Protect your mental health.
More and more people are starting to realise the importance of looking after, not just our physical, but also our mental well being.
How can you look after your mental health? Here are seven steps to help get you on the road to better mental and physical health in 2018.
1. We don’t need to embark on an all singing, all dancing detox routine which involves preparation, expense and cutting out whole food groups. Instead practice the motto ‘everything in moderation’; cut down on highly processed food e.g. sugar, caffeine, white flour, fizzy drinks and alcohol, and increase your intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and water.
2. Make small changes to how and when we exercise. Pick a time that suits; early morning, lunchtime or evening, and build it into your routine. Keep it simple and achievable, if you are not used to exercise start by walking or swimming. Aim for 10,000 steps per day, you can use a tracker or your phone, or measure it by distance, 10,000 steps is about 5 KM.
3. Sleep is so important. Reduced sleep can be a cause or effect of poor mental health. It is therefore important to focus on a healthy routine by maintaining a regular time to go to bed and get up, relax before bedtime and keep electronic devices out of the bedroom!
4. We all need to take time to ourselves to relax and unwind. When we are very busy it is easy to lose sight of that, so it can be useful to make an appointment with ourselves as part of our day, factor in time to have that bubble bath, watch a favourite TV programme, catch up with friends or just ‘be’.
5. Many people use the New Year as a time to assess where we are in life but you can do this at any time of the year. If there is an aspect of your life that you feel needs attention;
- Write down what the problem is.
- Make 2 lists, one list of the benefits of making a change, the other list is the negative impact that change may have e.g. if you want to change job the pros may include: more job satisfaction, more opportunities etc., but the cons may include; less money, longer hours.
- Once you have your list you can weigh up the pros and cons and decide which will influence your decision.
- Then, break down the transition into small achievable steps; do your research, and be as informed as possible before making any major changes and give yourself a realistic timeframe.
6. Spot the signs. One in four of us will experience a mental health difficulty at some point in our lives. Signs that everything is not ok include;
· not sleeping,
· racing thoughts,
· overindulging in alcohol or food,
· feeling very sad, tearful or suicidal.
7. Seek help. Why not make 2017 the year that you decide to prioritise your mental health? The sooner we get the help we need, the quicker the difficulty can be resolved.
Confide in someone- talk to a close friend or family member, it often helps to put things in perspective if you talk it through. See your GP and he or she can advise on the best course of action or contact a Support Service.
You can also contact organisations like the Samaritans on Freephone: 116 123 or Text: 087 2 60 90 90 (standard text rates apply).