Mental Health Self Care Ideas
February 23, 2020
Mental health is a complicated issue. Everyone’s experiences and contexts are different and therefore, unfortunately, it is very difficult to ‘fix’ a mental health issue. However, here are a few tips for looking after mental wellbeing that may help you. If something isn’t working for you, don’t worry, try something else or come back to it another time. Most importantly, don’t put too much pressure on yourself!
- Talk to someone you trust. Talking about how you or feeling, or just venting about issues in your life, can take a weight off your shoulders and, in the long run, help you feel less burdened. If you find it easier, write a letter! You will probably also be surprised how many of your trusted friends, colleagues and family members have had similar situations, which brings us onto…..
- Peer support. Sharing ideas with people who have had similar experiences can be a big support, and help you think of things you might not have tried yet.
- Mindfulness. A common mistake made with mental health issues is to avoid them. Trying to block out unwanted thoughts or concerns does not allow you to address them. A great metaphor is a beach ball… the further under the water you try to push it, the higher it jumps back out when you let it go. Mindfulness is a way of giving your full attention to the present moment. It is only by acknowledging and accepting your thoughts, feelings and emotions that you can even begin to do anything about them. There are several mindfulness apps as well as activities that involve mindfulness practice such as yoga, as well as more structured mindfulness therapies.
- Keep a mood diary. This can help you keep track of any changes to how you feel, and spot any patterns, for example things that make you feel better or worse.
- Spend time in nature. It may be the sunlight, the beautiful views, the feeling of connection with mother nature or the cute little animals you spy when out and about, but spending time in nature has been shown to help boost positive mood. So get outside and make the most of your local area, be it beautiful coastlines, well maintained parks or rugged countryside.
- Have a balanced diet. Your diet is your fuel, not just for physical energy, but mental energy also. A varied and balanced diet provides your body and mind with the everything it needs to cope with what is asked of them. For more information, see The Eatwell Guide by the NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/
- Try to get a good sleep. Sleep is one of our most important basic needs, giving our mind a chance to recharge. We have all felt the effects of a poor night sleep, wether that’s due to a seemingly insomniac toddler, because our mind or body hasn’t allowed us to switch off, or simply because we stayed out at the pub a little longer than we should have. The best tip for improving sleep is to develop regular sleeping routines including having a period of calm before attempting to sleep, keeping all electronic devices away from reach so you don’t get tempted to endlessly scroll through facebook, and making sure you get up at a ‘normal’ time in the morning. Exercise through the day has also been shown to help sleep, which finally brings us onto….
- Get active! Getting active is a great way to improve physical health (which as we know, can significantly impact mental health), as well as releasing endorphins – the happy hormone! Getting active doesn’t have to be expensive or require specialist equipment, and certainly doesn’t have to involve slaving away in the gym (unless that’s what you’re into, in which case…go for it!). There are so many options, such as joining a group, starting a new hobby, or even volunteering, but most importantly just find something that you genuinely enjoy! See our New Year, New You blog, or the CSP website, for more info on getting active.