By Abbie —
Mental illness is something that many people have to deal with at some point in their life, whether it be with themselves or watching friends and family suffer. Absolutely anyone can go through a bad time with their mental health for a number of reasons. When you feel your mental health is declining, it’s easy to feel like you’re stuck. There are many things you can do yourself that can help make you feel better. Here you are 5 simple ways to improve your mental health.
Mental Health: Your Guide
1) Practice Meditation
You may have heard many people talk about meditation being a great tool for your mental health. Meditation isn’t just sitting cross legged humming with your eyes closed! In fact, there are quite a few different types! One of the main types of meditation people find useful is mindfulness meditation to ease mental stress
Guided meditation can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour long and usually involves you lying down somewhere you won’t be disturbed. You’ll focus on your breathing and letting go of any troublesome thoughts. The whole thing is very relaxing and can be very quick if you don’t have a lot of time or just want to try it out!
If you’re feeling low or anxious, or both, exercise is a great tool to lift you up. Finding the motivation to be active when you’re not feeling particularly great can be hard. Remember to think how much it will benefit your mental health once you’ve done it. Exercise causes chemical changes in your brain which can have a positive effect on your mood. Most people feel uplifted after a workout, it can even help protect against depression and low mood. If you can’t or don’t want to go to a gym, try getting outside for a walk for 30 – 60 minutes 4 or 5 times a week, you’ll still see a difference in your mood! Stay physically healthy enhances your mental health too.
3) Talk to Someone
Even if this may seem like an obvious thing to do, many people shy away from sharing how they’re feeling. Talking to others about mental health when you’re struggling can lift a huge weight off your shoulders. Often, when you speak to someone about how you’re feeling, they’re able to help come up with a solution to one of your problems or a way to make it easier. You should never feel ashamed or scared to speak about your feelings, your friends and family will be there to support you when you need it most.
4) Do Something you Enjoy
Make time for things you love! If you have a hobby or have been thinking you’d like to take one up, it’s the perfect time to do so. If you’re going through a stressful time in your life, taking time out of your day to partake in activities you enjoy can be extremely helpful. Hobbies such as knitting, arts and crafts, cooking, sports, writing, performing arts and many more are all great tasks to focus your energy on. Find a club near you that offers activities you enjoy or would like to join and give it a try. Make sure you set aside 2 or 3 hours a week for doing something you enjoy! You don’t have to do it all in one day, try spacing it out so you have something to look forward to multiple times a week.
5) Eat Well and Stay Hydrated
This is a really important step in looking after your mental health. Our bodies need essential vitamins and nutrients to keep healthy, strong and feeling good. If you’re fueling yourself daily with processed food, fast food, sugar and caffeine you could be damaging your mental health. Try making healthy swaps and adding more whole foods into your diet. You should be eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day and drinking at least 2 litres of water to stay hydrated. A great tip is to keep some water in the fridge ready for the day ahead, that way you can start your day by getting your water intake in! Rehydrating after sleep is important as your body has been burning calories all night. Remember not to skip breakfast either, this kick starts your metabolism and gives you energy to start the day.
As you can see, these 5 things you can do to improve your mental health are pretty simple, anyone can follow them! Take everything slowly and start incorporating these one at a time. Things won’t change overnight but they will progressively get better and once you see the benefits, we’re sure you’ll get into a routine of sticking with all these tips!