When we talk about health, we often think about our bodies. How can we burn more calories at the gym, and are we really eating the healthiest diet possible? However, health doesn’t stop there, and one of the most important things to focus on is your mental health. If you don’t, you could find that everything comes crashing down, so taking some time out to look after your mind is important.
How do you actually do this, however, and where should you begin when it comes to improving your mental health? We’ve noted down 10 ideas here.
#1: See a professional
Of course, the first thing that anybody suffering from mental health issues should do is to see a professional. Whether it’s a therapist or a doctor, book an appointment and seek out an official diagnosis if you can. This will help you to deal with any mental health problems in the right way, as you’ll be well-informed on the things that trigger your bad days. It’s always good to speak to those who know their stuff.
#2: Get into a routine
If you find that you’re up all night, and sleeping late into the day, then this may be making your mental health worse. Getting little sleep at all can also be an issue, and having a routine that is all over the place can really affect your mental wellbeing. Try to keep some consistency in your life, as this can have a bigger change on your health than you may think. Going to bed at a regular time is key.
#3: Avoid caffeine
Caffeinated drinks could also be making you feel worse, with many studies showing that drinking a lot of coffee and soda could be making the symptoms of depression and anxiety more severe. This is because it messes with your body’s ability to control its blood sugar levels, which can confuse your brain when it comes to regulating your body. Steer clear of the caffeine if you can.
#4: Get some exercise in
Whilst you can have days where you don’t want to walk out of the house – nevermind going for a run – there are proven links between exercising and positive changes in your mental health. This is because it releases dopamine, the chemical that gives you that feel-good mood, and it’s worth a try as a result, huh? You don’t need to hit the gym if you don’t want to; a simple jog or fast walk should do the trick.
#5: Eat well
Eating well is another thing that could improve your mental health, as it can give you more energy, and make you feel more alert. Feeling sluggish will only worsen those feelings that you have of wanting to stay firmly put in bed, so try to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and avoid those urges to order a pizza when you’re not feeling at your best. It’s OK as a treat, but don’t make it too regular.
#6: Drink lots of water
Water really is the best thing for anybody wanting to be healthy, whether you suffer with mental health issues or not. It’s great for your body and skin, it helps you to feel more awake and alert, and it gives you the energy that you need to get out there, and tackle your day. Put the coffee away for now, and get that refillable water bottle out. You’ll see the difference, however small it may be.
#7: Stay connected
When you have a mental illness, there are a lot of thoughts going through your mind. ‘Do my family and friends find me weird now, and do they not want to see me as much anymore?’ you may think. This is totally untrue, and despite any insecurities that you have, it’s good to try and stay well-connected. Talking to your loved ones about how you feel can be therapeutic, and a support network is key.
#8: Look at the underlying issues
Whilst it can be difficult, it’s super important to look at the underlying issues behind your mental illness. Some problems are, admittedly, without cause, but perhaps you’re struggling due to the fact that you don’t like your job, or you have a physical condition. Seek help from Wishart Brain & Spine Law if this is the case, and don’t feel like you can’t sort out those underlying causes, as the professionals can help.
#9: Write things down
Sometimes, you just don’t want to share how you’re feeling with others. In most instances, it’s too difficult to even put it into words. However, writing things down can help you to release some of the pressure, and it’s also helpful when it comes to having conversations with others, as it’s a step towards trying to describe how you feel. You don’t have to show anybody, and it may help you.
Extra tip: if you begin writing stuff down, it’s a good idea to focus on the positives where you can. Write down all of the good things that have happened to you during the day, and all of the things that you’re grateful for. Seeing the positives could help you to change your outlook.
#10: Take some time out
Having a mental health condition in the modern world is difficult because we all have other (financial) commitments. You may be struggling, but you have to go into work anyway. However, taking a long weekend to relax in the countryside, or to see loved ones, really is key to improving your well-being. Speak to your boss if you can, or use your holiday time to do something rejuvenating instead.
If you’re suffering from a mental health condition, the first port of call should always be a professional, who can help to diagnose the issue, and can also tell you what steps you can take in order to improve it. However, you can make these 10 small changes to your life, and they will make a big difference in the long-run, whilst working alongside any other treatments.