Being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle is an important part of looking after ourselves. However, people forget that looking after your mental and emotional well being is a vital part of keeping healthy.
Mental health is still a relatively taboo subject and people are often hesitant to talk about it and also hesitant to ask for help. This is obviously something that needs to change, but I personally think it’s on the right track with more and more people opening up about their experiences surrounding mental health problems through their blogs, on twitter, through the media or person to person. The conversation is happening, we have Mental Health Awareness Week 11 – 17th May, but we all need to get involved.
As someone who has struggled on and off since I was a teenager with mild mental health problems I have some insight into how it can feel and I’ve developed some ways of coping with things. I’ve put together a few tips on how to keep yourself mentally healthy.
I believe one of the most important things you can do to keep yourself mentally healthy is to talk to people about how you’re feeling. Whether you suffer with a mental health problem currently, you’ve previously suffered, or you’ve never had an mental health issues before, it’s important not to bottle things up. Find someone who you feel relaxed around, someone you can trust and just have a chat with them about how you’re doing. If you’ve got some specific issues you want to talk about try and bring them up, if not then just having a chat with someone will make you feel better any way and help to keep your mood up. There are also a number of hotlines offering support and guidance, so if you have these wonderful resources at your feet, there’s no excuse – use them!
Eat & exercise
Good food and regular exercise is a great way to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy. Food has an effect on your body and your mind, your brain needs the right nutrients to keep it working, and eating the right stuff will make you feel great. Exercise is also important as it releases chemicals into your brain that make you feel good and happy. It can also help improve self confidence and can be something you really enjoy. If you don’t keep that physically active, try it out for a week – go for a jog, do some quick workouts at home and see for yourself what a positive influence this can have.
Take time for yourself
Being with, and talking to people is really important, however it’s also important to take some time out for yourself. Do something you really enjoy, whether that’s painting your nails, reading a book, drawing, walking, or making castles out of cardboard boxes. Whatever it is, make some time for it, you might find it’s a great way to escape for a while and just enjoy yourself by yourself.
Set yourself goals
For some people this might not appeal, but for others it could be great. Set yourself an achievable goal that’s relevant, something that you have to slightly push yourself into doing, or pick something you’re good at and enjoy doing. Having a goal gives you purpose, direction and focus and when you achieve that goal you’ll feel pride and self esteem, and be happy that you worked hard and achieved something great. Goals don’t have to be huge, they could be getting out of bed and going for a walk, or completing a book you’ve been meaning to read. It could be joining the football team, writing a blog post, or tidying your room. They can also be bigger things like getting a job, or winning a race. Whatever you want to do, if it is truly achievable and not unrealistic try and challenge yourself to complete it.
Smile & laugh
Doing something that makes you smile or laugh will make you happy. Some of my favorite things to do when I need to find something to make me smile are; singing loudly to songs from musicals, watching funny videos on Youtube, calling a friend, or remembering a time when I was really happy.
Obviously mental health problems can be a range of different issues and these tips may not be useful for everyone. But they are a good place to start in trying to keep yourself mentally healthy. If you are suffering with your mental health don’t be afraid to speak to someone whether that’s your doctor, family, friend or someone else you trust. People are here to help and there is a lot of support available out there.
A few great websites to check out if you want some information or support are;
I hope these tips have been helpful, and remember to always look after yourself and stay mentally healthy. If anyone wants to chat, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, send me a tweet here, or leave a comment below. If you’ve written a similar post, or spoken about your experiences with mental health please leave a comment so I can have a read.