Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and can never be overlooked. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to keep ourselves mentally healthy, especially at a time when many have faced difficulties as a result of the pandemic. As we can feel more anxious, worried, or lonely, it’s important that we all take care of our minds, alongside our bodies.
Here we have some useful tips for maintaining your mental health, including from Mind, the dedicated mental health charity, and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Get plenty of sleep
First and foremost, it’s important to get plenty of sleep! Too little sleep is hugely detrimental to our mental health. Lots of shuteye ensure the chemicals in our brain stay regulated. These chemicals help to manage both our emotions and moods. When we don’t allow our bodies to rest, we can begin to feel anxious or depressed.
Should these feelings persist, you should look to talk to people you trust about it, while you may also want to try breathing techniques to help you feel more in control.
Eating well is beneficial to our bodies and minds. Certain deficiencies, such as vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies, can lower our moods, which is why it’s important to enjoy a balanced diet. If you suffer from anxiety or stress, you should try to avoid caffeine, as this can cause anxiety and jittery feelings.
Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs
Smoking and drinking can cause our mental health to dwindle, especially when consumed in excessive amounts. Consuming too many drinks can cause us to feel depressed the following day and it can also prevent us from concentrating. Excessive drinking for lengthy periods can cause a thiamine deficiency, which can lead to confusion, severe memory problems, eye issues, and coordination problems.
If you’re a heavy smoker, when not smoking, your brain and body can experience serious withdrawal symptoms, which causes anxiety and irritability. Other drugs can also cause mental disorders such as schizophrenia. By limiting your exposure to these vices, you should find your mental health can benefit.
Get plenty of sunlight
Sunlight provides us with vitamin D, which is really important for our bodies and our minds. But why is this the case? It assists our brain in releasing chemicals such as serotonin, all of which heighten our moods. Just 30 minutes of sunlight per day is considered ideal.
During the winter months, certain people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. To avoid feelings of depression, investing in a special light-therapy lamp is highly recommended.
Stress, especially in this day and age, is highly unavoidable. Learning more about your triggers can help you to manage stress and is a great tool when it comes to embracing good mental health. Try to manage worries and responsibilities by making a list of your triggers.
This will help you to resolve any pressing issues, as writing your worries down on paper can make them seem much more manageable.
Activity and exercise
Exercise, whether it a brisk walk, a yoga session, or an intense run, is essential for maintaining and promoting good mental health. Being active is an instant mood booster and tends to ultimately provide us with more energy in the long term!
Do something you enjoy
Embrace the fun things in life to quickly boost your mental health – whether that’s reading, walking, painting, running, or singing, there are plenty of ways to switch off from work and everyday life. If we don’t make time for the things we enjoy, we can quickly become unhappy and irritable.
Making time for your friends and family is extremely important when it comes to our mental well-being, which is why it’s important to maintain good relationships with those around us. Whether you talk to loved ones on the phone, via video call, or meet up in person, there are plenty of ways to stay connected.
Your nearest and dearest help to boost your self-esteem, provide support in difficult times and make us feel happy – just some of the reasons to have them around you!
Do things for friends and family
From buying someone a present, such as a bouquet of beautiful blooms, to helping a family member move house or a colleague overcome a particularly tight deadline, helping others helps to boost our mood and is proven to be good for our mental health too. These small shows of support can have far wider positive connotations.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
The key to ensuring your mental health stays in tip-top condition is to ask for help if you need it, and is one of the most important ways to identify when you’re not feeling yourself. All of us go through low periods in our lives and there is no shame in sharing our worries.