Did you know one in four of us is affected by a mental health disorder at some point in our life? Despite this, so many of us leave our mental wellbeing on the back burner. Behind the gym. That enormous pile of washing. Next week’s work presentation.
But taking care of your mental health doesn’t have to cost a penny. Or even take up much time. We’ve listed eight ways you can show your mental health some love below. Whether you embrace one, a couple or all eight, it’s up to you. Just remember to take things off the back burner once in a while. Your mental health will thank you for it.
have a natter
We get it, talking about mental health is sometimes easier said than done, but there’s truth in the old adage ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Bottling up stress, anxious or negative thinking can build up and feel worse over time. So grab a pal, your other half, or a trusted colleague and have a little chat. It doesn’t have to be much or too deep, but you might find it releases some tension.
If you feel like you need to chat to a professional, head to your GP who can talk you through options, such as talking therapy.
Don’t worry, guys. By ‘active’ we’re not suggesting spending hours slogging it out down the gym. Moderate exercise is enough to help improve your mood and general wellbeing, according to Rethink Mental Illness. So, whether you prefer getting your heart rate up by swimming lengths or on a brisk walk in the park, aim to exercise for around 150 minutes a week. Solo exercise not your thing? Not a problem. Running groups or league sports are great options if you prefer some extra motivation and company.
find a routine
Having a routine helps us feel grounded in times of uncertainty. Whether it’s waking up at the same time each morning, going outdoors every afternoon or winding down the same way each night, research suggests it can work wonders for our mental health – and our sleep.
Lots of studies suggest spending hours scrolling on your phone can have negative effects on our mental health. Especially in young people. So try stepping away from your screen for an hour each evening and spend time doing something else you enjoy. Talking of which…
Painting. Pottery. Knitting. Whatever your medium, embrace your creative side. Rethink Mental Illness tell us it’s a brilliant way to support your mental wellbeing, relax and be in the moment. Don’t mind us, we’re just off to Hobbycraft. Brb.
cut down the units
A few gins down the pub might leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, but the effect is temporary. Drinking alcohol can exacerbate low mood, be demotivating, impact physical health, and disturb your sleep. We’re not suggesting you go t-total (sometimes, a lovely cold glass of wine at the end of the day is a blissful moment to wind down). But, it’s definitely wise to moderate drinking to make sure you’re left feeling fine and not fuzzy.
Supporting other people is an activity that helps our own wellbeing, say Rethink Mental Illness. And even small acts of kindness give us a much-needed boost. So whether you go big and volunteer, or start small by helping out a neighbour, it’s cool (for you and them) to give back.
Saved the best until last, didn’t we? Sleep is essential to both physical and mental health, but catching those Zzz’s isn’t always easy. We’ve got a host of sleep tips right here that should help. And, we’re biased, but we always think a gloriously comfortable bed helps.
When looking after your mental health, it’s sometimes good to start small and think flexibly. Much like sleep routines, self-care feels different to everyone. And, of course, if you’re worried about your mental health, always visit your GP or head over to Mental Health UK for more information.