Anxiety, stress, depression and the pressures of daily life all take their toll on our mental health. So consider the following 9 steps and see what changes and improvements you can bring in to give yourself a boost!
1. Connect with others. Have a good selection of friends and meaningful relationships in your personal life as well as good relationships with colleagues in work. We all need to have the opportunity for talking and getting support from others.
We are not designed to live in isolation, so enjoy your family time and make time for listening and sharing. By doing that you will be supporting the mental health of your family too!
2. Mental stretch is a fundamental for mental wellbeing. If you have purpose and meaning in life and are finding what you do rewarding, you will be giving yourself a boost. On the flip side, if it all becomes too much and the pressure takes over, it has the adverse effect so make sure you are getting time to switch off.
3. Make time for exercise. Even with just a ten-minute brisk walk you will boost your happy hormones and keep a better level of resilience. Exercise not only helps your physical health but also benefits your concentration, helps you sleep and boosts your brainpower.
4. Sleep! The average adult needs 7 to 8 hours a night. Don’t cut back on sleep as it is when your brain discharges all that it hasn’t been able to process in the day. Dreaming is an essential part of this process and well as deep sleep for when your body and brain recharges. All essential for your mental health.
5. Eat well. A healthy diet not only supports your physical health but also your mental health. Ditch the chocolate and biscuits and replace with healthy snacks such as a handful of nuts. The protein will give you a prolonged energy boost rather than the short fix of sugar.
6. Drink moderately. Alcohol might feel like a relaxation but you will be using up your essential vitamins such as B12 in getting the toxin out of your system. You need B12 for concentration and managing your stress levels, so do yourself a favour and strike the balance. If you struggle to go more than two days without an alcoholic drink, you may be developing a dependency so seek help. Everything in moderation is the key.
7. Restrict Caffeine – drink water! Keep tea and coffee to a minimum and supplement with water. Your cells need water to get toxins out. Water also helps oxygenate your whole system, which is especially important for your brain and concentration.
8. Meditation and mindfulness are all key elements to calming the mind. Evidence shows with just 10 minutes a day you will be developing your mental health, so stay fully present and focus on the task in hand without being distracted by a lengthy ‘to do list’ and worrying about all the things that you have yet to tackle.
9. Relaxation is absolutely necessary for calming the mind so indulge yourself with down time! Creative hobbies, yoga and walks in nature all provide for essential calm. Find fun and laughter in your days and weeks. It will feed your mind, body and soul!
Having lived with Chronic Lyme Disease for nearly 4 years, I know how challenging a long-term health condition can be. Over that time I have had to teach myself to walk, think and talk coherently again. In my own experience I know that constant pain, debilitation, low mood and depression can put a huge strain on mental health but with the right approach you can come back from the brink and thrive again.
No one can manage everything on their own. Talking things through will keep you mentally fit. If you need help, ask for it. It is a strong and healthy thing to do so you stay mentally fit and healthy.
With my best wishes for a healthy you.