According to the World Health Organisation, a whopping one in four of us suffer from a mental health problem at some point in our life. Despite this fact, we’re often more likely to look after our physical health than we are to take care of our minds.
There are simple steps we can all take on a daily basis to show our mental health some love. Best of all? They don’t have to cost a penny. Whether you embrace one tip or all of them, it’s time we looked after our mental health with simple, daily changes. Here’s how to do it…
talk, talk, talk
We get it. Talking about mental health is sometimes easier said than done. But, it’s the first step in taking charge of your wellbeing. Whether you open up to a pal or approach your GP for talking therapy, it’s good to chat.
And by ‘active’ we don’t mean spending hours slogging down the gym. Moderate exercise can 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. If you don’t want to exercise alone, how about joining a running group or league sport?
find a routine
This might not sound obvious, but having a routine can help people feel grounded in a time 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, some research suggests it can positively affect mental health.
Numerous studies suggest spending hours scrolling on your phone can negatively impact our mental health – especially in young people. Although social media can help open up the conversation around mental health, and apps like Headspace are great for looking after our minds, it could benefit your wellbeing to step away from the screen and spend your time doing something you enjoy. Which brings us on to our next point…
Painting, pottery, music, knitting… Whatever your medium, embrace your creative side or hobby. Rethink Mental Illness say it’s a brilliant way to support your mental wellbeing, relax and be in the moment – and we have to agree.
cut down the units
A couple of gins down the pub might leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, but the effect is temporary. Drinking alcohol can exacerbate low mood, be demotivating and impact health, so always drink in moderation.
Supporting other people is an activity that contributes to 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, perhaps it’s time to give back?
We saved the best ’til last. Jokes. Sleep is intrinsic to good physical and mental health, but catching those Zzz’s isn’t always easy. Rethink Mental Illness suggest keeping a sleep diary, staying active, ditching naps and limiting coffee, alongside a whole host of great sleep tips. You’ll find them right here, if you’re struggling to get the slumber you need to feel great every morning. And, of course we’re biased, but we always think a good mattress helps.
When looking after your mental health, it’s sometimes good to start small and think flexibly – self-care looks and feels different on everyone. If you’re worried about your mental health, always visit your GP or contact a charity, like Mental Health UK, for more information on getting help.