We all experience highs and lows with our mental health, and 12 weeks (and counting) of quarantine has a lot of us experiencing heightened anxiety or possibly depression. Being stuck in for all this time is one hell of a game for our mental health. It can be really difficult to manage our mental health if we don’t have available resources at our disposal, so we look to things we can do ourselves to help improve it.
So I thought it would be a useful to give you a list of 5 things you can do to IMPROVE your mental health.
5 Things you can do to improve your mental health
Exercise is commonly known to help our mental health and is normally the first thing people recommend – but why?
- Relieves stress and tension
- Can help us build a constructive routine or lifestyle pattern.
- Releases endorphins that trigger a positive or happy feeling.
- Joining a gym or class can help build relationships with other people and help with social skills.
Exercise is not only good for our mental health but obviously our physical health, and being physically and mentally healthy can only be a good thing.
The common phrase is “A problem shared is a problem halved” and in my own experience, it’s true. I’ve always found that having someone to talk to when I’m feeling down or anxious, is really helpful. These days, technology has made this so much more accessible with social media, online therapy, video calls. e.t.c.
Personally I consider my blog a place I can release my thoughts and feelings onto and it’s definitely something that has helped during lock down. Just having somewhere to get my thoughts down really helps relieves some anxiety.
Research into healthy eating and diet has shown it can help improve our mental health.
[link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSHO9VdVRfg]
It links back to exercise, and we’ve all heard of “Healthy body – Healthy mind” and there’s a lot that goes into it. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake can really help reduce depression, eating regularly and keeping our blood sugars topped up optimally can decrease low mood.
Don’t get me wrong. Changing our diet and exercise isn’t easy and it takes some work, but the benefits far outweigh the negatives. I’m the first to admit that I drink too much coffee and not enough water, but it is something I’m starting to change – so when those results come in, I’ll update you on the progress.
Meditation helps with breathing, encourages deep thinking, relaxation. Taking a moment to yourself, to quietly reflect can help reduce stress.
Whilst I don’t practice meditation as much as I should, taking that few minutes to myself, really helps keep a clear mind. Something that was recommended to me a long time ago, was to practice yoga, it’s meditation and exercise all in one go – and if there’s something I like more than anything else, it’s getting things done quickly and efficiently. If I can kill two birds with one stone – I’ll go for it.
[link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inpok4MKVLM ]
Building a reliable routine for me has been one of the most helpful things for my mental health, and granted whilst lock down has happened and I’ve been away from work, a routine has gone a little bit out of the window, but it’s something I’m slowly getting back.
Knowing that I have a rough time to get up and a rough time of going to bed, and somewhat planning what goes on in between takes the anxiety out of my day. It could be a really simple routine, like waking up at 8am, walking the dog, then having breakfast.
Or of a night time you could put your phone away half an hour before going to bed. Everyone’s routine will be different, and you have to make it work for your life and from personal experience it can take a few goes to get it right and get into the habit, but I know, I wake up at x time , have my morning coffee, walk my dog and then write my daily to do list – or go to work e.t.c. You can make it as detailed or flexible as you need it to.
Doing something postivie for our mental health is something we should all be doing. Giving ourselves a helping hand to a happy mind is only going to help us in the long run. Obviously if you’re struggling with a more serious mental health diagnosis, working with your doctor or specialist should also be taken into consideration. These are just 5 easy things we can do to help our mental health on a daily basis.
If you have other recommendations then please leave them in the comments below!
Take care, stay safe.
James. aka Anothermaleblogger.
Mental Health Resources:
Your GP/primary care doctor should always be first on your list!