Top 9 ways to look after your mental health

Top 9 ways to look after your mental health

A bout of depression, family history of anxiety, or a nagging doubt that something isn’t quite right are all incentives to take care of your poor mental health; here are nine key areas to focus on:

1. Take care of yourself It’s important to take care of your physical health as this can affect your mind. Trying to keep a balanced diet whilst also drinking plenty of water can help your energy levels. Things like junk food, alcohol and some non-prescribed drugs can leave you feeling down.

2. Exercise Our mood is affected by chemicals in the body. Even gentle exercise can release ‘happy hormones’ that not only help us look and feel better, they can increase concentration and aid sleep.

3. Sleep and rest Our bodies heal when we sleep and it’s often easier to drift off when our mind is well rested. Therefore, take some time out during the day for a brisk walk or to meditate; anything you consider a break from your chores.

4. Mindfulness Ruminating over the past or worrying about the future is a constant drain on energy levels. To live in the moment learn how to be mindful -- you should find it a powerful skill once acquired.

5. Engage in activities Being part of a network of people who all help one another is uplifting in its own right. Give your time or attention to other people in a personal, professional or voluntary role and it can make you feel better about yourself as well as feel less isolated.

6. Be kind to yourself Be aware of your critical voice. When you are anxious or depressed you may well have a voice that tells you negative things about yourself. Be aware of this and notice the way that makes you feel and how it affects your behaviour. Know that you can choose to do something different.

7. Socialising If you are kind to yourself it encourages others to treat you in the same way. Surround yourself with positive people who are there for you when you need them most. Just the connection with people who care can be all the comfort you need at times.

8. Accept help No matter how hard you try to live a healthy and self-compassionate life there will always be a time when you need help. Let close friends or family help you work through a problem.

9. Therapy The worst thing you can do is try to ignore a problem with mental health. Sign up for online therapy or a distinct approach to counselling, like cognitive behavioural therapy. Talking things through can help to keep your mind clear and your outlook positive

In an emergency
Call 111 - if you urgently need medical help or advice but it is not a life threatening situation
Call 999 - if you or anyone else is in immediate danger or harm
Call the Samaritans 24 hours a day on 116 123