We’re more aware of mental health than ever before, but modern life brings its own challenges. Social media can perpetuate cycles of negative thinking. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing your average day to someone’s highlight reel shared on Instagram and Facebook.
Most people experience issues with their mental health at some point in their life. Whether you’re going through a tough time or not, there are measures you should put in place to ensure you stay healthy. Like your physical health, you should take steps to look after your mental health wellbeing. You probably brush your teeth, eat and exercise; it’s important to embed healthy mental habits in the same way.
To celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, we’ve teamed up with Mental Health Concern to create a guide about taking care of your mental health.
Seven tips to keep your mental health in tip-top shape
Make time for things you enjoy every day
Whether it’s your favourite TV programme or a walk on the beach, it’s important to make time for what makes you happy. Try to avoid feeling guilty or selfish for allocating time to yourself. It’s important.
Plan and prepare
Planning makes it much more likely that tasks will be done. It helps you work out the best way to do things and helps build confidence. Want to avoid that sinking feeling in your stomach before you take on a task, big or small? Plan, plan, and plan some more. It’s daunting at first but gets easier with practice.
Don’t believe everything you think
It’s important to question our thinking and develop new habits of thought. Ask yourself, ‘is this a helpful thought to think right now?’ It’s useful to pretend whatever you’re going through is happening to a friend. What advice would you offer them?
Develop mindfulness breathing and awareness
Mindfulness builds awareness and promotes clarity of thinking; it involves placing your attention on something which is happening in the present. Mindfulness has been shown to promote ease, calm and even feelings of happiness. It changes the brain and how it communicates with the body. Like any skill or technique, it takes practice.
Don’t be afraid to ask your GP for advice about sessions, but here are a few digital resources which can help you get started:
Avoid giving yourself such a hard time. It’s easier said than done but the effort goes a long way. It’s about seeing your strengths as well as your weaknesses or saying no when you need to.
Write down three positive things a day
It’s good to appreciate what’s good, small or significant. You can store your notes in a jar or notebook and refer to them when you’re feeling low.
Try to connect with others
Reaching out and making connections helps us get back in touch with people who care about us. It can really help with a balanced perspective. Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to reach out. Whether it’s friends and family, joining a group or activity, or even inviting a neighbour for a brew, talking can be an invaluable help.
If you’re currently out of work with health issues, whether they’re physical or mental, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Need immediate support? Get in touch with your GP or call Samaritans on 116 123