Top tips to put your mental wellbeing first!
We all have mental health, and it can move up and down the continuum from positive mental health to debilitating mental illness. However, with life’s daily pressures – such as workplace environments, project deadlines, living expenses, family commitments and even the political, economic and social state of the world - can often consume our thoughts and energy to the point where we feel burnt out and mentally crippled by our perception of the world around us and most importantly, ourselves.
Here, we highlight what you, as an individual can do to become more mentally resilient.
9 Steps to better mental health!
In order to help the world around us, we must put our mental health first. It’s important to note however that given the wide range of mental health problems, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing mental wellbeing. While certain coping strategies may work for some, they may not work for others. For this reason, you need to find what works best for you.
Below, we show you our 9 tips towards better mental health, with something for everyone:
1. Express your feelings
Verbalising your feelings, thoughts and emotions will help you put your circumstances into perspective, allowing you to pin point what your triggers are, and what can be done to manage them. Find an outlet upon which you can voice your thoughts and feelings, whether that be a work colleague, close friend or family member and even through the use of a journal.
2. Live a healthier lifestyle
Research shows that lifestyle habits such as following a healthier diet, staying active and cutting back on alcohol can have a positive impact on your mental health and minimise the risk of depression. Aim to make small and realistic changes that will contribute towards a healthier lifestyle, such as a 30-minute jog around the neighbourhood in the morning 3 times per week, eating controlled portions from each food group and drinking plenty of water.
3. Don't think you need to be perfect
According to research carried out by Opinium, nearly 7 million people feel depressed when they see their friends’ lives on social media. When going through a dark period in life, it can be easy to resent those who seem to walk in the light, thus casting a greater shadow on your perspective and what your current reality may be. The best way to avoid comparing to others is to step back, and love yourself through indulging in something that makes you feel good– whether that be through a luxurious home spa, a relaxing meditation session, taking a stroll through the park or watching a side-splitting comedy.
4. Keep in touch
Many people with mental health problems are reluctant to confide in their friends or family because they don’t want to burden them. But when living with anxiety or depression, where the mind seems to have gone into overdrive with self loathing and unrealistic fears, getting a fresh perspective from someone who is looking from the outside in can help you adopt a different and perhaps more realistic view of your situation. Remember that if you replace the ‘I’ in illness with ‘We’, it becomes wellness!
5. Ask for help and support
There are multiple resources and organisations across the UK that assist individuals in coping with their mental health problems, such as Mind – the mental health charity that provided trainers for our nationwide employment law events, the NHS and online chat services such as AnxietyUK.org. While online resources should never replace the advice of medical professionals, the beauty of our digital age is that you can now access immediate help when you need it!
6. Take a break from the world
At times the world around us causes us to feel stressed, anxious or depressed. A volatile economy, political uncertainty and civil conflicts that are beyond our control are just a few of the many triggers that can cause us to feel despondent. Although one should never cut themselves off from information completely, you should set aside some time to avoid news that may cause you to feel emotionally distressed.
7. Do something you're good at, and keep learning new things
Keeping your mind busy with something that you’re good at, or by learning something new is a good way to get your mind off the troubles that may be weighing you down. By pursuing your interests and enriching your mind through learning valuable new skills, you will feel more confident and uplifted as a result. Get lost in your favourite hobby or craft - whether it be painting, gardening or building a piece of décor for your home - and learn new ways in which you can improve your inherent talents.
8. Stay present, accepting who you are and where you're at in life
Waiting for a visa to travel abroad, the results of an exam or feedback from a job interview are all triggers that may cause you to feel anxious about the future, and ultimately neglect your wellbeing in the present. So rather than worry about what is beyond your control, focus on the present, and break your 5-year plan into small attainable goals that you can reflect on once each task is complete!
9. Care for others
The state of the world can be overwhelming when looking at the big picture. However, the reality is that you can make a change for the better. No act of kindness is too small or insignificant, and brightening up someone else’s day can in turn make you feel better about yourself.
Although the implementation of a practical strategy to prioritise your mental wellbeing may not be a magical overnight occurrence, we hope that these steps will help you kick-start your road to recovery, and mental resilience thereafter!
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