a Citizens Advice Bureau – www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- Ask GP who will be able to offer advice, refer you to a counsellor, other specialist or another part of the health service.
The links below are websites which can help find the help and support everybody needs from time to time.
Self-care is not about putting yourself first or being selfish; it is about realising you have to take care of yourself before you can even begin to think about taking care of others well. Keeping good mental health is the starting point when it comes to living your life to the full and maximising your potential.
Always remember; Loving yourself isn’t vanity, it’s sanity. – André Gide