Our mental health is something we often neglect, and many of us do not realise just how important it is to prioritise our wellbeing. ‘Mental health’, according to Medical News Today, refers to ‘cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being.’ ‘Mental health’ is all about how we think, feel, and behave, and the ways in which we take care of ourselves.
In the hustle and bustle of life, it can be easy to put others first and yourself second. Dealing with the educational, financial and general responsibilities of life can be draining. Here are a few ways in which you can look after your mental health, learn to put yourself first and ensure you are showing up as your best self:
1. Getting enough sleep
This is something you have probably heard many times before, but it is incredibly important; getting enough sleep contributes greatly to your wellbeing. Poor/inadequate sleep can result in physical problems such as a weakened immune system and can worsen already existent mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Sleep allows our body cells to repair and reenergise themselves. Adults are supposed to have, on average, 7-9 hours of sleep. Other benefits of sleep include:
• Improved attention and concentration • A reduction of stress levels
• Help with long and short-term memory
2. Staying hydrated/ eating healthily
Staying hydrated and having a balanced diet has also been proven to improve your mental health. On average, adults should drink at least 2L of water per day. This may sound like a lot, but it is very much doable; you can add lemon juice to make it taste better. Staying hydrated can help manage anxiety, improve brain functioning and improve focus when completing tasks.
Having a balanced diet can also contribute to better mental health. When you stick to
a diet of healthy food, you are proven to have fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook on life and an improved ability to focus.
3. Taking time out for yourself
A major part of looking after your mental health is taking time away to reflect and do the things that you love. ‘Taking time away for yourself’ can mean dedicating a few hours a week to going to the gym, painting, going for a massage, journalling, meditation, playing sport, spending time with loved ones or engaging in any other kind of hobby. Taking time away for yourself is about what you want to do, and how you can recharge.
Here’s a post on ways you can practice self-care, especially during the uncertain times that we’re in:
4. Speaking to someone
Speaking to someone about how you’re feeling can be incredibly beneficial to your mental health. Whether they are a friend, family member, colleague or therapist, finding someone you can discuss any issues you’re having can help relieve stress and offload any of the difficulty you are experiencing. Below are some charities and organisations that offer support to those who dealing with mental health issues and need someone to speak to:• Anxiety UK - https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/
• Mind - www.mind.org.uk
• Mental Health Foundation - www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Thank you for reaching the end of the blog post. Here are some mental health related questions you can use to reflect:- How am I feeling right now?
- How can I better improve my mental health?
- What is one thing I have done today to look after my mental health?
- Am I happy right now?
By Sophie Arinde